The stand-up charges into confrontational, taboo territory and makes no apologies. Info/tix
Cameron Esposito has successfully brought LGBTQ+ triumphs and trials to the mainstream in a multitude of mediums. She stars in her own show with her real-life wife and fellow comedian Rhea Butcher on Take My Wife, hosts the Queery podcast where she interviews LGBTQ+ icons like Roxane Gay and Milwaukee-native drag queen Trixie Mattel, and has released a collection of essays—all in addition to the stand-up career she first gained notoriety for.
Esposito’s latest stand-up special, Rape Jokes, was released for free on her website this June, with donations going to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. As the title suggests, Esposito charges immediately into confrontational territory, starting with the current political landscape: “This is just me. I feel, just me… that every moment of the current administration is a living nightmare!” And she goes on, “I’m a survivor of sexual assault, and I don’t like that he brags about assaulting people! I just think that’s weird! I think he’s a weird guy!” Esposito’s direct rebuke of the Trump administration is hilarious in its directness. With incredible simplicity, she lays out a political problem that often seems complex: there’s a bad person making bad choices.
As she smoothly transitions into anti-political-correctness, Esposito’s bubbling optimism is wielded like a weapon to taunt people in power or who think the #MeToo era has gone too far. With plenty of detailed asides, the hour-long show mainly tells the story of her survival of sexual assault at the hands of a boy she was dating, along with her experience of coming out at a Catholic college where she had to keep her identity a secret. She finds comedy in the absurdity of awkward situations created by a stringent society, but lingers on serious notes like straight allyship and the difficulty of recognizing trauma has happened to you. Her boisterous energy and literal yelling help her to wade confidently into the topics we are only beginning to discuss openly. —Reid Kurkerewicz