Tig Notaro: I have breast cancer

Another tragedy hits US comic

American comedian Tig Notaro has revealed that she has breast cancer.

The 41-year-old disclosed her diagnosis in the latest episode of her podcast, released just a day after undergoing a series of test in hospital.

The results came after a blighted period for the comic. She lost 30lbs after being hit by a bacterial infection in her digestive tract which left her hospitalised; then her mother died suddenly in a fall; and her relationship ended.

She said of receiving the diagnosis: ‘Part of me thought… there was a misunderstanding. Based on already being hospitalized with a deadly illness and my mother dying, there was just no way they were going to come in and tell me anything but, "OK, everything looks great!"

‘And the doctor came in and her tone was very scary. She said, "Ok, so, we have found something in both breasts…

‘After all the explanation I said, "Wait a minute, are you telling me that I possibly have cancer," and she said, "Well, we have to get biopsies done but from what I can see with all the testing we've done today it is very probable that you do in both breasts, yes.’

Notaro – a stand-up veteran who had a role as a lesbian police officer on Sarah Silverman’s TV show – has already begun talking about the disease in her work.

On Friday, she reacted to the applause when brought on stage at the Largo comedy club in Los Angeles by saying: ‘Thank you, thank you, I have cancer, thank you, I have cancer, really, thank you.’

And she began her set proper: ‘Tragedy plus time equals comedy. But I don’t have the benefit of time. So I’m just going to tell you the tragedy and know that everything is going to be okay.’

Her routine brought the room to tears and laugher, and earned a standing ovation at the end. Read a report of her appearance at the Largo here.

Published: 5 Aug 2012

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