Cameron Esposito is an up and coming comedic star. Don’t believe the hype? Ask Jay Leno, who definitely agrees. Esposito was on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson when Craig and Jay interrupted her set and Jay yelled, “Lesbians Rule!” We at Fop think that that is one hell of an endorsement. So, we had to ask what Esposito herself thought about it.
Fop: How did you get into comedy?
CE: I was just doing improv while attending college in Boston, and auditioned for and landed my first professional improv gig the day after I graduated. I worked there for a few years. Then moved back to my hometown Chicago, where I started doing stand-up.
Fop: In your podcast you mentioned you’re not funny. Do you really believe that?
CE: Hmm . . . I cannot imagine I would have even said that. Can I get a time stamp? I mean, I think I'm hilarious. Every comic does.
Fop: How do you come up with your sets?
CE: It's really about training your brain to see and process the world around you in jokes. It's a language that you can learn — you even start to dream in jokes. Personally, I jot down thoughts and concepts throughout the day, and then test them out on stage as soon as possible. Some comics are different and prefer to have everything flushed out before they hit the stage. I like to work on my feet, and then refine, refine, refine until a joke works really well.
Fop: Sometimes your style seems more conversational than driven by landing punch lines one after the other. How would you describe your comedy?
CE: That's exactly what I think. I am in the moment, working things when I host Put Your Hands Together. My static act (the things I take on the road for full headlining sets) is very precise. But when I'm hosting, I prefer to keep it easy and low pressure and fluid.
Fop: What was it like coming out?
CE: Well, I came out in Boston. It wasn't awesome. I worried about my future for a very long time. I worried I wouldn't be happy or healthy or stable. That's one of the reasons I choose to talk so openly about my life in my stand-up. I know there are still gay folks out there who are struggling, and there are still minds to change on the subject of equality.
Fop: How much is your sexuality a part of your comedy?
CE: The same amount that it is a part of any comic's, which is completely. By which I mean, I certainly talk about a wide variety of topics but I'm always gay. So, it's not that I hammer home sexuality; it's that it's me talking and I'm always speaking from my particular vantage point.
Fop: How has comedy changed your life?
CE: It is my life. Career, friends, travel — they all center around my being a stand-up comedian. And, it is my preferred connection to the world. I am very outspoken onstage and very friendly offstage, but I can be a bit shy. Standup has provided me with a lovely means of social interaction and a way to organize my mind.
Fop: Who are some of your comic idols and why?
CE: Maria Bamford is honest and raw and loving. Anthony Jeselnik is precise and whip smart. Kurt Braunohler is creative and enormously energetic. Please do check out their stand-up.
Fop: After being on Craig Ferguson and Chelsea Lately what's next for you?
CE: I have a small guest spot on this season’s Maron, I’m working to develop a television show, and I'll have a new album out on the Kill Rock Stars label in October.
Fop: Your hand seems to be in everything from writing to stand-up to podcasting. How do you find the time to do it all? I'm sure there is a joke in this somewhere.
CE: Ha! Well I'm very panicked all the time and have a hard time sleeping. My bigger problem is finding time to not work, and I'm awful at that.
Fop: Is there anything that is just off limits when you are doing stand-up?
CE: Cruelty for cruelty's sake.
Fop: Who was your first girl crush?
CE: Mary Stuart Masterson, frying those green tomatoes.
Fop: Is your family supportive of your career?
CE: Yes, they really are. Hi, Mom and Dad!