Is life a joke to Tig Notaro? Sometimes, when it needs to be. The approachable comedian has a delightful new podcast, Don’t Ask Tig, in which real people seek advice from her. She’s not an expert in anything particular, but is licensed in most countries, states, provinces and territories to give non-binding guidance on everything from deodorant etiquette in the woods to quitting school to giving yourself a haircut with toddler scissors.
With her personal approach to observational comedy, the deadpanning Notaro burst into the mainstream in 2012 when she offhandedly told a comedy club audience that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Later, after a double mastectomy, Notaro performed topless. Her openness and humour in the face of profound struggle struck a chord with audiences.
So, she’s been through some things. And a lot of us are going through some things right now. We could use a laugh and we could use some help on tricky issues. My advice? Just ask Tig.
Notaro’s new program is one of three recommended listens that include a lighthearted remembrance of former first brother Billy Carter and an episode of The Blues Kitchen Podcast with alt-country heroine Margo Price.
Something musical: On an episode of The Blues Kitchen Podcast devoted to Margo Price, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter says, “music does so much to feed the soul.” It’s an appropriate sentiment for a roots-and-rhythm-music podcast born out of a BBQ restaurant and bourbon-soaked live music venue in London. In addition to chatting about her new album That’s How Rumors Get Started, maverick Price performs three solo acoustic songs, including a poignant cover of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush,” a song about Mother Nature being on the run. “It feels timely,” Price says, explaining her cover-tune choice. If you’re hungry for video, the performance was taped for the podcast’s YouTube channel.
Something political: The long-running comedy-history podcast The Dollop zeroes in on a peculiar person or quirky event from the past. This week it’s Billy Carter, the beer-guzzling unsophisticated sibling of President Jimmy Carter. Hosts Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds reminisce about a kinder, gentler era when a presidential family member was colourful and unambitious. Carter liked to say he had a “red neck, white socks and Blue Ribbon beer,” which is as all-American as one could be. The media couldn’t get enough of him: Serious journalists Dan Rather, Ed Bradley and so many others flew into Plains, Ga. to interview the one-stop quote-machine. In the 1970s, Billy was a joke. Today, one imagines he’d be a viable candidate for high office.
Something funny: In this week’s edition of Don’t Ask Tig, the American comedian Tig Notaro invites her friend and neighbour Sean Hayes (Jack from Will and Grace) to co-host and chime in on matters of eloping, coming out sexually and quitting school. The questions sent in from real people are serious, and are dealt with in a genuine and funny manner. And while some of the advice is surprisingly conflicting – Notaro says yes to big weddings; Hayes says no way – there’s a sense of compassion for those seeking questionable wisdom on matters of legitimate concern.
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