After opening for comedians like Anthony Jeselnik and Maria Bamford, with arguably specific crowds, creating and hosting UCBLA’s weekly stand-up podcast, Put Your Hands Together, and having done her time in Chicago’s Comedy scene, founding Chicago’s open mic night at Cole’s Bar, performing as a cast member of the famed Lincoln Lodge and founding Feminine Comique, a crash course in stand-up comedy exclusively for women, Cameron Esposito is no stranger to being fearless and unapologetically herself. In preparation for recording her upcoming album, Cameron Esposito compiled her best to test on an audience of fans with An Hour With Cameron Esposito on Thursday night at UCB with host, Ian Karmel. If you’re at all like me, a Chicago to Portland to LA transplant, or just someone with ears and a sense of humor, you understand the brilliance of that line-up.
Karmel went from being named Portland’s Funniest Person, to moving to LA, to writing for Chelsea Lately in just under a year, which is surprising to absolutely no one as his natural brand of funny quickly outgrew the borders of his Northwest home. In his short set before Cameron, he noted that he is in fact in a long-distance relationship, even though he looks “like a guy going through a bad breakup,” and described his phone sex voice as “if a trumpet could be Jewish.” With a natural ease, Ian is like hearing an old friend tell you stories about the mall, with the perfect blend of self-deprecating sarcasm. Making sure not to take up too much stage time, “being good-lookin’” he made way for his Chelsea Lately compatriot, Cameron Esposito.
Cameron took the stage and dove right into her self-referential, side-mullet and vest wearing ways, recalling times when audiences unnecessarily pointed out her own lesbianism (“WHAT DO YOU MEAN, IS IT THE VEST?”) before making sure to include the rest of the crowd, “Are there any straight people here? You don’t have to feel weird, this is a safe space.”
As comedy fans, there are countless things that can tickle our funny bone- we can be drawn into the cynical or the nonsensical, but when someone can weave them together to retell a hilariously relatable anecdote, chances are we’re going to find ourselves buckled over in an ‘OMG, that’s totally happened to me’ fit of laughter. And that is exactly what Cameron Esposito did on Thursday night. Having been asked if she ever considered dating men, she responded saying, of course, “because heterosexuality is pervasive.” She noted that her ‘type’ of woman is a “woman in crisis” and that she misses people who look like they eat sausage like in Chicago because “in LA, everyone looks like they eat cigarettes and sad dreams.” Her retelling of her first time at a strip club was one of the best moments of the night, when she likened herself to a prepubescent boy asking, “how much for the butt on my tummy?”
Spilling water all over her set-list but missing her phone in the middle of her set, Cameron noted that “she’s lucky like that,” but she does is a whole lot more than luck. As one of the hardest working and determined voices in comedy, what Esposito does is bigger than just being an amazing comedian. She is quickly becoming a new face for those who are young and funny but also female and queer. She manages to turn the outdated lesbian stereotype on its head, offering in its place a fresh and more accurate representation and, most importantly, she doesn’t avoid being gay for the sake of privacy. Instead, she is 100% proud to be herself. “I feel like it’s very important to talk about the person that I am, and the place that we’re at as a country. And everything that’s happening, it’s very exciting. There’s still work to do… It is our differences that make us better.”
If her goal was to work out some solid material for her album, she was overwhelmingly successful. As a one-hour set, it was smart, poignant and masterfully hilarious. Cameron will be recording said stand-up comedy album for release on Kill Rock Stars on May 30th at Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon.