Tig Notaro has both survived and thrived in the decade since she first disclosed her breast cancer diagnosis to a live audience in Los Angeles in August of 2012. Notaro has released three stand-up specials, two on HBO and one on Netflix, in addition to a road-trip special for Showtime, while she also was the subject of a documentary for Netflix. She poured some of her life story into her own series for Amazon Prime Video, One Mississippi, and wrote a memoir, “I’m Just A Person.” She has been nominated for two Grammys and an Emmy, gotten married and became a mother to twin boys. Notaro has more recently reached new heights with a regular role on Star Trek: Discovery, replaced a disgraced comedian in post-production on the hit Netflix zombie movie, Army of the Dead, and now has turned one of her stand-up performances at Largo into an animated special for HBO called Drawn. Notaro joined me to talk about making Drawn and reflected on her career up til now, so let’s get to it!
Julia Scotti is a comedian who has enjoyed a career resurgence in her 60s, performing on America’s Got Talent in 2016, and in 2020 as part of the Showtime comedy showcase, More Funny Women of A Certain Age, alongside the likes of Caroline Rhea and Carol Leifer. She currently stars in a new documentary from filmmaker Susan Sandler called Julia Scotti: Funny That Way. The film examines Scotti’s transition into womanhood, which happened only after she quit a 20-year career as a male stand-up. Scotti sat down with me over Zoom to talk about why she quit, what it felt like to come back to comedy 10 years after quitting, and the hurdles facing comedians of a certain age and certain gender. Can the comedy industry get its own act together? We talk about that, too, so let’s get to it!
Iris Bahr is a comedian, actress, playwright and author, born in New York City and grown up in Israel. You have seen her in a variety of supporting roles onscreen in the 21st century — most recently in 2021 as a spa nurse in HBO Max’s Hacks, and as a rehab roommate on ABC’s The Conners. Bahr’s other TV credits have included guest spots on Friends, The Drew Carey Show, Star Trek: Voyager, 9-1-1, Good Girls, as well as her own comedy series on Mark Cuban’s HD-NET called Svetlana, plus a recurring role as Rachel Heinemann on Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2006 alone, she co-starred in the original pilot for The Big Bang Theory, co-starred on the big screen in Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, and debuted her one-woman show, “Dai,” which earned her a Lucille Lortel Award and two Drama Desk nominations. She has written two books and co-authored a third, the Curb-inspired advice manual, “The Book of Leon.” Bahr spoke to me from Tel Aviv about her life and career, as well as her character podcast, X-RAE, which first introduced her to me in 2019. So let’s get to it!
Raised in Wisconsin, Pete Lee began his comedy career in Minnesota before moving to New York City after he made his TV debut on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. It would take a few years after that to get his first Comedy Central half-hour special, and another five years to get his chance to perform on the Late Show with David Letterman. Other early credits included VH1’s Best Week Ever and truTV’s Comedy Knockout, but he has since become a favorite regular on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Lee tells me all about the circumstances in which he scored both of his late-night debuts, as well as his early nights at Acme Comedy Co., what he’s learned from Nick Swardson, Doug Stanhope and all sorts of stand-ups for whom Lee represents a change of pace. All that, plus stories about partying with Prince and Dave Chappelle, but not together, and the inner workings of his first hour special — Tall, Dark and Pleasant — which premieres in July 2021 on Showtime. So let’s get to it!