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Tig Notaro adopts a new role in 'Instant Family'
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2018-11-13

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Out comic, actress and writer Tig Notaro has a new movie this November called Instant Family. The film also stars Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne and Octavia Spencer, telling the story—based on director Sean Anders' real-life experiences—of two parents that attempt to adopt three children at the same time. Notaro plays a social worker named Sharon, who helps the family through the adoption process.

The Mississippi native worked in the music industry, leading her to LA, where she first tried stand-up comedy. She has released several comedic albums and stand-up specials on TV, most recently on Netflix this year with a program titled Happy to Be Here.

Notaro also wrote a memoir called I'm Just a Person and a Showtime documentary about her post cancer stand-up tour. She married her wife Stephanie Allynne in 2015 and has two twin sons, Max and Finn, through a surrogate. She discusses family and the new movie in this exclusive interview:

Windy City Times: How did you become involved with Instant Family?

Tig Notaro: My agent called and told me they were offering me this role. I found out all my scenes would be with Octavia Spencer and I didn't feel I could say no to that.

I read the script, which I felt was heartfelt and funny. I personally had been interested in adoption and adopting siblings. I had been to many adoption agencies for meetings. That was when I was single. At the time I had some health issues and that didn't make me a great candidate for it. Now that I am married with kids, the movie has kept that spark going. So several things drew me to that film.

WCT: I'm a gay adopted kid so I was crying.

TN: I'm sure!

WCT: Do you want to have more children?

TN: I would love to adopt siblings still. I think my wife needs to take a beat, since we have had our twins just two years ago. I am hoping the premiere will push her in the right direction, we will head home and she will say, "Let's do it!"

WCT: There is a surprisingly large amount of content for LGBT audiences in Instant Family.

TN: Yes. There's a lot of gay representation in the film.

WCT: How was working with Octavia Spencer? I loved interviewing her in the past.

TN: She's the best. I was a little intimidated because she is the big Oscar award-winning powerhouse. We had mutual friends, but had never met in person. When we did, we had an immediate connection. We had great talks and hard laughs. I think the connection we had transferred on film.

WCT: You adopted a cat so there's an adoptee living in your house already.

TN: [laughs] I did adopt a cat. You did your research!

WCT: I did and watched your Happy to Be Here special on Netflix. You should bring the Indigo Girls that were in your special to Chicago.

TN: I will do it in a heartbeat. They wanted to go on tour together and I just didn't have time, but I would love to hit the road with them.

WCT: Where does your sarcasm come from?

TN: I don't know. My mother and father were really funny. My stepfather was very buttoned up, but still was funny is his own serious, dry way. I don't know where I can trace each little part of me back to, but I was surrounded by a lot of funny people.

WCT: Talk about the new First Ladies project?

TN: My wife and I are writing that. We just finished the first draft of the film. We are waiting for notes from the producers. It has been so much fun to work on and write scenes with Jennifer Aniston as president of the United States. Everything becomes so silly. Me as first lady is ridiculous. We are going to start filming in the spring.

WCT: There must be a lot of great material with all of the political things going on these days.

TN: I think so. My wife and I are writing the movie based on our dynamic, so there is non-political relationship humor in there also.

WCT: You are about to do Star Trek?

TN: Yes, I am on season two of Start Trek: Discovery. I am doing a few more episodes. That has been really fun, having been a fan as a kid. I haven't really followed it in my adult life. When I got that phone call, I knew I couldn't turn down Star Trek!

WCT: I hope you are ready for the Trekkie fans.

TN: I know. I think I am in denial. I just try to do what I want to do that makes me happy. I just ignore the fact that I will be in a movie with Jennifer Aniston and will be on Star Trek.

WCT: Do you feel starstruck?

TN: I don't feel starstruck. I just feel they are really talented people and I am having a blast working with them. I get more starstruck around musicians than comedians or actors.

WCT: When are you coming back to Chicago?

TN: I don't know. I don't have a proper stand-up tour planned. My wife and I are working on a pilot for ABC. It is an hour-long dramedy. We are in the middle of that as well. We have a lot going on.

WCT: Anything else you want to tell readers about Instant Family?

TN: Go see it. Tell your friends, family and anyone that has considered adoption or fostering children. Aside from watching a documentary, this is the closest you can come to getting some real information. I think it will change a lot of people's minds and do some good.

Instant Family delivers on Nov. 16 at theaters everywhere just in time for National Adoption Month.


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