Tig Notaro Details the Aftermath of Her Double Mastectomy, “Empowered” Doing Stand-Up Comedy Topless

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The silver lining. Comedienne Tig Notaro detailed the aftermath of her double mastectomy in a new interview with HuffPost Live on Wednesday, Aug. 12, revealing her emotional path to empowerment and performing topless in her stand-up comedy shows.

"I was in a bad place in general. I was upset," Notaro, 44, dished. "I was not comfortable with myself. I was physically and emotionally beat. And then, to have my body look like a truck rammed into me, it was unsettling. And then, this idea creeped into my head, and I thought, 'What if I took my shirt off onstage?'"

Tig Notaro
Comedian Tig Notaro Robin Marchant/Getty Images

In July 2012, Notaro was diagnosed with breast cancer. Days later, in a now-legendary stand-up set, she told the crowd at L.A.'s Largo nightclub during a scheduled show about her medical condition, repeating "I have cancer" like a mantra. She then underwent a double mastectomy. "When I had my double mastectomy… People congratulated me on my 'free top surgery,'" she told HuffPost Live, "and I was like, 'I never wanted that.'"

It took some time to familiarize herself with her new body. "More than that, I felt like being a kid because I didn't have reconstructive surgery. Because I had a flat T-shirt, I felt like I was 8 again. It was a lighter place that I got to," she shared. "it was a weird transition in getting used to it, but once it was completely gone, it was something to get used to. It's been a whole process for me."

Last November, Notaro marked another special moment at Largo, taking her shirt off onstage for the first time ever. "The crowd just lost their minds," she recalled, saying it paved the way for future topless performances. "I feel very empowered and excited about it. I love not acknowledging that my shirt is off. Once I take it off, I don't talk about it again. And it leaves the audience [confused]."

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