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January 12, 2023 21 mins

In a live interview at MAKERS Women, we talk with comedian Tig Notaro who is best known for her deadpan humor. She was nominated for two Grammies and an Emmy. Her memoir, I’m Just a Person, is a New York Times Bestseller.

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
I'm Sam Edis and I'm Amy Nelson. Welcome to What's
Her Story? With Sam and Amy. This is a show
about the world's most remarkable women, their professional and personal journeys. Together,
we'll hear from gold medalists, best selling authors, and leaders
of the world's most iconic brands. Listen every Thursday, or
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Comedian tag Nataro is known for her dead pan humor.
She was nominated for two Grammys and an Emmy. Her
memoir I'm Just a Person is a New York Times bestseller.
Let's start a family who had children six years ago?
What was that? Like a big change? But that's what
I was hoping for. That's what everybody would say to me, is, um,

you know your life is going to change drastically. Hey, yeah,
that's what I want, right, I'm signing up for that. Yeah.
Or when people say enjoy every moment, like yeah, so
we're both parents together we have seven children, but not together.
She has four, I have three. Um, so has your

humor changed since you started parenting. I wouldn't say it's changed.
I would say, you know, there's kind of been a
slow shift in the Before I got married, I used
to just say whatever I wanted on stage, and then
that changed a little bit because my wife Stephanie was like, oh,

I don't know if that's really what happened or that's
really personal to us. And then I started looking at
things a little differently in that way where I was like, oh, yeah,
maybe that doesn't go on stage. And then when we
had kids, there was the other place of protecting their privacy,

deciding what to share whatnot. So it's more of a
filter process with Stephanie. Say that parenting with you is
very funny, No, I think there are funny moments for sure.
Oh my gosh. Even just this morning, our son we

went on vacation, our son, which I think I can
tell this, but our son max Is. We asked, you know,
are you excited to get back to school and he said, yeah,
you know, I've got I've got a lot of martial
arts classes to teach, and yeah, We're like, what are
you doing? I said, well, I just I teach martial

arts in school. And you know, Adrian's in the class
and Lucas is in the class, and so it's funny
in that way. But parenting is. I remember old friends
of mine who had been together since college. They were
each other's first girlfriends, and they said that their relationship

was just smooth sailing until they had children, and then
they said we argued about everything down to how to
cross the street with our children. And I didn't understand that.
And not that Stephanie and I are arguing about everything

at all, but it really is challenging to because we
didn't discuss before we had kids, how do you feel
about this? What do you think about this? So what
do you do down the road and any of that.
We were just like, yeah, let's have kids, and we did,
and we were like, wow, you think that you feel

that doing that, I'm doing this and it's really interesting. Well,
and it's also within the filter of being exhausted all
the time, So not only are you negotiating that, but
you're doing it while you're exhausted, which leads to so
many more arguments and intention about things that you normally
wouldn't care about, but when you're hanging by a threat.
When we were when our babies were tiny and we

were both working and they you know, we didn't sleep
train and then I finally I was filming a TV show,
and I said, I think I'm gonna do sleep training,
and Stephanie was against sleep training and I was like,
but I'm We're in the writer's room that was filming
all day, Like, I'm losing my mind. And so she

agreed to try it, and we put the babies down,
we walk out of the room. They start screaming and
we're standing there and um, I said, Okay, I guess
we just go back to our room. And she said,
so you're just fine with this. You're just fine with
sing to our baby scream And I was like, no,
I'm not. I am not fine with this. This is devastating.

I don't know what to do. I'm losing my mind.
We had the exact same argument. I think it's every
couple if there's always one like end path like me.
He was like, I can't bear ever one second I listen.
I couldn't bear story. I hired. I got desperate and

hired a woman on the phone who lived in Idaho
to teach me how to teach gets to sleep. But
she did. I was like, are you like, like she
taught me how to do it in three days for
a service like that, And then we never we were
all over the place. We were just like, Hi, yeah,
so I'm giving my credit card and then we got

what do we do? And I was like, we a
company favorite clients because we never called. Well, Harvey carp
came to our house. You ever him from the Happiest
Baby on the Block. He wrote this amazing, amazing but
tappy seeing on the black and he taught us how
to teach our child to sleep through the night at
thirteen months. Oh my gosh, that was her first night
to sleep at you. Meanwhile, my brother and his wife

had a baby five months ago and they called us
and they were like, yeah, Mark sleeps eleven hours a night.
He's like dying. We didn't have that, and nor do
we have. Stephanie would always point out kids that were
just sitting at the parties. She was like, how are

how's this kid just sitting on someone's lap. Our kids
are just up the tree and in the pool, and
so what kind of kid were you? Um? I was
into stuff that was definitely into I was up the
tree and you know, well, yes, of course, Um. I

failed three grades, I dropped out of high school. I smoked,
I played guitar, I snuck out of the house, you know,
drove without a license when I was you know, I
was like eleven and driving around smoking. And so when
did you get straight? In terms of you're not, I

would say, I feel like, you know, it was a
process of, honestly, speaking of when did I get straight?
Was figuring out that I was gay, and you know,
learning who I was. I was like, oh, this is me.
And then um becoming a comedian, I was like, oh,

this is me. And so I think I was just
slowly getting on a path in life and stand Up
really really whipped me into shame. What was the first
name that you did? Stand up? What was it like?
It went really well, and I got cocky, and I
was like, from this is easy. I guess I'm just

naturally great at this. And then I went up the
second time and I bombed and ran off the stage
and drove home while my friend Derek left hysterically at
me on the car ride from Orange County. He was
just he was in tears. It's true, And so how

do you go back the third time? You know, it's
kind of like sadly like an abusive relationship where it's
like you keep finding hope that like Oh it'll be better. Oh, oh,
it'll be nicer, you know, and it's tied to some
sort of terrible thing I guess in people's lives where

they're like, oh, I'm I'll make them happy. I'll do
it right this time, you know, and you're stuck in
the cycle of like bombing and then doing well, and
then bombing and doing well and over and over and over.
At what point did you feel like you've broken through,
like I've actually made it or some semblance have made it.

Truly the first open mic I did because I never
imagined and people think I'm exaggerating, but my whole childhood
I wanted to be a stand up comedian and I
never thought I could. I didn't think it was I
always say that, And this is a terrible example now

because what I was going to say is it's like
wanting to be president. You know that not anyone can
be president, but now we know anyone can be president.
But it's more of like that feeling of like, how
do you go to space, how do you become president?
How do you become a stand up comedian? How do

you research? How? I mean, what did you do well?
I didn't. I had no plans to really become one
my best friends that I grew up with. They were
moving to Los Angeles and I had gone through a breakup,
and I was like, well, I guess I'll just go
with you. And I went and I opened the l

a weekly, and there was so many opportunities to get
on stage, and so I started going to watch stand
up for two weeks to check out the scene, and
then I just thought, well, I guess I'll sign up
for an open mic. And when I got on stage,
I I couldn't believe I was doing what I had

always dreamed of doing. That it was truly just signing
my name on a paper and walking on stage, but
spending the two weeks prior talking to myself in the
mirror and I would hold a UM flashlight and talk
to myself in the mirror. And then I one did it.

So you have succeeded. It's something that most people don't
Why you mean stand up? Because I was not asking
the marriage. Why do I think I have succeeded. I
think there's something too consistency, and I think in stand up,

if you're getting at the time laughs, I feel like
you're on the right track. And so that kept me
sucked in and continuing. And but I also once I
had that initial bite in the open mic, I really

couldn't stop. I was on stage seven nights a week,
and I was always told that I wasn't going to
be a headlining comedian because I was too low key,
or I was female or gay or all of those things.
And it's hard for people, maybe now to realize you

really were told that. And I used to think, okay, fine,
I'll just do this as long as I can, and
then I'll end up in a writer's room, which is
what I was told was where somebody like me would
end up this, you know, working for somebody that's on
stage or on the show or something. And I thought,

that's fine, if that's down the road, i'll end up there.
But I'm going to do this as long as I can.
And I just kept doing it. And I think that's
really key, is showing up and being passionate. And boy
was passion I didn't even have a car. I rode
my bicycle from Hollywood to Santa Monica. I would go

and people couldn't sweaty and I'd be like, all right,
guy walks into a now a quick when was the
last time you had an off open mic night or
an off night doing stand up. I did a show
on I just finished a seventy plus city tour and

there is a city they will remain nameless where people
simultaneously felt like, how did you recover? After that? It
was truly like I have been all around this country.

You're not out in the city. You're not gonna because
I'm probably gonna have to go back there another year
and the same people are going to come back because
they didn't think that's an optimist perspective, But it was
a weird feeling where I was like, I've been doing
this twenty five years. I've just done you know, so

many shows on this tour, and you're telling me this
is not funny. I mean, there's a part of me
that I have had a certain amount of success which
has built up my confidence that truly, when I have
a night like that, I just in my head going,
I've been through worse and just take the money and run.

Amy Before we dig into our time with Tig and
I have to admit I barely knew who she was.
I mean, she was familiar in her face to me,
but like I really didn't know her work before we
interviewed her, and I am obsessed with her, Like I
was online looking for tickets to her show. I think
she is the funniest human she was. On her website,

she has a section called secrets, and then it says,
please do not share this information with anyone. And the
secrets are things like I loved drawing Civil War portraits
as a child and oh my God and Amy holding one.
More guilty pleasures are America's the funniest rome videos and

walking upright that's articulous. The truth is, like, this is
a woman who can opine about what it is to
live a life and be a woman in the middle
of her life and deal with things like cancer and
romance and kids and sexuality, and like find that humor

that we desperately need to get through the hard parts.
So what did you think of tig I think she's
incredibly smart and brilliant. I love her. I want to
be her friend. Are you surprised? No? I mean I
really want to be her friends, Like, I really want
her to come to one of our dinners. Like I'm
kind of like obsessed fan girl of hers. Did you

get her email? Not sure? Amy? But you know I
can find it because I can find anyone's email. I
have her email. Maybe I'll hear with you. Oh my gosh,
you're so sweet. Look how generous Amy emails and is
I love it. I am like open source, open source
is my motto about networking. Be open source with your networks.
But Amy and I are open source, of course, But

like I feel like and this just like goes into
a conversation about networking, which is probably an unlikely place
to take the taking into interview. But I do think
like you and I are two of the best networkers
I know, and part of it is because we are
generous with our introductions, but we're also smart with them, right,
So I just want to share one or two tips

about smartly introducing people. One way to smartly introduce people
is to introduce people that you know. They're sort of
a mutually beneficial reason that you are introducing these two people.
So like, for example, I know if Amy's introducing me
to someone, and even if for that person at the time,

there's probably a reason Amy wants me to know that person,
and that person is someone who will probably reappear in
my life in various ways. Professionally. I think that sometimes
people make the mistake of introducing someone to someone just
as a favorite to them with no benefit to the
other person. And I think that when you do a

cold intro like that, there has to be a benefit
to both people. I think that's right, And I just
want to bring up the point that, like, we know
each other because somebody introduced us, who thought we should
know each other because we were both starting companies at
the same time. So Rachel Star introduced us, not because
I asked to know you or you asked to know me,
but because she said, these two people need to know
each other. One thing that you and I will probably

always disagree on is the double opt in intro. We're
always going to disagree on. It drives me crazy when
people write me or call me to ask if they
can introduce me to someone, because if you're someone I trust,
you have an open invitation to introduce me to someone.
How I follow up with that is my own thing.
But you never have to ask me and then ask them,

and then it's like two weeks before you've introduced us, Like,
just do it fast and move on. Well, okay, so
this is so, this is the issue, right, is that
like I do not have inbox zero, I am can
never get to inbox zero. By the way, Amy, I'm
sorry one of the reasons for friends because you've never
mentioned in box zero. People who mentioned their inboxes are
people that I would like to stay away from me. Okay, well,

I have an issue with my inbox. This is why
we don't talk about it. Like, as you know, there's
no way I respond to every email, and then I
feel like an asshole if someone sends an introduction and
I don't see it, you know, and and that person
I'm not responding to might not know that I'm just
not seeing the email, or that I'm buried or you know,
and so. And the other thing is I think I

probably feel this way because the biggest area of my
life where I get asked for connections is two vcs.
In vcs always want double opt in intos. So if
you're not in the startup world, the VC as the
venture capital investor, and the startup world is small, and
I am always happy to try to connect people, but

some investors are pretty pesky about wanting the double optum.
I guess also right now I'm very anti VC. They
fund so few women and I just feel so like
bitter about it and a little bit burned by vcs
and kind of sorry I ever really took that route.
So I just I don't want to based on any
of our behavior on how vcs behave, because I think

vcs are patterned on a certain class of men who
aren't open source. Like I always think it's so funny
when you see a venture capitalist on LinkedIn and they
say they care so much about diversity and getting pitches
from everyone, and then you go to their LinkedIn and
try to connect with them and it says you need
their email address to connect with them, but I'm really

interested in everyone's pitches. Like that, to me is the
epitome of bad VC behavior. Anyway, let's go to take
because it's a much more pleasant topic. I agree with you.
Take is far more pleasant than talking about investors. And
by the way, oh my god, Amy, how she talks
about parenting is the funniest thing. It is amazing. I mean,
she is like a big kid at heart raising kids,

and it's like delightful. Well she just has that you're like,
hilariously like kind of third person perspective on all of it,
and it seems like being her partner would be super
fund like I'm infringing on her partnership or anything. It's
a really weird namous I'm not like auditioning for the role.
She seems really happily married and I'm super happy for her.

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