Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tig Notaro shows Stephen Colbert that she genuinely doesn't know who anyone famous is

Tig Notaro, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

“Why would any celebrity come on your show, by the way?,” asked Stephen Colbert of Tig Notaro on Wednesday’s Late Show. And while that sounds a little rude—since Notaro just agreed to be on his show and all—Colbert had a point, as Notaro’s Funny Or Die webseries Under A Rock With Tig Notaro is built around the sort of ego-puncturing premise from which most famous folks are likely to flee. That’s because, while Notaro is herself a famous comedian, actress, and producer, she’s also a self-proclaimed babe in the woods when it comes to navigating your average, star-packed Hollywood cocktail party. (Which the famously diffident and/or genuinely uninterested Notaro would probably not attend in the first place.)

Well, she knows Stephen Colbert at any rate, and while she certainly had no trouble matching her host’s name and famous face throughout, she did share an anecdote in which her lack of celebrity knowledge made a meeting with Reese Witherspoon (whom Notaro does know) slightly awkward when she misheard the name of one of Witherspoon’s Big Little Lies co-stars. (To be fair to Notaro, “Shailene” does open the door for some restaurant-chatter wacky misunderstandings.) But Colbert, armed with a stack of headshot flash cards, was prepared to test whether Notaro’s self-confessed ignorance of her celebrity peers was all a gimmick meant to rake in those sweet, sweet webseries dollars.


It really isn’t, as Notaro whiffed pretty hard. Sure, she knew Dwayne Johnson as The Rock, but she lives on this planet, under a rock or not. (Colbert didn’t press his guest on whether she knew the former The Rock’s birth name, but we’ll give her that one.) After that, it was mostly downhill, as Oscar-winners, dragon moms, reality show hosts, possible future James Bonds, and more all called up nothing but blank looks and smiling shrugs from Notaro. Confronted with a four-square array of the four Chrises was especially tough, even though she knew Chris Evans personally. (She got Pratt, but misidentified him as having starred in The Office.) At least the very funny Under A Rock will apparently never run out of potential good sport guests. (Like initial famous—if not to Notaro—faces Wyclef Jean, Julie Bowen, and James Van Der Beek.)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.