In her video for album track “Woman Who Doesn’t Sleep with Men” where she shuts down a heckler, Cameron Esposito summed up her outspoken brand of comedy. And in a 2013 op-ed piece for the Advocate in which she said, “I’m not going to hide my sexuality. Because if I stop talking about my life and my sexuality with some degree of candor – not even a huge degree, but some! – then comedy is just left with a sea of dude comics miming wieners onstage forever. I don’t hear myself represented onstage, and that’s OK. I’ll represent myself. I’m happy to,” she proved herself both a comedian and an activist. Representing herself and subsequently her unique perspective is exactly what she does on her latest stand-up album, Same Sex Symbol, in stores this week.
Now it’d be hard to argue that Cameron Esposito isn’t having the best year ever. In fact, she’s made herself incomparable over the last few months. Being called “the future of comedy” by Jay Leno she has appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly, IFC’s Maron, Chelsea Lately and Adventure Time and her late night television debut on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson was called “the most memorable first time on a late night show for any comedian in recent history” by Splitsider. Her brand of unapologetic authenticity, hardwork and dedication to outspoken comedy defines that which makes one a legend in the making. Oh, and also what it means to be a sex symbol.
Known for her energetic delivery and trademark side mullet, Esposito’s Same Sex Symbol, released on label Kill Rock Stars, perfectly captures her newfound confidence and straightforward humor. Kicking off the album she tells the audience, “You look amazing. I also, look amazing,” before she jumps right into her self-aware material describing her look, “As you can tell by my haircut, I am a Thundercat. AND ALSO A GIANT LESBIAN. Of course I am, OF COURSE I AM, I have a side-mullet. I look like most of Portland’s men.”
She goes on to weave personal stories of her being a theology major turned atheist (Jesus Factory) and tight underwear crises (Street Underwear) with her first trip to a strip club, “I didn’t want to go in the past because, oh yeah, feminism,” and unsolicited threesome propositions (Threesome Proposition). It’s an accumulation of her best work over the last few years, effortlessly matched with the off the cuff crowd work that she’s known for. In Lesbian Pornography, she quips, “I think people are still pretty confused on what gay women are…and I think this is because of lesbian pornography on the internet.” She continues, “at this point I don’t even remember if the balls are on top, like do you get that part of it? Like if I picture a guy taking off his t-shirt, he’d take off his t-shirt and it’d just be another t-shirt.” That’s not to say that her comedy isn’t universal. “Are there any straight people here?” Esposito asks. “You don’t have to feel weird, this is a safe space. Just keep it out of my face.”
What was most noteworthy was her growing confidence as a performer. Seems the opportunity to record an album came at exactly the right time, just as she’s hit her stride in being an unstoppable force of comedy. As she explains on Fighter Pilot, “I am so happy with where I am in my life, just finally my look sorted out, you know, my gender represented to you accurately, my gender being fighter pilot.”
She ended her set just as powerfully as she started, leaving the audience with a message of same-sex equality, “I think it is so important for me to be talking about my life right now because we are at this moment in time in our country, I mean it’s a huge, huge deal, this is stuff that’s happening.” Her goal as a performer, what she wants people to take away from her comedy, is that gay is OK. That and our differences make us stronger, a point she quickly proves with a hilarious anecdote about the mispronunciation of Wack-a-Mole, “it’s pronounced, guacamole.”