Comedian Cameron Esposito’s stand-up ascendancy began in earnest after a debut set on “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” in 2013, where guest Jay Leno dubbed her “the future of comedy.”
Esposito’s standup is refreshing for its honest focus on identity, gender politics, and sexuality. Her confidence allows for quick turns to self-effacement (from the third track on “Same Sex Symbol”: “I am so happy with where I am in my life. Just finally, my look’s sorted out, my gender is reflected to you accurately. My gender being ‘fighter pilot’”) and even quicker surges of volume (“As you can tell by my haircut, I am a Thundercat. And also a GIANT LESBIAN. Of course I am, OF COURSE I AM.”).
Esposito’s career has only grown in the last year, and for her, the future is now. In 2014, the website Consequence of Sound named her their comedian of the year, describing her as someone “whose work stems from a place of joy instead of bitterness, who is clever and edgy without being overly cynical.” That same year, she released her second album, “Same Sex Symbol,” and began a year-long column for the pop-culture website The A.V. Club called “Who in the World is Cameron Esposito,” where she mused on building jokes, coming out, navigating L.A.’s comedy scene, and answering the same old questions from the press. She’s also a frequent podcaster, hosting both “Put Your Hands Together,” a stand-up showcase recorded at the UCB Theatre in L.A., and “Wham Bam Pow,” a roundtable discussion of action and sci-fi movie news.
When she’s not doing all that, she’s touring, most recently with her partner and fellow comedian Rhea Butcher. Her next stop is Portsmouth, where she’ll appear at 3S Artspace on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The Sound caught up with Esposito by email to talk about meals, dream film roles, and a request for restaurant recommendations.
How has your tour been so far? Any memorable meals?
We had an early-ish show in San Francisco and actually got to go out to dinner afterward, which was such a treat. We had an awesome meal at a place called Nopa that reserved a special table for us and everything. The point: Invite us to your restaurants, Portsmouth! We want to eat snazzy food.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one joke, what joke would you bring?
This new thing I wrote a few weeks ago — I WON’T TELL YOU IT NOW BUT BOY OH BOY IT’S A DOOZY.
Say someone comes to your show having never heard your comedy, or any comedy at all. What do you say to that person?
I’m so sad that you were living such a terrible life. Please, come in here and have your world changed.
When you appeared on “Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail,” your audience received doughnuts. Will there be surprise concessions at your Portsmouth show?
Yes! There will be doughnuts taped under everyone’s chairs!
What is one question you wished more members of the press asked? Or, do you have a stock answer for a question never asked?
What’s the best film adaptation of a musical? “Cabaret.” 1972. Bob Fosse. It’s perfect.
What is exciting about comedy in 2015? What keeps you optimistic?
It’s the wild west right now! Podcasts! New networks! Web series! Anything can happen and there are no guarantees.
What is your dream role in an as-yet unmade action/sci-fi feature film?
I play Uma Thurman, Linda Hamilton, and Sigourney Weaver’s best friend in a documentary called “Cameron Esposito is Real Life Best Friends with Uma, Linda and Sigourney.”
Is there anything you’d like to say to Portsmouth before your arrival? Anything you’d like us to bring to the show?
I know nothing about you, Portsmouth! Please bring us local flair — like whatever you guys are known for, be it ports or mouths.
Cameron Esposito performs Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. at 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St., Portsmouth. Tickets are $20, available at 3sarts.org or 603-766-3330.