Tig Notaro | Credit: Wei Shi

Comedian Tig Notaro was hidden from sight as she welcomed the crowd at UC Santa Barbara’s Campbell Hall on Saturday, January 21. 

“People of Santa Barbara,” Notaro’s voice rang out from the theater’s speakers, “it’s your friend, Tig. How are ya? I don’t know if this is good news or bad news, but I do my shows from backstage now.” 

Notaro kept up that playful energy throughout the show, once she actually did come on stage. The skilled storyteller was incredibly expressive, making awkward tales about parenting, marriage, health, aging, and celebrity parties, come alive. 

She continually flipped expectations and kept the audience hanging on her every word. 

A few jokes in, after establishing that she was, in her words, “a run of the mill, old-fashioned lesbian,” she went on to describe a scene that sounded like it was plucked straight out of a steamy, heterosexual romance novel.

In the story, Notaro woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible stomach ache, and since she was unable to walk, her wife, Stephanie Allynne, called 9-1-1. 

Notaro recounted how a tall, muscular, mustached fireman soon appeared in their bedroom doorway. He then gently picked her up and carried her, in her flowing nightgown (an embellishment), to the ambulance outside. At that moment, and to her surprise, she was smitten. 

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Questioning her sexuality was not the awkward part, though. Smirking, she said, “as my audiences soon find out, you can be attracted to anyone at any time.”

The awkward part came when Notaro was telling the story at a party and her wife overheard, in complete shock, that Notaro thought the fireman was attractive.

“It’s super awkward when you find out you and your wife have completely different tastes in men,” Notaro said. 

The award-winning comedian’s stage presence was friendly, casual and inviting. Towards the end of her show, she addressed the audience and approached the piano on the far right of the stage. 

“Something you don’t know about me is that I love to sing and play piano,” she said, sitting on the bench in front of the instrument. 

Notaro does not know how to sing or play the piano. However, she does not let that stop her. Likewise, she described how it did not stop her from playing and singing “Hello” by Adele at a party that the real Adele herself was attending. 

It did not stop her from recreating the “Hello” performance to close out her show, either, to the crowd’s amusement. The shameless and hilariously off-beat rendition perfectly wrapped up a night of brilliant awkwardness.

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