L.A. based comedian Tig Notaro began her show at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater by playing her short film, "Clown Service."
The words “Based on true events” appeared on a projector screen. In the opening scene, Notaro sat alone on a couch, watching TV. She knocked her glass over, causing her drink to splash onto the yellow pages of the phone book lying on her coffee table. It read “clown services.” She dialed one of the numbers and a brunette woman on the screen answered the phone, “Hi thank you for calling Funny Business, where it’s our business to be funny, and that’s no funny business. How can I help you?”
After local comedian, and Uber driver, Mat Alano-Martin took the stage and delivered a set that captivated the citizens of Bloomington with a couple of jokes about the number of “hippies” in town and about the former governor of Indiana, Mike Pence.
“Bloomington is a very strange town that we live in,” he said. “It’s a very liberal town in a very conservative state. But that means the farmer’s market is great.”
The audience laughed.
Bloomington continued to be a hot topic throughout the night. Notaro mentioned the town several times going off on tangents, including a few unplanned and personal stories. The town is a place she visits frequently, and she said it's a source of comedy between her and her wife.
“This town is sort of a joke between me and my wife,” she said. “If she doesn’t know how to do something relating to travel she’ll say something along the lines of ‘oh sorry I haven’t been to Bloomington,’ or, ‘where’d you learn how to do that? In Bloomington?'
She also was very interactive with the audience and used moments throughout the night to turn simple situations into hilarious ones. At one point, she asked a specific audience member to pull out his phone, even though Buskirk-Chumley has a no-phone policy during shows. She asked him to google when the AC/DC song "Highway to Hell" was released, so she could prove it was in the '70s.
Another time, she called out Pamela Davidson, an audience member, for going to get popcorn in the middle of the show.
“Did you leave, in the middle of my set, to go get popcorn?” Notaro asked the woman. Instead of answering her, the woman just walked up to the edge of the stage and extended her serving of the free concession snack to the comedian. However, Notaro said she was vegan and declined because of the butter.
“Honestly, I was just going to the bathroom and the popcorn was free,” Davidson said after the show. Later, her daughter tweeted a thank you to Notaro:
Later on in the night, Notaro provided the audience with a number of delightful lip-syncing performances to songs such as Gladys Knight’s "Midnight Train to Georgia," and the Mariah Carey cover of the Jackson 5’s "I’ll Be There." Closing the show, she also performed her own cover of Adele’s "Hello," while playing the piano even though, she admitted, she doesn't know how to play the piano.
The audience gave Notaro a standing ovation, even after she left the stage, and they continued to clap until the house lights came on.
“There’s always some cool event going on at the Buskirk-Chumley," Bob Flynn, a volunteer usher at the Buskirk-Chumley said. "It’s a key part of the public space and a primary venue for all sorts of events, like the upcoming Lotus Festival."
The Buskirk-Chumley frequently brings nationally touring performers, mostly comedians and musicians, to Bloomington's downtown, according the BCT's website.
“It’s a dream to get to open for someone like Tig, but that’s only possible if everyone supports local comedians, and Bloomington, the comedy club and the Buskirk-Chumley are amazing places to get out and do that,” Alano-Martin said.