How Performing Topless Made Tig Notaro Feel Empowered

The comic says performing shirtless became a pick-me-up after her double mastectomy.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, comedian Tig Notaro underwent a double mastectomy. The procedure left her "in a bad place" -- "physically and emotionally beat," she said, during a HuffPost Live conversation Wednesday. Then the comedian thought of a way to incorporate her new body into her act.

"This idea started to creep into my head of, 'Oh gosh, what if I took my shirt off on onstage?'" she said. "It really amused me."

Notaro, who opted against reconstructive surgery, tried out the move during one of her regular shows at The Largo comedy club in Los Angeles, and "the crowd just lost their mind." From there, she decided to repeat it at performances in both New York and Boston, the latter of which is featured in her upcoming HBO comedy special "Boyish Girl Interrupted," premiering Aug. 22.

"I feel very empowered and excited by it," she said of her "topless comedy show." "I love not acknowledging that my shirt is off. Once I take it off, I don't ever talk about it again, and it leaves the audience kind of [like], 'Wait a minute, is she going to mention that her shirt is off?' And I don't."

The reaction to her shirtless routine gave Notaro "so much joy" during an otherwise fragile time, she told HuffPost Live.

"I feel excited while I'm doing it," she said. "But I'm aware. I'm like, 'Tig, your shirt's off."

Watch more from Tig Notaro's conversation with HuffPost Live here.

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