Category Archives: Journal

The Laugh Button

Tig Notaro sold 55,000 downloads of her album via Louis C.K.’s website

This past Friday Tig Notaro released the audio from her set at the Largo comedy club in LA through Louis C.K.’s website. It’s the set many know as the “I have cancer” set in which Notaro revealed to the world that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, ended a long-term relationship, and lost her mother all in the span of a few short weeks.

Louis decided to help his friend Notaro by releasing the set via his website for $5, Tig would take $4 from the sales and donate some of the money raised to cancer research. His motivation was also because, as he stated, “In 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo.” And he wanted to share it with the world.

Yesterday during a press conference call to discuss the hiatus of season 4 ofLouieC.K.revealed that Tig’s set had already been downloaded 55,000 times. UPDATE: that number is apparently now 75,000.

Assuming these numbers are true (and we have no reason not to) we can apply a bit of our simple math. The gross amount of money made in the last 5 days is $275,000 and of that cut $220,000 goes to Tig. Now, there’s obviously expenses associated with this – like Paypal, website bandwith, hosting, etc. But that’s still quite the haul of nearly a quarter million dollars in less of a week’s time. In addition to the donation, the rest will probably go toward her medical bills and snacks… we’re definitely thinking snacks. In all seriousness, that’s an awesome haul that can really help Tig during this really tough time.

Here’s an excerpt from Louis’ email as he recalled the night he witnessed Tig deliver the set:

I stood in the wings behind a leg of curtain, about 8 feet from her, and watched her tell a stunned audience “Hi. I have cancer. Just found out today. I’m going to die soon.” What followed was one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw. I can’t really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life. Here was this small woman standing alone against death and simply reporting where her mind had been and what had happened and employing her gorgeously acute standup voice to her own death.

The show was an amazing example of what comedy can be. A way to visit your worst fears and laugh at them. Tig took us to a scary place and made us laugh there. Not by distracting us from the terror but by looking right at it and just turning to us and saying “Wow. Right?” She proved that everything is funny. And has to be. And she could only do this by giving us her own death as an example. So generous.

You can pick up Tig’s album on Louis’ website here.