Saturday, August 1, 2015
Tig / Amy / August
Last night, I was planning to see the new documentary about Amy Winehouse.
But when the time came, it just seemed too sad. Much as I would like to see talented little Amy grow up into the brilliant singer and songwriter she was (and I always thought she looked fabulous, if too thin), I knew how it would end. At age 27, she would die alone of alcohol poisoning.
So I stayed home.
Instead, I found myself watching a Neftlix documentary about an obscure comedian I'd never heard of. Tig Notaro was 41 when she was hospitalized with a life-threatening stomach infection, went through a breakup, and her mother died -- shortly after which she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Things were so awful that, after this last straw (cancer), they suddenly struck her as hilarious. She wrote a stand-up routine about it all that immediately went viral and made her famous.
After that, a lot of good things happened to her, and a few bad things. The documentary of these years is suspenseful in the best way -- you cannot wait to see what's going to be thrown at her next, for good or ill.
The pinpoint on which it all turned was the moment her problems started seeming funny. This tiny, invisible shift marks a great triumph of the human spirit. Unlike a lot of stand-up comics, who seem weird and obnoxious, Tig comes off as such a nice, normal person. But it takes a special quality to drop out of high school and do stand-up comedy while living in your car. The word is grit.
I've been a little off this month, but by the end of this movie, I felt better. I recognize that light bulb moment where circumstances need not have the upper hand. Seen in a certain light, they're just a funny story you've (so far) survived! Unlike poor Amy's, Tig's movie is a master class in being a grown-up.
And I, for one, am glad it's a new month.
I think today I'll clean the garage.
(Image: Derby Theatre Auditorium, by Derby Theatre (own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons].)