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Hot Docs 2015 Review: Tig

Tig Notaro’s recent stretch of life is perhaps far more interesting than ‘things were going exceptionally poorly and now things are going a lot better’.

Yet this is precisely the direction that Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York’s film seems to be headed. Notaro is fascinating, maybe even more so as a person than for her comedy, (which is at times, so dry that she can make one laugh without uttering a word).

There is a moment in Tig when her set is performed in which the club, the Largo, in Los Angeles asserts video recording is prohibited. Instead, the audience hears the audio accompanied by big blocky words of Notaro’s performance over a black screen.

The performance becomes punctuated by the words, almost surprisingly so. But then, Goolsby and York choose to do something very frustrating: they cut away from this performance, the one that is the base upon which this film stands.

Obviously, this isn’t a performance documentary of Notaro, but the best moments of Tig are when Goolsby and York pull back and let the comedy breathe. There is something very funny in Notaro’s performance that does not require jump cuts and editing. Notaro’s story appears to go beyond a conventional narrative, so it’s kind of disappointing when the film imposes one.