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Here at Off the Cuff we’re used to comedians beating us to the punch with jokes, but Cameron Esposito even beat us to our own questions! Considering the fact that she’ll soon be performing as part of the Lipshtick Comedy Series at the Venetian in Las Vegas, we wondered if she felt more camaraderie or competition being in an all-female lineup — and whether that kind of question is even asked of men. But before we could even get it out, Esposito jumped right to the heart of the matter.
“It’s the Wild West in the entertainment industry, and for stand-ups as well” she says when discussing all the various mediums (hosting comedy shows at UCB, doing podcasts, recording albums, writing books) that she relies on to get her particular brand across to audiences.
“There’s just a million different ways that you put your thing out there, and so having a central brand or entity that you are, that’s how you figure out how to plug in to those things.”
She points to her so-called “side mullet,” in which only the right side of her hair is long.
“So — this haircut,” she offers as example. “This haircut gets hired a lot!”
When we ask if she thinks there’s more pressure for women comics to brand themselves than men, she disagrees.
“I think if you’re a straight dude you have to really figure out what your thing is,” she says. “Not that I think I’m perfectly described by ‘gay’ and ‘woman’ but I do think that if you see me on a lineup I’ll stand out because I’m not performing with other gay women.”
Esposito tells us what it’s like dating — and now being engaged to — another gay woman comedian, Rhea Butcher, after never having dated someone in the same profession before.
“I never thought I would end up with another comic, ever in a million years,” she insists, though she’s now grateful for the commonality since “being a lesbian stand-up is so specific.”
In this episode we also discuss how social media has weakened public anonymity even for her (she mentions that a recent story of Lady Gaga going to Wholefoods with bodyguards “makes so much sense to me”), how growing up “a little gay kid and feeling awkward as a child” created a lifelong need to distract people with entertainment (“That is what’s awesome about stand-up, is that I tricked myself into having a social career”) and why she is, all jokes aside, truly Ready for Hillary.
“I don’t have a problem with pandering if what’s being pandered to is not fear,” she explains when we ask her opinion of Hillary Clinton‘s campaign announcement video, which depicts a myriad of ages, races and sexual orientations.
“That video is like, ‘All of these people could be chill with each other!'”
Now there’s a brand we can all get behind.
Listen to Esposito’s full interview in this episode of Off the Cuff, and be sure to subscribe to #THRpodcasts on iTunes for all the latest episodes.
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