Skip to main content

“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”  ~Jimmy Buffett

I think Jimmy nailed it: without an ability to laugh at yourself and the situations in which we land (or create) we’d break apart like stale bread.

Laughter and lightness is the moisture that provides resilience and malleability.

And laughter isn’t the only way a sense of humor displays itself: a knowing smile on the lips and a twinkle in the eyes are hallmarks of those who have discovered the soul-salve of humor and lightness. I submit the following: the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi.

And Tig Nataro.


But I have discovered something about the lightness people like these radiate: it was forged by marching through darkness.

The light in their eyes was built one flickering coal at a time, the result of years of personal stretching—of building their self-awareness, of testing their convictions, of conquering their demons, of marrying spiritual faith to their emotional will in the determination of their physical actions—until those individual coals provided warmth and light to those around them, until they shone so brightly that they lit up the world.

World: Meet Tig Nataro. She knows about darkness, and she’s faced it. Her story is now known, but I’ve admired her for several years, impressed by her quirky, laconic humour, blown away by her Largo set made famous by the Louis C K tweet (“In 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night”). I bought the recording and listened several times. It’s brilliant.

But now, after watching Tig’s HBO special that debuted last week, I am humbled, as in brought-to-my-knees kind of humbled, by her courage, her raw, determined perseverance in the face of loss.

Truly, the bravest performance I’ve ever seen. And F-U-N-N-Y.

I laughed out. I was shocked into silence. And then I remembered: lightness is born of darkness; humour springs from tragedy.

Indeed, were it not for the latter, the former would have difficulty developing.

So, the next time a difficult situation presents itself, look for the lighter side, seek the humor, and any obstacle will melt to a manageable size.

Just ask Tig.

She’d tell you to look for the moon; it’s always there behind the clouds.

But you gotta’ look for it.

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humour to console him for what he is.”  ~Francis Bacon

Leave a Reply