Tig Notaro Goes Topless In NYC

by Julia Zdrojewski


I first discovered the comedian Tig Notaro at the movies. NPR’s This American Life was being livestreamed at various Regal Cinemas across the country one evening, and so I took myself on a date. Not only did I go to the movies in my pajamas and not have to share my popcorn with anybody, but I also had my first laugh-till-I-cried moment with Notaro.

Best. Date. Ever.

Tig Notaro has been featured in BUST before, but in case you don’t know who the comedian is, watch this video where she explains her love for the singer Taylor Dayne. It was the act that she performed during This American Life at the movies, and it’s my go-to remedy for whenever I’m having a shitty day.


Since becoming a fan of Notaro, she has experienced massive changes and traumas in her life. In particular, there was a four-month period where Notaro was hospitalized with a life-threatening infection, broke up with her longtime girlfriend, experienced the death of her mother, and was diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer (she is now in remission). She famously discussed her battles in a stand-up set at Largo in Los Angeles, which was then turned into the Grammy-nominated comedy album, LIVE. It’s honest, heartbreaking, and yet still funny in all of the best ways.


Last night, I was able to attend Notaro’s show for the New York Comedy Festival with my friend (and fellow intern) Mariana. We were so pumped to see Notaro’s performance of Boyish Girl Interrupted at The Town Hall that we got a little camera-happy. Case in point:


Anyway, opening up for Notaro that night was Aparna Nancherla, who now owns a part of my heart. If you don’t know who she is, you should follow her on twitter (@aparnapkin), which is exactly what I did as soon as she left the stage. She is hysterical! Her dry sense of humor and weird observations about living in New York City (among other things) were dead-on, and her comedy set the audience up for Notaro perfectly.

Notaro began her set with a lot of love from the audience. She included funny stories that were less serious in tone, before touching on her experience with breast cancer, which resulted in a double-mastectomy and how people are sometimes confused about her gender (Notaro revealed that she chose not to have reconstructive surgery). After telling a story about receiving a pat-down at the airport where a female security guard was left confused after not feeling breasts on her chest, Notaro took off her jacket and earned a “WHOOP” from the audience. “Did you not hear the story I was just telling?” Notaro asked the man. Laughing, she dismissively said that if she earned one more “WHOOP” she would take off her shirt as well.

Tig’s a babe. It was bound to happen.

Several audience members “WHOOP”-ed, and Notaro quickly ripped her shirt off, resulting in a thunderous applause from the audience. I thought for a moment that perhaps it had been planned, but to be honest- Notaro seemed just as pleasantly shocked as we did about what was occurring on stage. Notaro then continued to perform the rest of her act as she was, bringing up the fact that she was topless maybe one other time, but basically- it was business (and jokes) as usual.

Following the performance and a (requested AND deserved) standing ovation, Mariana and I were determined to meet Notaro, tell her we loved her, that we worked for BUST, and ask for a picture. She couldn’t have been nicer in person!

The whole night was amazing. I was introduced to Aparna Nancherla, who will be performing again tonight at The Creek and The Cave, and witnessed Tig Notaro share hysterical stories, and honest bare moments with her audience, which she does masterfully. Plus, we got to take this awesome picture with Tig! 


The New York Comedy Festival is running through this weekend. Some of the funniest women in NYC will be performing, so check out a schedule here and be sure to attend a show if you can!

Images and Video via SecretlyCanadian, YouTube, TigNation, The Huffington Post & my personal iPhone 4



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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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