Fans of Sarah Silverman will recognize her wing-woman Tig Notaro from The Sarah Silverman Program. Others who don't watch basic cable or frequent L.A. comedy clubs may have a tougher time getting her deadpan delivery and non-punch line style of comedy. Also an obstacle in her warm-up outings for Marc Maron: She basically has one joke to tell. And it's 14 minutes long. Which is part of her joke--which is really more of a story about her repeatedly encountering (stalking?) the somewhat faded '80s-'90s pop star Taylor Dayne. And part of the joke is that, especially here in Seattle, an audible "Taylor Who?" was murmured at the first mention of that name. And also part of the joke is Notaro's awareness that only certain students of pop culture will remember the singer.
But it's a long, funny story worth hearing. However, since Bumbershoot comics freely drop in on one another's sets, you may hear it three or four times this weekend. This requires patience, yet Notaro is nothing if not patient in her stage demeanor...Extremely androgynous, with a loose, distracted air about her, Notaro has the low-key lethargy in her delivery that recalls Steven Wright. Only while he proceeds from one absurdist gag to the next, she favors long-form stories. Riffing or interacting with the audience is clearly not her preferred method (though she performs improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade in L.A.), also setting her apart from traditional stand-up.
Still, since she shuns the big laugh lines and doesn't beg approval from the audience, 14 minutes doesn't seem that long for one joke. It's more like a conversation with a person you gradually realize is unhinged, but not certifiably insane. And you'll have at least two more opportunities to find out. And to hear more about Taylor Dayne.
Tig Notaro With Marc Maron, Comedy Stage North (Intiman Theater), 7:15 p.m. Sunday. With Marc Maron, Comedy Stage North, 2 p.m. Monday.