SXSW Film Review – Knock Knock, It’s Tig Notaro
Knock Knock, It's Tig Notaro
Tig Notaro rose to fame after her set “Live” was recorded by Louis C.K. and distributed to the masses. Since that set that humorously told of her many recent misfortunes, she has gone on national stand up tours, appeared on many late night shows, and garnered a following with her Professor Blastoff podcast, which she has also toured with. Other than her “Live” set, she has had some iconic routines including the ones with the stool movement noises and her Taylor Dayne encounter.
Knock Knock, It’s Tig Notaro is a short documentary (76 minutes) that follows Tig Notaro and fellow comedian John Dore as they embark on an unusual comedy tour. Rather than clubs and small venues, Tig decides to perform at some of her fans’ houses. They send in videos and she picked a few that would probably elicit the best, weirdest response from those gathered to see her. This is not a documentary solely focused on performing sets in weird places, but also gives us a look at Tig and John on the road doing some ordinary things like stopping at a goodwill/consignment store. The cameras in the car they take to get to said places also brings out some comedy gold.
The documentary is definitely not what I was expecting. It is a film filled with awkwardness, and that is to be expected when you show up to strangers’ houses and put on a show. It is not a documentary filled with laughs, but one that has some, but not in a constant stream. The addition of John Dore at first was unusual, considering the title, but in the end, he is a great addition and deserves at least half the laughs. He clearly was not on board with this tour and you could clearly see that in his comments about the venues. The uncomfortable settings do indeed lend themselves to situations that would never happen in a general comedy club tour, and that is probably half the point.
Tig Notaro has had some health issues recently and in the past few years, and the documentary does not really touch on that subject explicitly. The film is interrupted by a bout of sickness, but we do not see her in the hospital, only an acknowledgement by John Dore when he visits her in her hotel room before going on the road again. The health issue is there and present, but it is not the focus of the film. It is more of an aside or footnote to the onscreen experience.
Knock Knock, It’s Tig Notaro is not a typical comedy stand up documentary, and if that is what you are going into it expecting to see, you will end up disappointed. It is a funny film, but not in the expected way. Tig decided to reward some of her fans with a great experience that would also let her feed off the awkward situations and people she met. Tig’s comedy is not for everyone, and this film is also not for everyone. It is an interesting entry into the comedians’ documentary genre. Tig’s fans may love this film for what it is and what she is doing, and others may scratch their head and wonder what the point of it was. This is not comedy gold and it is not supposed to be. Tig has taken a chance with this documentary and, after it airs on Showtime, only then will we know if it paid off.