As a stand-up comic, Tig Notaro is used to doing plenty of things on her own. But acting out an entire zombie thriller in front of a green screen, without her co-stars, isn’t one of them.
Still, when the director Zack Snyder asked Notaro to replace Chris D’Elia — who has been accused of sexual misconduct — in the already-shot “Army of the Dead,” she accepted the challenge. And ruled.
Notaro’s performance as Marianne Peters, a scrappy helicopter pilot hired to fly mercenaries out of Las Vegas before it blows, was digitally inserted into the film. When the trailer panned to Notaro in a “Top Gun”-esque flight suit and aviators, a cigarillo clenched between her teeth, her fans campaigned for her to replace all the abhorrent men in movies.
“It’s been a funny element, especially going into a project that I had insecurities about: Would I be good enough at doing it? Could I replace such a larger-than-life male comedian?” Notaro said. “And so it was really odd because I turned 50 years old and then started trending for being a badass or sexy. I didn’t see that coming.”
Not that she has time to do much looking. Notaro is currently shooting Season 4 of “Star Trek: Discovery” while juggling the podcasts “Don’t Ask Tig,” in which she ladles out droll advice with celebrity guests, and “Tig and Cheryl: True Story,” a documentary dialogue, kinda sorta, with the actress Cheryl Hines. She also has “Drawn,” an hourlong animated stand-up special, coming out on HBO this summer.
In a video interview during a break from “Star Trek” in Toronto, Notaro discussed her obsession with rock memorabilia, Black sitcoms and other cultural essentials. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
1. “Dear Zachary” and Other Documentaries
I love a documentary that has twists and turns that blow your mind. “Crip Camp,” “A Band Called Death,” “The Staircase” — I can’t get enough. Cheryl and I have the quintessential giggly friendship. We amuse each other to no end. In the very beginning of [“Tig and Cheryl: True Story”], we took it more seriously and really tried to discuss the documentary. But as the episodes went on, we fell into our typical way of our friendship. And now anything in the documentary discussion will send us off into conversations that have zero to do with documentaries.
“Dear Zachary” is devastating. I don’t think I could ever have that on the show because it is so intense and heavy and emotional. I had to pause it three times to have some deep, serious boohoo-hoos. So I don’t know that it’s the right vibe since we’re so all about cackling together.
2. “Sanford and Son” and “Good Times”
I was growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, and it’s a time period that I just really, really enjoyed. Black sitcoms during that time period, there was absolutely nothing better. Oh my gosh. When I was a little girl going to elementary school, I had my [Jimmy] Walker impression down to a T.
3. Music Trivia Games
You know when you go to a bar and they have a little computer and you can do music trivia? Or on some flights with the screen on the seat in front of you where you can play other people on the plane? I will play that. [Years ago] I played music trivia from L.A. to New York game after game after game and beat everybody.
I am vegan and one of the fun elements to touring for me is finding plant-based restaurants everywhere I go. People are convinced you can’t eat plant-based or vegan unless you’re in L.A. or New York, or it’s just something celebrities do. There’s this app called HappyCow, and you can find the nearest plant-based restaurant.
5. Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks T-shirts
I’ve been going to concerts since I was maybe 13 and have a collection of concert T-shirts. And when I wear them, I’m constantly asked: “Oh, where did you get that? Did you get that on Melrose? Did you get that on Sunset?” And it’s like: “No, I got that at the Stevie Nicks concert. No, I got that at Van Halen’s concert.”
One of my favorite concerts was the first time I saw the Pretenders live, and the second Chrissie Hynde walked out onstage, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I have the T-shirt from that tour. One of my favorite T-shirts is my Stevie Nicks T-shirt. I was on a talk show with her a year and a half or so ago, and when I saw that she was also a guest, I ran home after soundcheck and grabbed my Stevie Nicks T-shirt and put it on and wore it on the episode. And she signed the back.
6. Vintage Motorcycles
I have two — a 1969 Honda CB350 and a 1970 Honda CB350. One is gold, and she is Goldie Honda. And the blue one is Kurt Russell. I haven’t ridden them in eight years, but I still have them. And I think as long as Goldie and Kurt are together, I might keep my motorcycles together.
7. Time Capsules
Anything that’s of interest to me or important, I’ll pack it away. Then I’ll do my yearly sorting through my life and belongings, and I’ll open a time capsule and reminisce.
8. Cat Island Coffeehouse
I’ve worked in coffee shops and I love to spend time when I travel in coffee shops. You see the locals and the regulars, and I have T-shirts and maybe a hat or two from around the country. It’s really a peaceful fly-on-the-wall experience for me. I’ll tell you one in Mississippi that is delicious. It’s the Cat Island Coffeehouse and bookstore on the Gulf Coast in my hometown, Pass Christian. It is incredible.
9. Rock Magazines
I have a pattern here. I love looking at rock magazines. As the years go by, some stay with me. Others, I can part with. But I have some pretty cool old Rolling Stone, Spin and Creem magazines. I do like to go sit and look through my magazine collection maybe every year or two. It’s like, “Oh my God, that’s right — this one with Madonna on the cover.”
10. “And I Don’t Want to Live This Life” by Deborah Spungen
When I was a kid, I read this book like three times. It was written by Nancy Spungen’s mother — Nancy of Sid and Nancy fame. It’s a great book, as wild and crazy and mysterious as Nancy was. It’s such an interesting perspective to read a book by her mother about Nancy’s childhood. And that line — “And I don’t want to live this life” — is something Sid Vicious said after Nancy died. It was basically that he didn’t want to live without her. I was so into that book. I guess it ties back to documentaries. I just love stories about people.