Amanda Pendolino
July 12, 2013

Tig Notaro Says Being a Woman in Comedy Was Never an Issue

Comedy is a notoriously difficult world for women — but Tig Notaro says she didn’t have a problem.

The comedian, who has been collecting fans for years but became somewhat of a household name after her legendary cancer-themed set at the Largo, told Time Magazine she doesn’t think specifically about being a woman in comedy.

“I don’t think about it until somebody asks me,” she said when asked about the state of women in comedy. “People would say when I started doing stand-up, that it’s a guys’ world, and guys are jerks out there, and the road’s tough. And I just didn’t have a problem.”

“I just did stand-up and focused on it and it got better,” she continued. “And I got on the road and people were really friendly—audiences, other comedians, club owners. I don’t want to do it again, but I really don’t have a complaint in the world about being a woman or how I’ve been treated. If people didn’t like me I never blamed it on any particular thing. I just figured they didn’t like me.”

Tig’s Largo performance, which has already been released as a digital download, will be available on CD along with a companion piece on CD July 16. She’s also working on a book about her experiences.

“It’s not just a silly memoir but there’s comedy and there’s the realness of what happened,” she said.

If it’s half as funny as her appearance on Conan, it’s gonna be awesome.

It’s nice to hear that perhaps the world of comedy isn’t so universally terrible to women — or that it’s at least universally terrible to everyone equally. However, Roseanne Barr’s famous 2011 New York Magazine essay suggests otherwise — and earlier this year, MTV comedy star Sara Schaefer also wrote a blog post about facing sexism in comedy.

“When I hear a girl comedian say, ‘I’ve noticed absolutely no difference being a woman in this business!’ I giggle to myself, because the fact that they are even answering that question to begin with IS A DIFFERENCE,” Sara wrote. “No male comedian is EVER asked ‘What’s it like being a man in this business?'”

She continued: “I don’t think gatekeepers are sitting behind their desks going ‘NO WOMEN ALLOWED!’ But here’s the thing. These questions don’t materialize out of thin air…Over the years, I’ve encountered little moments of sexism,” from the way she’s introduced on stage to the way men react to her (“I usually don’t think women are funny!”).

One thing’s for sure: the more Tigs and Saras we see in comedy, the better it will get for all of us.