The Rapidian

Cameron Esposito joins LaughFest 2018 to talk about the importance of honest conversation and laughter

"I don't think we have gotten to a place where we can talk about community as it really is." Cameron Esposito talks about community.

Cameron Esposito at The Pyramid Scheme

March 15 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

March 16 at 7:30p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Tickets here.

Cameron Esposito is a stand up comedian known for her strong political stances including the rights for LGBTQ+ individuals, for working alongside her wife, Rhea Butcher, and bringing unique views that stretch and expand minds all across the nation.

Being from Illinois, how has the midwest influenced your comedy?

Cameron Esposito: Chicago is a great place to do stand up. It's a big city and there are so many audience members to get in front of. People love getting out of their house and supporting arts or sports. I guess that's a function of surviving the midwest winters (laughs). Job diversity creates interest as to what people in the arts are doing. Also, there's not a lot of industry there which is a positive because as a young comic you are protected.

Tell me about your show in Grand Rapids a few years ago for LaughFest.

CE: When I was there, I was a part of a portion of the festival that was a competition. Younger comics would go up and the audience voted on who they liked the best. What I didn't realize about Grand Rapids was that right outside the city, it's pretty rural. There's more agriculture, which is true for many midwestern cities. For instance, I'm very strong on my muse about gun control legislation. So [during that show] I was probably performing for an audience that were sport hunters. I remember something like that coming up. It was a very mixed audience. It was a showcase so it's not like everyone was there to see me. But I won the competition. And this audience was mixed in terms of people that live in Michigan, and drove into GR from more rural areas. We might have had different views on some political topics. And I still won. Because number one I'm good at my job (laughs) and number two I am from that so I understand. I am trying to change peoples minds about the things that I believe are true. That’s kind of what all comics are doing. [The showcase] was a fun and gratifying experience.

You are a very strong spokesperson in the LGBTQ+ community. What is your experience traveling and touring to different places with that being your forefront?

CE: What I know about traveling, as much as I do for work, is that there’s definitely a simplification happening around where people on every part of the sexuality/gender/political spectrum live and what we do. I think there’s this narrative that we are coastal elites. I know that’s not true for me, that’s not where I grew up. I play small midwestern towns, and from the east coast to the south, where I think people would assume everyone votes a certain way. That’s just not true. And also that voting a certain way denotes who you know. I think we haven’t fully gotten to a place where we are talking about community as it really is.

What do you find inspires you the most?

CE: I do what I do because I love the entertainment arts. I love movies, music, television, live performance. I was a TV kid. I am really in the right field because I consume as much as I make in terms of listening to music and watching action movies. I watch everything and I love it.

How do you create your material for stand up?

CE: I just walk through my day, and after you’ve been doing it for a while, it’s what I’m constantly thinking about. I guess you just have to be an observant and hyper vigilant person to be doing this job in general. I think it’s a certain personality type and brain processing style where you can train yourself to do it naturally. Also, knowing what’s going on around you.

Do you have any general messages for the midwest, LGBTQ+ community, or anyone afraid to be themselves?

CE: That’s such a nice question. First off, I just hope that, for Grand Rapids, that every type of person would come to the show because we are in this moment right now where there’s so much tension and we just need to be in more rooms together. That’s what I would say. We should be in more rooms together and we should be laughing. So I hope to see every type of person.

Catch Cameron Esposito at The Pyramid Scheme on March 15 and 16.

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