You never know how you are going to react when life throws you a curve ball (or five). I was recently tuning into This American Life, when I heard the remarkable story of Tig Notaro (http://tignation.com), a comic, writer and radio contributor who performed a stand-up routine the day after being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Comedian Louis CK happened to be in the audience that night and here’s what he had to say:
“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.”
During the previous four months, she had been faced with just an absurd amount of tragedy and yet despite that, she found the strength to share her drama through her craft… comedy. When she was interviewed by Ira Glass at NPR, I was so taken by her insight that if she didn’t go out there and do her thing that night, she feared she would never do it again. She faced her fear and stepped into the unknown and people have been praising her success ever since.
Life is messy and unpredictable, but with the right perspective, a bit of courage and a sense of humor, we can roll with the punches. If nothing else, it helps us heal. Have a listen. You’ll be happy you did.
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