This week a comedian had a profound effect on me.
This remarkable woman was a speaker during Chicago Ideas Week – a 7-day inspiration marathon – during which hundreds of the world’s entrepreneurs, survivors, authors, politicians (ehhhh), comedians and start-up geniuses are flown to Chicago to bestow their ideas and lessons on the general public.
This Monday, I was sitting in the gorgeous Cadillac Palace Theatre in downtown Chicago for the Ideas Week kick-off and thinking 5 things:
- Can Malcolm Gladwell speak already?
- When can I get a snack?
- Who are these other people?
- What kind of an event doesn’t have food??
- What kind of name is “Tig Notaro???”
5 speakers took the stage one by one.
The founder and CEO of Change.org spoke about his awesomeness. Catherine Hoke, the founder of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, gave us her life story and how it randomly led her to pioneer a program that uses the entrepreneur savvy of convicted criminal gang members and murderers (YEP) to mold really successful businessmen. Josh Kilmer-Purcell had us laughing our asses off about life’s lessons and how they’re… mostly useless. Malcolm Gladwell entertained us with underdog lessons from the bible (still confused, Malcolm).
Then Tig Notaro took the stage.
For this part of the evening, Ben Rattray, the change.org founder mock interviewed the writer/comedian.
He asked her basic questions regarding the life events that led up to an unforgettable stand-up performance that made her a household name (except in my household, apparently) and an inspiration to millions.
It’s all pretty simple really.
In the summer of 2012, Tig Notaro had a series of minor mishaps.
She became ill with pneumonia, almost died from a digestive track eating bacteria, watched her mom die suddenly, ended a relationship with her significant other and was diagnosed with invasive stage II breast cancer in both breasts.
In the span of 12 weeks.
She was told the extent of the cancer diagnosis a day before she was to do a stand-up act at an LA club.
And she went.
And she got up on stage with the task of making people laugh.
And she spoke for 31 minutes about the trauma in her life.
And people laughed and cried and thought she was legend that night.
This week, Tig Notaro took Chicago through that time in her life again.
I laughed and cried the whole time she was on stage.
A part of me related to the feelings she described in regards to losing my mother. A part of me felt ashamed that I was relating.
Losing a loved one, experiencing the loss of a significant relationship or being diagnosed with an illness is pretty traumatic individually. Together, I can only imagine these events are life blinding and leave one incapacitated to move as they once did.
After hearing Notaro speak on Monday, I wanted to hear this reportedly infamous comedic standup for myself. I wanted to gather up her perspective and immerse myself in it.
I found LIVE on iTunes for $5.
I bought it.
I listened to it.
I loved it.
I recommend it.
If you have 31 minutes, I would laugh at traumatic shit with Tig Notaro.
It’s quite Awesome and it sure as hell is therapeutic.
Note: As always, none of these people know/knew that I was going to write about them. Maybe someday :).