Star Trek homeSkip to main content
SearchGo To Dashboard

WARP FIVE: Tig Notaro Reflects on Discovery's Engineer and Star Trek Experience

The comic/writer/actress reflects on Jett Reno's trajectory over the course of the series.

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains story details and plot points for the fifth season of Star Trek: Discovery.

Graphic illustrated texture background with image of Tig Notaro and episodic stills of her character Jett Reno on Star Trek: Discovery

Getty Images /

Welcome to Warp Five,'s five question post-mortem with your favorite featured talent from the latest Star Trek episodes.

Starfleet engineer Jett Reno made her debut on Star Trek: Discovery in the Season 2 opener when the U.S.S. Discovery stumbled upon the U.S.S. Hiawatha medical vessel that had been presumed a casualty of the Federation-Klingon War. Following the rescue, Commander Reno joined Discovery's Engineering crew.

The fifth and final season of Discovery has pulled back the curtain on Reno's various careers prior to joining Starfleet. In "Erigah," as Sylvia Tilly and Adira Tal work to decipher the latest clue — a metallic card with text pointing to a 24th Century Betazoid manuscript — in their Red Directive mission, Zora informs them a member of the Discovery crew had prior experience as a rare and antiquarian bookseller. They're shocked to learn it's Reno. Reno admits she may have padded her resume, with her experiences varying from a smuggler for an antiquarian archivist, VIP shuttle pilot, deep mercury welder, and bartender on Ashalon IV. had the opportunity to speak with comic/writer/actress Tig Notaro on Reno's relationship with the Discovery crew, what Star Trek means to her, and more.

The Depths of Commander Jett Reno

Jett Reno crouches at a panel in a Discovery corridor in 'Erigah'


For Tig Notaro, it was exciting to learn about Jett Reno's life prior to Starfleet, and how it relates to her personal life experiences.

"It's so fun getting different scripts and reading like, 'Oh wow, I used to bartend. Okay, cool,'" explains Notaro. "I can personally relate because I failed out of school, dropped out, and had a million different jobs."

"All of those paths in my life just prepared me so much for where I am today," continues Notaro. "When I was an assistant, when I was working at a coffee shop, I worked with bands, I did babysitting and daycare, and I feel like it made me such a more. My life just is so much fuller. I didn't just go to college and then get a job and not have this huge backstory of my own and all of these great and crazy experiences that made me who I am. But it's fun to see that same thing in my character."

The Source of Reno's Wit

Jett Reno runs an experiment slowly placing something on top of of some machinery in the tech hub in 'Erigah'


Despite all her talent and success as a comic and writer, Notaro takes no credit for the likability and well-received Commander Reno, "I save that for my standup, and then I leave the rest of it to the writers and producers and other actors of this show. I love being a person that just shows up, does what I'm told, and do my best. There's no reason for me to chime in with anything. They're so just absolutely stellar with everything that they write for me."

Discovery's Engineering Crew

Stamets proposes a theoretical scenario for Jett Reno facing her in Engineering in 'Face the Strange'

"Face the Strange"

As part of Discovery's Engineering crew, Notaro's Commander Reno interacts the most with chief engineer Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman), and Adira Tal (Blu del Barrio) since joining the series in its second season.

"I can't believe how naturally it came together," reflects Notaro, "The dynamic, especially with Anthony [Rapp]. People joke all the time, or probably not even joke, 'Where is your spinoff?' I love ripping on each other on that show. It kind of spilled into our real relationship where we have genuine moments, and I adore him. We really do just go at each other and it's such a pleasure. It's so much fun."

Adira, Reno, and Tilly stop in their tracks in the corridor of the Discovery as a Breen dreadnaught appears above in 'Erigah'


This season finds the young Ensign Adira come into their own with guidance and support from the crew. On watching that dynamic, Notaro reveals how it has her resembling her career trajectory, "There are so many heartwarming scenes. I've had these moments in scenes where I think, 'Oh, how funny.' In the back of my mind, I'm thinking how you just blink in life and all of a sudden you're the older person. And that's how I felt in those scenes where I'm like, 'Oh yeah, I'm one that has wrinkles on my face.'"

"I'm the one that's nurturing the younger one and giving the advice," continues Notaro. "It's nice. I mean, I've experienced that also in my standup career, and it just feels like a natural thing that I'm kind of going through right now. Blu [del Barrio], just in real life, I feel like there's a bit of a similarity there with the on-screen character and real person, and the different conversations that go on in between scenes and just about life and relationships and family. It's a really nice connection."

What Star Trek Means to Notaro

Commander Jett Reno pauses as she goes up a couple steps while holding a spore canister and looks over her shoulder behind her in 'An Obol for Charon'

"An Obol for Charon"

"I am good friends with Alex Kurtzman," explains Notaro. "Initially, it just started out as, 'Oh yeah, that'd be fun to work with Alex and to do an episode or two on Star Trek.' And then after I got in there and kept getting asked back as the seasons went on and really started to comprehend what it means to be a part of the Star Trek universe, it became a whole other thing to me."

"It started out very casual," Notaro adds. "Whereas now it's such a true and tremendous honor to be in this world, and I hope that I get to continue to be a part of it. It's a very special thing in my life."

The Presentation of the Star Trek Universe

While Book reaches into his leather coat with his left hand, Jett Reno warily looks ahead in 'Species Ten-C'

"Species Ten-C"

On the visibility and representation of those in Star Trek: Discovery, Notaro states, "I love that everything is just kind of folded into the show in general, aside from my character, it's just presented as this is the way of the world and I think as it should be."