A Stand-Up Gal

Linda Holmes calls Cameron Esposito’s new comedy album, Same Sex Symbol, “raunchy and sharp, insightful and very funny”:

What comes through in the record throughout is a particular point of view in which people who believe lesbian pornography represents actual lesbians, or people who believe that they’re looking for threesomes, or people who otherwise fail to understand the basics of her life, are sort of amusing and clueless weirdos she can finally see clearly because, as she explains: “I am so happy with where I am in my life. Just finally, my look sorted out, you know, my gender reflected to you accurately — my gender being ‘fighter pilot.'” And even though “fighter pilot” is a punch line, there’s no punch line to the underlying idea that she is happy. That part is true. It’s not all that common for comedy to come from a place of settled satisfaction with where you’ve ended up, and from the clash between that feeling and the constant expectation of others that you are somehow unsettled by their disapproving or just ignorant gaze.

In an interview, Esposito shares how she got comfortable incorporating more of her personal life into her routines:

When I was starting I was really just figuring how to be out as a person and how to be in the world and be gay because I came from a really conservative, Catholic background. So when I first starting doing standup, part of it was because I wanted to be onstage talking about the person I am. I couldn’t do that yet, so my jokes were more surreal, they were more superficial in some ways, and now I feel like, through standup, I’ve figured out how to talk about myself in a way that makes me more comfortable.

And now I’m just totally chill and it’s a lot easier, and sometimes people are like “Do you always talk about your sexuality onstage?” And I’m like, “No, I just always talk about myself the same way that any comic does.” So the natural evolution of that is that I’m just trying to get closer and closer to what I really am. That’s what people are interested in. The more specific you can be, the more universal it is. If you speak in broad strokes you miss everybody but if you’re like “Are you ever terrified of this thing?” even if they’re not terrified of that thing they still know terror. That’s what makes us people.