Arts and Entertainment

TTom Takes Radio City: The Have it All Tour

Stand-up comedian Taylor Tomlinson took Radio City by storm on September 9, reflecting on her dream career, crippling anxiety, daddy issues, and the millennial dating life in a shockingly introspective and laugh-out-loud hilarious show.

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By Phoebe Buckwalter

When it comes to her smashing success in the world of stand-up comedy, Taylor Tomlinson is a self-starter: “Do you think I’d be this successful at my age if I had a live mom? [EXPLETIVE] no!” The 29-year-old stand-up comedian’s whirlwind career began at just 16, performing at local venues in her hometown of Temecula, California. From being named one of the Top 10 Comics to Watch by Variety to earning her place on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, Tomlinson’s meteoric rise includes perhaps the greatest milestone any comic can achieve: two full-length Netflix comedy specials, Quarter-Life Crisis (2020) and Look at You (2022), plus two more in the works. Tomlinson’s material is known for tackling adulthood, relationships, and mental health with a rare combination of hilarity and insightfulness, earning her a loyal fanbase and critical acclaim. This August, Tomlinson embarked on The Have it All Tour and performed at the Radio City Music Hall on September 9. 

In the sweltering evening, thousands of showgoers lined up outside the iconic venue, “TONIGHT SOLD OUT TAYLOR TOMLINSON” shining in neon lights above their heads. Inside, the 6,000-person venue was packed to the brim, the theater aglow in warm red light as a montage of Tomlinson’s tour highlights flashed across half a dozen screens. The 7:00 p.m. show began with an impressive opener from “the world’s most average person,” Dustin Nickerson, who brought the house down discussing the joys of watching children forced to participate in youth athletics, strengthening his marriage through mutual hate of couple friends, and pushing 40. Though Nickerson’s opener received ample applause, the crowd’s energy surged in howling cheers and deafening claps as he introduced Tomlinson, who donned a sharp black blazer and her signature messy ponytail as she pranced onstage. 

Tomlinson’s wit shined as she warmed the crowd up with anecdotes of dating in her twenties and the unhelpful advice she has received from well-meaning married friends: “Well, why don’t you just date yourself? Because you told me not to settle!” Ultimately, Tomlinson has concluded that “dating in your 20s is like being a stuffed animal in a claw machine: oh my God it’s happening—oop, no it’s not.” She thoughtfully reflected on the single life as an introvert with severe anxiety, explaining that she was scared of dying alone until she realized “there will be someone there when I die—a doctor, a murderer, a witness.” 

Still, Tomlinson’s fear of never finding love is at the core of The Have It All Tour. About to enter her thirties armed with her dream job and a bundle of “Netflix money”—of which she responsibly invested $7,000 in one of Hugh Jackman’s costume gloves—Tomlinson is on the verge of “having it all.” The missing piece is a partner, someone she is not completely sure she is ready for. After all, she still views introducing the guy she's dating to her parents as “showing your partner why you’re mean to them sometimes.” As she narrated the ups and downs of her personal life, Tomlinson strived to ask the question: can she really have it all? But it was not rhetorical: “I don’t even know! This is not a bit, New York! I am genuinely concerned.” 

Tomlinson was also genuinely concerned when she went to the ER because she “fell asleep in airpods, woke up, couldn’t find one, thought [she] swallowed it” (she did not). The full-blown panic attack that ensued points to the fact that she is still battling the same anxiety she explored in Quarter-Life Crisis and Look at You. Though Tomlinson has always been proactive in nurturing her mental health, in Have it All, she navigates it with a mature awareness of personal responsibility. She is not afraid to seek help when she needs it, evidenced by the fact that she consulted the crowd for insomnia advice and received the best tip she has heard thus far: “In Japan, you can hire people to play your parents and they will rock you to sleep.” She then admitted that, yup, she still has daddy issues. 

Despite all the consistencies between her last projects and her new material—Taco Bell references, dating app trauma, competing to be her therapist’s “favorite client,” etc.—much has changed for Tomlinson. She has been working on making peace with her upbringing through what she calls “inner child summer,” which entails acting on her impulses until she finds the things that bring her happiness. She has also started questioning her sexuality, something she never felt she had the freedom to do before. Inspired by “the most beautiful relationships” that her two gay sisters and transgender brother have with their partners, Tomlinson is attempting to separate the strictly traditional viewpoint instilled in her as a sexually repressed teenager from her own romantic desires. She has found that while dating women is appealing to her, she fears their rejection more than she does with men. After all, if a woman rejects you, “she probably knows what she’s talking about.” 

Though Tomlinson’s candid vulnerability has always shaped her material, it is this ability to admit self-doubt that sets Have it All apart; rather than trying to rectify her hesitance, she has embraced it, recognizing that she is at a transformative stage in her life and waiting to see what the future holds. Behind her bitterness toward Gen Z, the dad jokes and the [EXPLETIVE] jokes, and the boiling resentment she harbors for her best friend’s fiancé (the betrayal!), Tomlinson is just as terrified as the rest of us—only with more class and sass than most. 

After her last joke and the crowd’s enthusiastic standing ovation, Tomlinson skipped offstage, leaving behind immense awe and an intoxicating crowd energy that hung in the humid September air like the subtle notes of Tomlinson’s perfume, which she only wears when she is in a relationship: “I don’t wear perfume to smell good. I wear it to haunt you later [after we break up].” 

With 35 more shows left in The Have it All Tour, it is undeniably worth it to see Tomlinson in action. Just as she dropped “seven grand on eye contact with Hugh Jackman,” I would gladly splurge on tickets over and over again. But if you are an introvert like Tomlinson herself, do not worry—Have it All is coming soon to a home theater near you…courtesy of Netflix.