Cameron Esposito didn't plan on becoming a cultural figure.
The Chicago native set out to be a comedian first and foremost, and she's been pretty successful at it. After gaining notoriety as a regular member of the Chelsea Lately roundtable, she had memorable appearances on late-night talk shows like Conan and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. But around the end of last year, things began to really take off.
Her album Same Sex Symbol came out in December and was met with huge praise from both fans and critics alike. In addition, she began starring in a fantastic video series for BuzzFeed, called "Ask a Lesbian," giving viewers honest, funny insights into lesbianism. Now she's inked a deal to write her memoirs, has become a regular contributor for publications like the AV Club, and headlines clubs all across the country.
This week, she'll return to Acme Comedy Co. for one show only. Before her quick trip to Minnesota, we talked with Esposito about constantly feeling pressure to do more, never running out of material, and why she gets bored of listening to herself talk.
How does it feel to be headlining Acme just over a year after you were there as a feature?
It's great. It's a big change, but honestly I don't really think about it. I get used to things really quickly. But I love that club. I remember when I was there last year your new mayor [Betsy Hodges] had just won the election, and she was in the crowd. She just looked so cool in her Lisa Loeb glasses, and I remember thinking that any city where the mayor is coming to see live comedy has to be awesome. If she reads this, I'd like to formally invite her to come back to the show this week.
Your last album just came out back in December of last year, but you're always pushing out new material online. Do you feel more pressure to constantly be working?
The world right now as a standup is exhausting. I never feel like I've done enough. I'll wake up some days and feel like I've been useless, but then I'll look back on the past week and see that I did something new every day. The internet changed everything, and so now there's this pressure to do everything. It's very cool, but it's also very strange. I feel like it can be harder to convince myself to keep writing, because everything is public now. Instead of doing open mics for years and years, you can make YouTube videos all day and suddenly at 18 years old you emerge into comedy like a butterfly.
With everything you do online, like podcasts and videos, do you ever worry that you'll run out of material for the stage?
I'll never run out of material, because I talk about my experiences and my opinions, which are always going to be there. The other thing is that sometimes I'll state my opinions on certain topics over and over, and I'll feel like they're really cemented, and then I'll say them somewhere else and realize that not everyone sees or hears everything. To be honest, I'm moderately bored of myself. That's why I like acting and I'm working on doing more of that, because you get to be funny and say someone else's words instead of hearing your own over and over.
You also do a lot of writing these days. Is that something you're enjoying as well?
I really like doing it. The thing is I grew up reading, not watching standup. What I like about the writing I'm doing for the AV Club or some of the guest columns I've been able to do is that I can speak on my own behalf and sometimes reach a whole new audience that might not be familiar with me from comedy.
So is that where you'd like to see your career end up eventually?
I love doing standup and don't see that ending, but I would really like to try and take some of my writing experience and transition that to other publications. I think it would be so cool to write an op-ed for the New York Times or something like that. The thing is that I've kind of started to realize that I've become sort of this cultural figure, which is definitely not something I ever planned. But now that it's happening I want to continue to share my viewpoint in my own voice through whatever outlets are available to me.
IF YOU GO:
Acme Comedy Co.
Tuesday, May 5
8 p.m., $20