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  WINDY CITY TIMES

COMEDY Cameron Esposito's latest 'Grab'
Extended for the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Micki Leventhal
2009-12-02

This article shared 3794 times since Wed Dec 2, 2009
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Cameron Esposito, the rare full-time, out queer comic currently working in Chicago, has been enjoying a growing popularity with local audiences for the past three years.

( In June, she was named one of Windy City Times' 30 under 30. ) Having just returned from touring with El Circo Cheapo, the smart, energetic 28-year-old is now doing five to seven shows a week, teaching stand-up to aspiring female comics and working part-time as a nanny.

Her latest accomplishment is a contract with Rooftop Comedy Records. Grab Them Aghast will be recorded live at Lincoln Lodge, 4008 N. Lincoln, Dec. 3-4, and Esposito hopes that the place is packed with fans, old and new. The album is scheduled for a February release and will be available on iTunes.

Esposito is not an Angry Comic; she prefers to shine a light on "the intricacies and interactions of daily life" and her humor is absurdist rather than overtly political. "I think of myself as a slippery activist. You can't necessarily tag what I'm doing—being present and challenging people's assumptions," she said. "I'm very comfortable being out. My sexuality is a given, simply part of who I am. I am attracted to women and I'm going to be with women and crazy stuff will happen. I work to put the audience into my perspective, welcome them in. My experiences and stories are insane, but not simply because they are between two women. Being gay is the premise, not the punch line of my comedy."

She writes all her own material, drawing on her experiences as a "gay lady" or "queer," stage monikers she chooses over "lesbian," considering that label a bit old-school and perhaps boundary setting. "If you use the term 'lesbian' in a predominantly straight room—and most rooms are predominantly straight—it becomes the focal point," Esposito said. "Some gay comics only work gay rooms. Being part of the mainstream comedy scene, you're in a situation that is mostly heteronormative and mostly men. I need to live in the middle, career-wise."

Esposito grew up in the Chicago suburb of Western Springs in a conservative Catholic family. "I did not get messages of hate or disgust," she said; she simply was unaware of the existence of "gay people." "I dated men because that was what was supposed to happen," Esposito said. "I had dreams about women and really close relationships, but I was not very self-aware and did not see myself for a very long time." In fact, she was quite religious. "I was an outspoken advocate of abstinence," she said with a laugh. "Realizing that I was queer at that point would have been like discovering I was, say, a leprechaun. There were just no examples of this in my life."

It wasn't until she was at Boston College working on a double major in English and theology ( with a minor in Faith, Peace and Justice ) that Esposito realized she was sexually attracted to women. "The first time I kissed a woman was one of the most pivotal moments of my life," she said. "I stepped out of my body for a moment—or maybe inside my body."

After college she worked the Boston comedy scene as an improviser, returning to Chicago to get training in stand up at Second City Conservatory while pursuing a master's degree in social work at the University of Chicago. Six months into the plan she realized she needed to just dive in and bring what she'd been studying—human nature and human values—to the stage. She considers herself an essentially serious person who looks at the silliness in life. Her snarky delivery is tempered by a tenderness that she attributes to "the gift of being a woman. I am certainly hip and in-your-face, yet I'm also here finding bizarre, absurdist reasons for loving people."

You can find many reasons to love Cameron Esposito at The Lincoln Lodge, 4008 N. Lincoln, Thursday-Friday, Dec. 3-4. Shows begin at 9 p.m. Also on the bill each night are glass walker Dizzy Lizzy Delicious and the Dead Superheroes Orchestra; local comic Adam Burke is hosting. Tickets are $10; call 773-251-1539 or visit www.thelincolnlodge.com .


This article shared 3794 times since Wed Dec 2, 2009
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