Tig Notaro/ photo by Bob Chamberlin for the LA Times
Who knew Tig Notaro could be so sensitive?
The comic has cut an impressive path to stardom in recent years by leading with ferocity, gamely taking on cancer and the death of her mother with the kind of casual bluntness that makes audiences squirm before they cheer.
Not that she's paying attention. It's probably just a front, but Notaro always gives the impression that amusing herself, not the fans, is priority number one. It may be the reason that her Amazon series, "One Mississippi" hasn't caught fire. It's also the reason it's one of the best shows of 2016.
That attitude was well on display Sunday night during her 80-minute performance at Minneapolis's Skyway Theatre. While sharing an anecdote about exchanging "meows" with her cat, Fluff, she admitted that the bit has bombed during her last two tour stops -- and that she didn't care. She got the tightly packed audience to sing The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" on repeat, if only so she could cackle herself to sleep about it back at the hotel.
The evening, which also included a surprise screening of her short film, "Clown Surprise," would have barrelled along with that self-indulgent, unflappable theme, if it wasn't for The Drips.
During an early story about a stint in a temp agency, one she later confessed had no punchline or genuine payoff, Notaro got distracted by noise from stage left. Somone snacking? A bubble wrap party?
Turns out it was the sound of dripping from the ceiling with no sort of set-up in place to dull the sound.
It was an annoyance a comic with a rat-a-tat pace and pat monologue could have blown off. But a comic who relies so much on awkward pauses and interaction with the audience could easily be thrown -- and Notaro clearly was.
For 10 minutes, she focused squarely on the maintenance problem, and revisited it several times throughout the show, strolling over to the unlit side of the stage to get a better look, asking if a roofer was available and reminding herself to call her agent.
"I am an Emmy nominee. This is not a condition I should be working under," she said. "To be fair, I did not win the Emmy."
It was hard to tell whether Notaro was genunely perturbed or taking glee in the chance to improvise. Probably a little bit of both.
"My next special is going to be called 'The Big Drip: Live From Minneapolis,'" she said, triggering hoots and hollers from a crowd conditioned to respond whenever their place of residence is mentioned. "No! You're cheering the wrong things."
On her upteenth visit to the site of the problem, she was informed that someone had finally laid towels down to muffle the dripping sound.
"I guess they heard about my Emmy," she said.