And Robin, I didn't mean to wear this shirt while I'm talking to you, but it's. One Mississippi, one Mississippi. Yeah, this is Don't Ask Tig, I'm Tig Notaro, and you clearly can't follow directions. Here to help me today is the incredible Robin Roberts. You know her from Good Morning America and from ESPN. I know her from how do I know you?
Do you know how we met?
We were, first of all, to thank you very much. And I cannot wait to impart my my vast knowledge and advice on those who will be listening. But going back, I mean, how many people from Pass Christian, Mississippi and I had so many people that were reaching out to me because about you before I met you, because of the similarities you were going through a health crisis. At the same time. I was our mother's passed away about almost the same time.
Yeah. I was like, TIG Well, first of all, take what? And then we just kind of it.
And I am pleased to you it pays off every time I see you or talk to you. But I really was.
How do I know this person? I don't know where it began, but we were kind of blown away at the similarities. It's ridiculous.
We didn't. We still don't, obviously.
Now, since this is an advice podcast, what is your best piece of Mississippi advice you've ever received?
Oh, the best case of Mississippi advice. I remember with my mom, she wanted a pickup truck. And my dad said when you asked for a pickup truck, it means you've been too far south, too long. I remember that. I remember really everything is going to go back to mommy isms. My mom gave me the best piece of advice and you can say Mississipi advice or parental advice or whatever, but it's really stayed with me. But I can remember being in our home in the past.
I'm in high school. I think I'm all that and a bag of chips.
And the pass is what locals call Pass Christian, our hometown. We affectionately call it the pass. And I'm about to go out and it's like my mom knew I was going to do something. So I don't know how your parents you kind of just know. Yeah. And I will never forget I was about but my hand was on the door going out and all she said was. Robin, Renee, you know, right from wrong, that was it.
Uh huh. And sure enough, that night we were about to do something wrong, like, oh, I know the difference between right and wrong. Sorry, guys, I got to go home.
I served me so well to know the difference between right and wrong.
Just knowing you as I do and probably as the rest of the world knows you, I can't even imagine what wrong you are possibly going to do.
Well, it was it was Mississipi wrong in high school as youth, we just feel that we're invincible and that we can do and say and but and what not. And I was I was one of those I wasn't the polished person that people now see on Good Morning America.
But back in the day, I was like, everybody else is try to figure it out.
I know it really terrifies me when I think of the invincible element of growing up. It terrifies me, especially having two children.
And I hate to sound like a big cliche, but it terrifies me because I really was doing dangerous things and oh, do tell you what it means.
And what was a dangerous thing that you were doing, Robin.
It is so your child to your children will have to edit this out, because I do not want my child or any other child to do what I was doing. Robin, it is so dangerous. My friend and I would drive on I 10 to Louisiana to go to her grandmother's house for Shrimp Fest. And, you know, you get on I 10 and it's just nothing but swamps that you're going over forever. And I would. Are you kidding me?
No, I'm not kidding. To this day of your friend. I don't know.
And that's like one of many things we did.
Wow. Well, now, I just did an episode of Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts, which was a lot of fun. And we talked about this on the show, but we kind of talked about it. My question is more of how do you remain upbeat very early in the morning?
But it reminds me of also when I was saying about your kindness and your openness, which is similar but different because I feel like your chest is just I remember rip open and just sunshine beaming out of your being.
First of all, I remember when you said that to me and it meant so much, especially coming from somebody who I adore as much as I adore you and respect. It's the athlete in me when I want it to be good for the state bowling champion in Mississippi. When I was 12 years old, I had to practice with I was all state basketball, tennis. I had to practice. And it's the same thing with joy and happiness. You have to get in the habit.
You have to practice it. And I shared this with you. I remember my father and like many of us, when we're coming up and everybody, I don't I hope you don't ask this. What do you want to be when you grow up? Yeah, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I asked my dad, how should I respond when someone says that? And he said, when somebody asked you, what do you want to be, you tell them you want to be kind.
And to that took so much pressure off of me. And I was like, I can do that. Yeah. I don't know how to be an astronaut or physicist or a doctor or a lawyer. What everybody was trying to say you should be. I don't know how to do that, but you've taught me, mom and dad, how to be kind. And I have to say that has opened more doors for me without the intent of that being what I wanted.
It is something that we really we're in need of kindness, empathy, not sympathy, but empathy, really sympathize with people. I know what it's like to go through the loss of a loved one. I know what it's like to go to our hometown. Kashkashian was virtually wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. So when I covered natural disasters now like I went to Lake Charles not too long ago, because people have forgotten about them. And I was like, no, I know what it feels like to feel forgotten.
And so it all stems from just that passion and compassion. It has been the bedrock of who I am.
And do you feel like you wake up with that, though? Each day when I wake up, wake up thinking I haven't gotten enough sleep, but I make it a practice and that's something that I really want people to understand. You have to get in the habit of being joyful, the habit of happiness, of habit. And that is something that has served me well. I think it's because of the athlete in me that I remembered like, oh, if I practice, if I put in the time good things are going to happen.
You have to position yourself for good things to happen. Proximity is power.
Yes. I love that you've as I have been very public about your health and your experience with cancer.
And do you feel like being public about that has been helpful for you or vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness, when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. It is not it was not easy for me and I'm sure not for you to talk about my illness. It's not something that I wanted to do. My dear mom was like, make your mess your message. And you've done that as well. Make your message, your message. And I remember when I first said to I was on Good Morning America, I was twenty seven, was diagnosed with breast cancer, knew I was going to have to have surgery, the chemo, radiation and all that.
And I was with my dear friend Diane Sawyer. Oh, gosh. Talk about the angels that are placed in your life. And Diane Sawyer is one of them. And I was holding her hand as I announced I have breast cancer. And, you know, Tig, that night I slept like a baby because I got it out there and it seemed like I was hiding something from people. And I took control of the narrative. And I'm here to say there are many people that we know that don't want to share their illness.
And you know what? More power to them. There's no rule book and just kind of figuring out what is best for you. And being that I was in the public eye, I thought, OK. This is a great this is a teachable moment, and I'm grateful that I had a platform to hopefully, hopefully help others who walk a similar path. I couldn't agree more.
And I I fully relate. And I, I struggled to be honest about my own health. And it wasn't until I was. And I agree with what you're saying. If people don't want to be open about their health or whatever it is in their life, that's their business.
But I, I could not believe the shift in my life and my abilities and my relationships. Everything changed in that moment. And I know you helped so many people. So thank you for that and thank you for everything that you do. And thank you in advance for all the advice you're about to give people.
We're going to dispense wisdom now. Question one comes from Teresa. Teresa says, My husband and I have a lot of travel destinations we want to see before we die. The pandemic has led him to becoming obsessed with traveling to space. This does not appeal to me in the least with a limited amount of money and time. Which do we choose? I don't want to smash his dream, but I'm also very attached to gravity and oxygen. Please help.
I can't help. Maybe. And here's the thing is I read the news every day, Robin.
Am I missing something? Are people going to space on vacation?
Oh, yes, there is. In the very near future right now. But not but not right now.
But it's going to happen in the near future that people are going to be able to travel to space. I know that.
But I mean, should this really be an issue in a relationship now?
That's a whole other story. So how soon are we talking about, you know, spring break on Saturn?
I would say this to Theresa. I mean, we all have a bucket list and space is on some people's bucket list. Not not mine, but it's on your husband's. You'll start small, you know, put that on the back burner, Theresa, like saying, OK, hubby, what we since we can't go to space today, it is something that could happen in the future. Why don't we take baby steps first and go places that will build up to finally Saturn going to Saturn for spring break.
Yeah, I, I guess if all goes well the pandemic will I'm hoping wrap up by fall of twenty, twenty one to some that.
Right. So the vaccine is out because of the vaccine. Right. Right, right. So what do Teresa and her husband know that I don't wear. I can't imagine having a real issue and discussion because unless they were selling tickets right now, as soon as a pandemic is, you know what I'm saying?
Like so there could be a waiting list because believe it or not, you and I are not going to be on that list.
No, but there are people who want to go to autres.
But is it prepaid where you have to sign up and prepay for your spring break on Saturn, or can you sign up and then in the meantime, go to Bloomington, Indiana.
Go or Buffalo, New York. Buffalo, New York. Come on.
OK, Robin is saying this because I sent her a video of Buffalo, New York. I sent it a couple of weeks ago. And when we got on Zoome today, you told me you just watched it today.
Well, because it's kind of like homework. And I knew I was going to see you. So go. I want to be able to see you and say that I saw it. But but the point being, you're right. You're right. You're right.
So here's what I want to say. You need to figure out, Teresa, if you even want to go to outer space, because if not, your husband could start a little piggy bank with a friend who wants to go to outer space and they can go do that.
And then you can have you don't have to go with him. You can go to Buffalo and Bloomington, all the hot spots with your husband, and then he can go to outer space with a friend. Is that right?
Robin, great advice. Thank you. Thank you. Let us know where you end up traveling whenever it is. A traveling is safe again. So more questions after the break. We get support from better help online counseling, the new year can be a good time for a mental health check in or a time to talk some things out. Better Help offers online licensed professional therapists who are trained to listen and to help with issues including anxiety, depression, stress, grief, LGBT matters, family conflicts and more.
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Indeed, right now our listeners get a free seventy five dollar credit to upgrade your job post and indeed dotcom tick. This is indeed the best offer available anywhere. Get a free seventy five dollar credit at indeed dotcom btig indeed dotcom to offer valid through March 30. First terms and conditions apply. So, Robin, how old were you when you figured out what you did want to do outside of being kind? And this is relevant for our next question, for as long as I can remember, as a child, I dreamed of being a pro athlete.
I remember weather as being a bowling champ in Mississippi playing tennis, basketball.
It was when I was a freshman in college that I realized I was not going to be a pro athlete. And the reason I knew that is that there was a women's professional basketball league during that time and as a freshman scrimmage the women professionals and we kick their ass.
So I knew that was not going to be a freshman in college. Could beat the pros. Yeah, I was thinking, no, there's not going to be a pro league for basketball by the time I get out at Southeastern Louisiana University. And so it was my freshman year that I came to the realization I'm not going to be a pro athlete. OK, what is it what is it about being a pro athlete? Oh, I love sports. I love travel.
I love all. Well, what else could I do? Have an older sister who is a broadcaster, Sallyanne Roberts. She was the one who encouraged me. Why don't you take your passion for sports with your interest in storytelling, in journalism, be a sports reporter and a..
And I was like, well, women don't do that. And I haven't seen any black women doing that.
And so just go for it. And I was like, and that was when I was a freshman in college because a little known story I tried to drop out of school because I was disillusioned, didn't really know if this was going to happen. Being a sports reporter, I was majoring in communications and I spent my second love is aviation. My father was a Tuskegee Airman, the first black flying Air Corps in the military. Wow. I'm going to be a pilot.
And my parents were like, OK, we'll allow you to drop out and pursue this dream. But to do it, you have to go to the military like your father. So there's a test you have to pass. If you don't test that officer candidacy's test, if you don't pass that, you have to be willing to go back and finish college. And I was like, Dale, I failed that test miserably. I still to this day feel it was rigged because my father was in the room.
And I think like he's with his buddies, at least I'd like to think that I was really good. So I went back to the college, finished out, and it was then that I realized that, OK, I went to the local radio station, was a sports director, did play by play high school basketball, all these kind of things. And that's when my my my passion, I was like, oh, this this can turn into something.
This is something I want to do. And then I finished that school majoring in communications and was very fortunate to be able to get a position as a sports reporter in the Deep South, as a woman doing sports.
That's so awesome. And I love that your parents were willing to make a negotiation and come up with some option. That was maybe not exactly what the original plan was. It's it's exciting because as a parent, I think, oh, that's great.
I have to always remember to be flexible.
You and you have to make my parents made it. So it was my decision. It wasn't because they could very easily, because they were both the first in their families to go to college. And my older brother, my two older siblings, all had at least a bachelor's degree. Yeah, big role for our family to have a college education. And so for me, the little kid going like I'm dropping out of school. Yeah. Not to panic and go, you got to go.
Are you going to like it and say, OK, we're going to work with you? I think that is I really appreciate how they approach that because it really set me on a really great direction.
I love that. Well, this leads us to our next question, Corey. Corey writes, I'm about to turn thirty six and I still don't know what I want to do with my life. I've been a Korean linguist and a cake decorator. I've taken classes in horticulture and animal husbandry, and I've dabbled in woodworking, crochet, painting and a thousand other things. I have a beautiful family and the most supportive husband, but I feel like I need purpose.
Help while poor that she hit it right there. We all. We need purpose. Yeah, and that's really but this is really cool. First of all, kudos to you for all the different things you've done.
I, i that's also it's a lot. But I would ask you said what is the common thread? What is it with all those things that you've done that you've enjoyed? What is it? Because it's kind of like how I wanted to be a professional athlete. It wasn't going to happen. But then I found a way to dream. Big, big picture, but focus small on the day to day things. And I would ask her to to try and figure out what is the commonality and all those things that she is doing well and try and find what it is.
But I don't care if you're if you're six twenty six, thirty six, one hundred and six. We all go through this times of what's my purpose. It's great with those people who from birth, they know exactly what they want to do, but the vast majority of us don't support. You need to know that it's cool that you're not quite sure because the vast majority of us don't. But this is what always got me to when a kid would come into my office and back when they could come into your office and they they would say like, oh, I really don't know what I want to do.
And and they ask for my advice and that and I like you know, no one knows you better than you. I just met you, so I don't really know. So, yeah, there's some time with yourself. What is it that you really want to do? And it's great to ask people such as myself. Big success leaves clues, but it's got to be you will offer some advice to you, Corey. And so we'll check and I'm sure she'll have to we'll look into her crystal ball and she'll have the perfect answer.
But you have to personalize it and make it what's going to work for you. You only know what your circumstances, your husband, your family, what's going to work for you, whatever advice that we do.
Well, I couldn't agree more. And I think I'm very really blown away and amused by all of the the things that I'm reading that Corey has done. I mean, this is somebody who is clearly an open, interested, curious person. And that, I think is really great to have in your personality. Also, you have a long list of, first of all, things that do not have a tie in, but know who knows, you could probably find a tie in price.
I know you would be surprised, but what you do have is a really amazing long list of things you don't want to do. So that's a great start. But also what's striking me is the incredible interest and curiosity that I was talking about. And I would say maybe you don't have the end goal that you want to focus too much on.
Take your curiosity, your natural curiosity and ability to put yourself out there and do something like maybe it's a blog or maybe it's a book and write about your need to find out who you are at thirty six. You've done all these things. Each of these things could be a chapter in a book or it could be an essay in a blog and open it up to public discussion with friends, family, strangers, and really explore yourself and your interests. And I don't think it's common that somebody really looks into so many avenues.
Would you agree?
It's a very varied there's something you said to that. Again, I go to my dear friend Diane Sawyer, what she says to a lot of young journalists and everything, and even it can apply to what you said and for for your curiosity as long as you go in with with being curious.
And she always our child always talks about how curiosity always leads you to something curious.
Yeah. And I would say you pat yourself on the back for continuing to be because this is a curious person.
This is a very curious person. And I would say if you never find the one thing that you want to do, your curiosity that has led you from a Korean linguist to to animal husbandry, to crochet, to painting.
Well, I would say keep going on your journey. And I would just say document it, write about it, talk about it. Best of luck to you, Corey, and thanks for writing in. And Robyn, this next question. Is what I call Jewboy Pinoy. This is going to be a tricky one, and it involves loud neighbors, Emily asks, A neighbor moved into my apartment building during the pandemic and they are so loud that I already know everything about their personal and professional life, including breakup's Zoome, work meetings and their tumultuous relationship with their mother.
I don't think they realize how loud they're being.
How should I let them know all this shit that she just said it right there? She doesn't. Maybe they don't know.
Yeah, that that that struck me, too. It sounds like they're not trying to be malicious.
Some people are loud talkers and loud livres. And I would say that probably being direct and to call back what Robin was saying, kindness to be direct and kind about it is your best bet, because there's kind of no way around that unless you want to be indirect and write a letter.
I don't know if it's a do I get that advice? Let's be direct. Let's be it. Let's let's say because not to be confrontational, but sometimes people are just so not aware, especially during this time of the pandemic. Yeah. And it sounds pretty detailed. Everything she knows about. Right. But it's it's interesting that I'm giving this advice and where we are right now. My partner, Ebonie, a neighbor across, they play music. Twenty four, seven now, for the most part, it's really enjoyable.
Yeah, normally it's really very soothing. They have a very great play, but then there's some times that I'm just like, dude, just come on. Yeah, I haven't done that yet. But this is what I'm saying. If I were to do that is by some giving right here. Hey, look, first of all, my name is obviously welcome to the neighborhood. Welcome to the building. Maybe bring a cake. I am Southern, bring a bundt cake and just kind of talk to them and and then you can decide from there how they react, what your next step would be.
I know that's that's great advice. Have you met your neighbors? The the low they don't like.
This is not about me. We're trying I'm not I'm not here to get to take advice.
I'm here to give advice.
You better start making a bundt cake, it sounds like. All right, Emily, it sounds like Robyn has she's got the answer and the same problem. So we'll be thinking about you because we'll also be thinking about Robyn. And I'm going to be checking up on you, Robyn, to see how your bundt cake is.
Look, I'm going to text you. I'm going to text you. How's your bundt cake look? And Robyn, we've got our last listener question here.
Yes, Sam asks, My nephew is sixteen and goes to a rural high school with limited opportunities for artists endeavors. I know because I went there. He is interested in film writing and producing. How do I support him and encourage him to pursue his interests and suggest opportunities?
Sam, it's really kind and thoughtful, but it's really very thoughtful.
And you know what I love about Sam that he can empathize because, you know, he's been in that situation and he knows the feeling. And so just, you know, Sam. So share what what was it that helped you pursue as you did? Was there somebody did someone share something with you to help encourage you? And I know because you and I are from grew up in a rural area. I would say, though, that you just don't know what people are capable of.
We we kind of think, oh, a rural area, they're not going to be into the arts. You don't you don't really know until you express that.
Yeah. There's so many examples out there and that can really make somebody see themselves in in somebody else or where they want to be. I know for myself, obviously, Roseanne Barr has gotten into her fair share of trouble and controversy over the years. But when I was in Denver, I remember I was watching like e true Hollywood story. Right. I was obsessed with stand up, but I didn't think I could do it. I didn't think that was something in the cards for me.
And it was just something I could enjoy in other people doing. But it was my big dream and fantasy. And I was watching and Roseanne came on and she was from Denver and I was living in Denver and I was watching this person.
There was her story was making me feel like, oh, maybe I could go do an open mic, maybe I could do this.
And so I started going to comedy clubs after that and I started watching comedy and I and I got up on stage and and it was that actual e true Hollywood story that made me take that step. And it's because I saw myself, wow, great.
First day of the year. And I think this young man that he's referred to this has to be able to like you, like Roseanne did for you. It's got to be able to see himself.
Yeah, this is my representation. And I know we say this all the time, but this is another example of why it is so incredibly powerful for someone to be able to see themselves through through the arts, through media, through through every aspect of our life. And I think this is another example of that. Yeah. And so when so when somebody rolls her eyes, next time someone says representation, remember the story. This is why talk about it.
This is why it's so important and how it could just really change the course of someone's life like it did for you.
One hundred percent. Think Roseanne Barr, wow. All right, well, I tried to thank Roseanne, and she was like, Oh yeah, cool.
But Sam, best of luck to you and your nephew. And I was blessed to have you in his life, Sam.
For sure. For sure. Robin, before we go, there's one last thing, and we need to name that thing. Name that thing, name that said. Here is where people write in when they don't know what to name their dog or their baby and we name that thing for them.
The catch is they must use the name and come on, listen, Russia.
So this this comes from Mary. Are you are you ready, Robin or Mary? OK, OK.
My friend B adopted a homeless cat with an enlarged spleen that was found wandering the streets of Jersey City. Initially, the cat was skinny and lethargic, so he called it dying kitty because we didn't want to get too attached. Now, after a few months, the cat seems perfectly healthy. What should we name that thing? Oh, OK, this is from Mary, the cat from Jersey City, dying Kitty. I'm glad you didn't stick with that.
Yeah, that's that's so sad and terrible, Mary, that you called this poor animal dying, Kitty.
But let's not forget, they rescued this dog, this cat. So they get kudos for the horse.
Kudos for that. But how dare you make this poor little animal dying, Kitty?
OK, so an enlarged spleen. I'm glad that we have this random piece of information.
Yes. And wandering the streets of Jersey City.
OK, about this. I want this to be used, but just can't get this out of my mind because of how dying, Kitty, that is not dead yet. OK, but I don't want that. I'm just saying I'm just spit balling here. You're spit balling.
OK, so we're going from dying kitty to not dead yet, which is a private. Yeah. That's an improvement.
And then there could be dead inside. No, no, that's not an improvement. OK, dying kitty too.
Let's get death out of the way.
OK, so let's let's concentrate on an enlarged and enlarged spleen in Jersey City. Maybe this cat could be called an entire centonze and enlarged spleen in Jersey City.
All this or Jarek's are the initials of that. Yeah, we s J.C..
And an enlarged spleen on the streets of Jersey. OK. Oh, I've got it, I've got it, I got it. OK, OK, we've got a spleen and we've got Jersey City. I say Bruce Springsteen spleen. It's brilliant, is it OK, spring Splaine That's right. Right, right, right.
But is it OK if instead of Bruce Springsteen, how about just spring splain? I like the Bruce, because if you don't have the Bruce before, you know what you mean. You don't know what the split screen is. But with Bruce. But it's a female cat, right?
I don't know. There's no gender here. Let's go with Bruce Springsteen. Splain.
Yes, I like that. Bruce Springsteen jersey.
It's perfect. You got an enlarged spleen and jersey. Your Bruce Springsteen.
That is why you are Tig Notaro. That is exactly why I am all right.
I did it because I feel I don't know about you, but I feel good about that. I feel really good. Listen to that.
Yeah, it is so much better than not dead yet or dying. Kitty, this cat is going to walk away as Bruce Springsteen splain. Huh, that's a mouthful, but I think I think it's good, I love it. I wouldn't change a word that I had the Bruce with it.
That's. You're welcome. Mary Ann has to be. I want to see a picture. Yeah.
And you can't use Dr. Becky Hines or has to be Bruce Springsteen. OK, Robin, I adore you and it's great to see you again. And I just really, really appreciate the time you took to be here today. And I know people are going to really appreciate hearing from you. So thank you again for being here.
The back. That's what you, Joe. Listen to Don't Ask Tig is hosted by me, Tig Notaro. It's produced by Thomas Veillette, Tracy Mumford and Whitney Jones. Our editor is Phyllis Fletcher, executive producer Lauren D. Engineering and Sound mixing by Eric Rachmani, digital production by Christina Lopez. Talent Booking by Marianne Wei's Production Assistants Finance Issue. Our theme music is Friend in Tig by Edie Brickell and Kyle Crush Them and Listen To Your Heart by Edie Brickell.
Special thanks to Hunter sideman Lily Kim and Alex Shaffer. Our executive consultant is Dean Cappello and Gobsmacked Studios. You can always ask for advice on Don't Ask Tig. Just write in with your problem or send us a voice memo. You can also follow us on social media at Don't Ask BTIG Don't Ask. TIG is a production of American Public Media. And as always, thanks, Dana. And I'll tell Becky that's where. If you happen to be looking for another podcast, check out BTIG and Cheryl, true story, where my friend Cheryl Hines and I talk about different documentaries every week.
Here's us talking about the queen of Hersi.
I was Teekay because I we have a dog door here so the dogs can go out. But I mean, if maybe if the house is so big you just call them dogs because people call them doggie doors.
Well, because I was going to say, I meant to say doggy door and I said dog door. And I just wanted to make it clear that that you had a dog.
I know that it's I know that they're usually called doggy doggy doers. I feel like what age do do people abandon dogs?
But you still say doggy door. I know.
That's also like when you go out to eat and you get a doggy bag, you still say dog.
You don't have your dog back.
Yeah, yeah. You get your doggy bag and then you come home and crawl through the doggy door and you do.
Oh excuse me. Can I get a dog bag. Thank you.
Because that sounds like you're going to pick up poop doesn't it. Like a dog bag. A doggy bag.
Sounds disgusting. Find Tig and Cheryl, true story on your favorite podcast player.