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Comedian Tig Notaro Hospitalized


Days after a well-reviewed, topless New York Comedy Festival set, Notaro ‘is dealing with a medical emergency.’

Photography by Christopher Dibble for Out

According to EW, Tig Notaro canceled last night's performance at Denver's Paramount Theatre because of medical issues. AEG Live released a statement saying that the comic "is dealing with a medical emergency and is being hospitalized." The statement continued: "She will be all right but has to cancel the show tonight." Notaro was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and underwent a double mastectomy. It is unknown what, if any, her previous medical issues have anything to do with this hospitalization.

This unsettling news came a few days after performing perhaps the most-talked about set at the New York Comedy Festival. "You know, it's funny," Notaro said onstage, according to The New Yorker's Andrew Marantz. "I was going to do this show with my shirt off, anyway. I'm about one more 'Whooo' away from going topless." There were Whoooes. Notaro took off her shirt and continued the rest of her set topless.

Marantz was impressed by her mettle. "She performed the rest of her set, another twenty minutes or so, without covering up," he writes. She alluded to it once or twice--'You're thinking, 'When's she gonna . . . ?' She's not gonna'--but mostly she stuck to her jokes, about "Yellow Submarine" and the phrase "That's what she said." She finished her set and received a standing ovation (which, in fairness, she had explicitly requested), and then she buttoned up her shirt, jumped down from the lip of the stage, and ran through the house toward the lobby."

The New York Times' Jason Zinoman was also impressed by the show, stating that her:

"new act is not just about conquering illness. It's an ingenious expression of the commanding and persuasive power of art. She shows that comedy can not only transform tragedy into humor, but that it can also distract people from the most marketed and objectified image in popular culture: the naked female body. It can move a crowd into standing and cheering for three minutes, too."

This isn't the first time Notaro went topless onstage; Zinoman notes she took her top off during a set last month at L.A.'s Largo--but that doesn't make the event any less powerful.

Notaro is regarded as one of the greatest standup comics around, and she also writes for many shows, including Amy Schumer. After her 2012 show, in which she opened up about her breast cancer in a totally raw and unflinching fashion, Louis C.K. called it one of the greatest sets he's ever seen.

Last week's show at New York City's The Town Hall, which was part of her "Boyish Girl Interrupted" tour, once again showed that the comedienne isn't afraid to go there. During the performance, after someone in the house--possibly ironically--"Whooo!-ed" from the audience, Notaro took that remark as a challenge.

As she explained to Out in 2013: "You know, people will be like, 'If you're looking for a good restaurant--I know you have weird problems with your stomach, but maybe you could eat there?' " she says, adopting a concerned tone. Though lingering effects of the infection have forced some dietary adaptations, Notaro says she cheats on them all the time. (Though, she clarifies, "It's not like I buy a bunch of birthday cakes and sit home alone and sadly eat them.")

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