Comedy Tour Returns Esposito to Her Roots

By Cayli Mitchell

Cameron Esposito is an up and coming comedic powerhouse. She performs small stand up spots on late night talk shows like “The Late Late Show,” “Chelsea Lately” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” She has a TV show on a subscription-based Seeso service titled, “Take My Wife.” On the show, she plays herself and is joined by her wife, Rhea Butcher.

In the “Back to Back” tour, Esposito and Butcher started on July 21 in Seattle, Washington and ended on October 15 in Madison, Wisconsin. I saw them in Chicago on Oct 14 at the Vic Theater.

It was a return to her roots for Chicago-native Esposito but also a complete circle feeling for them as a couple, as the duo first met doing stand up in Chicago. Esposito even said she was the first person to announce Butcher in Chicago during a stand-up night way back when.

They started the show doing a duet stand up piece, going back and forth with each other talking about things they have learned about each other while on the 20 show tour. They quipped back and forth about each other’s fears and habits, keeping the audience laughing and clapping along.

They then split up and did an hour of separate comedy. Butcher went first, she started off with a political jab at racism and kept it light and funny throughout her discussion of her family and life in northern Ohio. She was bright and funny, mostly making fun of herself and her navigating through life as a queer woman. I went to see Esposito and was given an extra bonus with how amazing a comedian Butcher is.

Esposito, the more well-known comedian of the two, had the crowd roaring from beginning to end. Starting her piece with a political stance on President Trump and then talking about life in Chicago, she made fun of her Italian roots when she joked about not being able to part ways with her ex girlfriends. She said,  “they would leave the girlfriend zone and become best friends, but like with all best friends who you’ve seen naked, you need boundaries.” She then went into a joke about flying to New York and living with her ex and her ex’s current girlfriend and the awkwardness that ensued.

She has updated several jokes I have seen before, one that I’ve heard before is about her wanting to have a baby with her wife. I was afraid when she started to talk about babies that I was once again going to hear a joke I’ve seen her deliver on almost all of her stand up spots on TV. But, to my delight, switched it up and made the joke even funnier. Something I didn’t think was possible. Her joke usually talks about since she got married she has found herself wanting to have a child. She usually inserts a joke about being a lesbian and never thinking of actually physically having the child,  they would, “buy one or something.” The updated version now talks about the process of how they are going to “acquire the ingredients” to make a baby.

The two women did incredible work and I think it has a lot to do with their familiarity with each other and with the city of Chicago. I can’t wait until they perform again, side by side. These two give a voice to the queer community I haven’t heard since Ellen Degeneres.

Their jokes spoke about being queer women. They unapologetically make mainly “lesbian” jokes. They made jokes I could completely relate to. I didn’t have to insert the word “wife” instead of “husband” or “she” with “he” like I do when I listen to straight comedians talk about their love lives. It fits into the argument about why I read lesbian novels versus straight novels. It’s about the relationships I have.