Tig Notaro Talks the Future of Jett Reno After ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ Being a PA with Alex Kurtzman in the ’90s & More

“I always tell people it just feels like ‘Tig in space.'”

That’s Tig Notaro on her “Star Trek: Discovery” character, Jett Reno, who’s a deadpan wisecracking, nickname-assigning engineer on the show. Out of the blue, Jett will call another character “Bobcat” or suddenly reveal an expected part of her past, such as her former life as a bookseller or bartender. Gauntlet thrown to Paramount+ to release the recipe for Jett’s “Seven of Limes.”

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Needless to say, Jett’s become a fan favorite, and in a new interview with IndieWire, Notaro opens up a bit about just how much Jett means to her too — a lot.

“Yeah, who knows?” Notaro said when asked if there’s a chance we could continue to see Jett on “Star Trek: Starfleet Academy,” the planned series that will take place after “Discovery” wraps up. “Maybe the full-blown Jett Reno spinoff. I’m hoping that I can continue on somewhere, somehow, because I do feel like it is such a fun character, and I have been very spoiled by the writers and everybody. I’ve had such a great time, and I just hope that there is a future for Jett Reno somewhere.”

Notaro feels a profound identification with Reno, down to the odd jobs it’s constantly being revealed Reno has worked in her life: “I feel like it makes sense for the character’s scrappiness, that there’s been so many different paths that she’s gone down, and different jobs and experiences that, again, I relate to as a person. I feel like I’ve done so many different odd jobs that I was never on a clear path. I feel like for so long in my life, I was just jumping from one random thing to the next, and I feel like all of those experiences, I’m very thankful for.”

One of those experiences literally led her to acting on “Star Trek: Discovery” in the first place. Back in the ’90s, Notaro met future “Trek” franchise overlord Alex Kurtzman, while they were both PA’ing in Hollywood to start their careers.

“We both worked for Sam Raimi’s production company,” Notaro said of Kurtzman. “Over the years, we were both assistants, and he obviously went on to bigger and better things, even within the company as a writer, and then executive producer, and showrunner for different things like ‘Xena’ and ‘Hercules.’ Yeah, then he went off on his own, and I’d run into him here and there. Then when they were about to go into season two for ‘Discovery,’ he brought me in for a meeting about this character. That’s kind of when I thought, oh, cool, I’ll probably do an episode or two. Now I’m neck deep in the ‘Star Trek’ world.”

You’d never know it, because Reno, as an engineer, is responsible for spouting much of the technical jargon on the show, but Notaro feels like she’s never gotten more comfortable with the franchise’s trademark technobabble: “No, no, no. I do not. I struggle through it, but I remind everyone I was doing my best and endlessly thankful for the patience of the cast and crew. I’m typically on tour doing stand up, and then I would pop into set [in Toronto] and do an episode or two, and then leave again.”

But tongue-tying dialogue aside, Notaro loves everything about “Star Trek,” including what it represents at this moment in time.

“I feel like it represents what the world could and should be,” she said. “I can’t claim that I’ve followed ‘Star Trek’ from day one, but my brother and I were very into the original series when we were kids. I know everyone says this but it is really such an honor to be a part of a show that is putting so much positivity and hope out there, which it’s always needed, but I feel like it’s so crucial these days. I guess there are people that, of course, would be upset with hope, and joy, and openness, but in general it’s not hurting anybody’s feelings.”

“Star Trek” has always been a trailblazer, with franchise creator Gene Roddenberry even wanting to push the show in a more inclusive direction beyond what network TV would then allow. But the series have become even that much more welcoming in recent vintage, featuring more LGBTQ characters especially.

“Well, I think all the time about how as a kid, it took me forever to figure myself out, which always surprises people,” Notaro said. “They feel like, you meet me now and you’re like, ‘Oh, of course, you’ve understood who you are from day one,’ but that’s not the case at all. I think that the older I get, the more I really realize the importance of — how can you not understand the importance of? — visibility and inclusivity? I just think about how amazing that would have been as a kid to see the extent that ‘Star Trek’ has been inclusive and the visibility there. It’s really remarkable, and so another source of pride.”

The finale of “Star Trek: Discovery” will stream Thursday, May 30 on Paramount+.

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