Last month during our LA trip we got to see an excellent comedy show. Tig Notaro hosts a monthly production at the Largo at the Coronet. She invites other comics to join her as openers for the an evening which is dubbed "Tig has Friends".
Notaro's notoriety ballooned a few years ago when she announced she had cancer during a set at the Largo. The Largo is a small 300 seat theater, but one of the folks watching the show was Louis C.K. who tweeted "In 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." Suddenly everyone who followed comedy knew who Notaro was and that she had cancer.
Notraro's guests for the show were Bill Burr and Laura Kightlinger who provided an interesting contrast. Kightlinger's opened the night, much of her set was dedicated to derailed relationship stories and parent-bashing. I found her set to be funny at times, but it was the most wanting of the three - It sort of felt like a "Sex and the City" script read - updated to include Sexting jokes.
Bill Burr dedicated a significant portion of his set to a story about a man who attempted suicide by jumping out of a tour helicopter - yeah I know not so funny stuff, but Burr makes it funny. Beyond that much of his humor dealt with current events and a focus on sports. He did a bit on LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling. He also targeted first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama with a couple of jokes - a tough sell in a room that was there to see Tig Notaro and had a bit of a feminist bent.
As I mentioned the two opening acts provided an interesting contrast to the Tig Notaro headlining set. Laura Kightlinger interacted with the audience the least and provided personal stories. Burr was more involved with the audience and went to the audience asking us to question our own standards.
Notaro had a few set pieces but they were loosely connected by a lot of improv and Questions for the audience. At one point she invited an aspiring actor up on the stage to show off his skills - the two of them had mixed results. At another point Notaro had a large fly buzzing around the stage and worked that into her show.
Notaro concluded the night by relating a story of an excursion she had with her writing partner, Kyle Dunnigan. It involved looking for a Santa Claus impersonator for a short film. Notaro pokes fun at their own glee at finding the perfect Santa, but things don't work out. The interesting thing about the bit is that it is the kind of story that if mishandled turns into a "You needed to be there" moment - an inside joke that is really only funny for the participants.
I had seen Notaro use these writing partner stories on youtube and it makes for an interesting basis for a routine. She does a good job of filling in the details and bringing out the funny aspects of the story.
Overall I highly recommend the Tig has friend shows if your in LA. The comedians are top notch, to some extent they are working through material so it can be a bit hit/miss, but it is enjoyable to see the comedic writing/performance process in motion.
Largo at the Coronet
I really enjoyed the Largo as a venue. The small theater has assigned seats, but you don't get your seats until you arrive. Once you pick up your seating assignment your free to roam elsewhere in or outside the venue. They have a tiny b-stage that has a small service bar - This smaller theater is where the Sarah Silveman HBO special "We Are Miracles" was filmed in front of just 39 people.
We arrived 45 minutes prior to the show and received tix 4 rows from the stage, although they were on the wing of the double aisled theater. Staff was courteous and professional, drinks at a bit of a markup but were not unreasonable.
This American Life