Cameron Esposito's comedy can be self-deprecating. However, she is never self-compromising, never afraid to speak her truth on stage and off.
The costar of the hilarious new show Take My Wife, available on the new internet streaming service Seeso, will be in Indianapolis at the White Rabbit Cabaret in Fountain Square on August 26 for two shows. The Indianapolis venue will be one of a handful of stops on this Midwestern mini-tour, thanks to the Fort Wayne-based booking agency, Let's Comedy!
Esposito co-created Take My Wife with her wife Rhea Butcher. Butcher plays "Rhea," a full-time graphic designer, part-time comic still finding her voice, while Esposito's character is "Cameron," a more established comic who typically eats alone.
Esposito says she enjoyed the process of bringing the show to life, but stand-up is where she began.
"Stand-up is how I first wanted to connect with the world," she says. "It took like six months with sporadic performing to make the show, which is the longest break I've taken in 10 years. ... It is a language and a way of interacting. It sounds cheesy, but I cherish it. It gives me a wonderful feeling. ... When you can have live feedback and connect with people, it's different. On set, you still connect with costars and the director and the writers, but the rush of walking on stage in front of 50 or 500 or 5,000 people is unparalleled."
That's not to say the life of a comic isn't a grind.
"Acting and writing for TV and movies are great things to do, because this life is challenging with all the travel," says Esposito. "Number one, you eventually run out of cities, but also hotel rooms and planes are demoralizing after a while. So it's nice to stay at home and be near your home and in your own bed with your wife."
She adds that her show in Indianapolis will also have new material — so new she was still working on it as of the interview for this story in early August.
Since recording a special last year, she has started over. "This is the beginning of something brand new and I don't know what it will be like, which is exciting," says Esposito. "... The way I've built stuff is to just get up on stage and talk and also listen. It doesn't mean yelling. And I find that some things just emerge over time. It's like a stone in a river sort of thing ... if that makes sense."
She does know it will include current events, such as the upcoming presidential election.
"I've always kept it pretty current; I write new material frequently," she says. "Right now, we are all experiencing something that, at least in my lifetime, is an unprecedented election season. I don't know anything to compare this to. Not that it'll be all election jokes, but the things that have been brought up when we interact with each other, everything right now seems to be at a boiling point."
Esposito is an avid poster on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. "Social media is convincing us that every moment is super intense," she says. "If you look at the entire world all the time, we just need to know about everything, and now we can find out about everything as it happens live. We're all always processing the news. ... "I think it's really just we are processing having access to each others opinions. Not just op-eds in The New York Times or the news in the local newspaper, but how does everyone in the world feel at this exact moment, and it's a lot."
Following a successful show at the Tiger Room in Fort Wayne last summer, co-founder of Let's Comedy! Ryan Ehle says he is looking forward to seeing Esposito live again.
"She definitely has her own style," says Ehle. "She takes you on a walk with her. You feel like you get to know her that very first time. You're a better person after sharing her experiences. I love how she talks about her past and transformation of finding herself. I know comedians are self-deprecating, but she really lets you have every detail, no matter how embarrassing.
"She's also hilarious," he says. "She represents the LGBTQ community very well, and she's not pandering. She's a real hero; she brings people together as a positive force. She's also tough enough to push back if she needs to. She'll break you down so fast if you deserve it."