Writing comedy in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory has proven to be quite the hurdle for some over the last few months.
But when Tig Notaro and her all female writing team sat down to plan out and evolve the second season of “One Mississippi” back in January, it was one they knew that they had to face head on. To do so, they started to envision how a Trump presidency would unfold, and unfortunately many of the topics and controversies they thought would arise have indeed come to the fore.
“We had gone back to writing in January, which was right after the election. And we all had a lot on our minds and a lot to say about where we thought everything was going. Unfortunately I think we were on the right track,” Notaro explained when I spoke to her over the phone about the return of “One Mississippi” to Amazon on September 8.
But while Notaro and her team felt the need to confront Trump, they also didn’t want to give him too much attention. Especially because doing so meant sacrificing the examination of much more important issues.
“There was a lot of back and forth between the writers, and people wanted different things. I think that he was mentioned more to begin with, and then as it got closer to shooting I just felt like I wanted to take his name out of the show as much as it was in there. Not that it was littered, maybe it was two other times that he was mentioned. But I felt like it was two times too much. I felt like it was giving him too much attention, when we should be giving certain issues attention.”
Over the course of the second season of “One Mississippi,” the topics of sexual assault and abuse are probed in a calm, intelligent and coherent manner, while the show still manages to remain funny and touching. That was the intention from the get-go, as Notaro explained, “We wanted to talk about assault and abuse, and we just layered in as a storyline. We touched on it briefly in the first season, but we wanted to go into it fully in the second season. It is an entirely female writers room, and everybody had experienced some sort of assault or abuse or harassment, and we wanted to talk about the different ways that people can be abused – by family, in the work place, by strangers, by people that you know and love.”
With “One Mississippi” Tig Notaro has managed to blend her distinctive voice as a stand-up comedian with touching and hilarious narratives. The 46-year-old has admitted that she has embraced the many changes that have come her way in her career, but at the same time she has always made sure not to compromise her “essence.”
“I feel like my voice has changed throughout my entire career, but the core of who I am is always in there. But I am always allowing myself to change and try new things. I think if I didn’t I’d be tremendously bored, and want to be doing what I’m doing, because you have to try something else out or it’s really, really exhausting.”
When I asked whether she’d ever considered adjusting her act for mainstream sensibilities, Notaro defiantly responded, “It was my only option. I couldn’t really do what other people were doing. And I was getting enough of a response and laughter, and my career was always moving forward and upwards, and it was all enough of an indication that I was on the right track. And I never thought and I still don’t want to take over the world. I want to be able to do what I am doing. And like what I’m doing. And I really can’t imagine trying to do what other people are doing.”
The second season of “One Mississippi,” and its uncompromising approach to vital, current issues, proves its integral that Tig Notaro continues doing what she’s doing, too.