Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher are really busy. They’re both stand-up comedians; hosts of weekly stand-up showcase (and podcast) Put Your Hands Together at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles; and co-creators, writers and actors on Take My Wife (the second season of which needs a new home). If that wasn’t enough, Esposito recently launched a new podcast, Queery, the first episode of which Butcher starred in.
And if that wasn’t enough, they’re also married to each other.
Esposito and Butcher will be in Houston on Saturday, Sept. 30 cracking jokes on their Back to Back tour. Houstonia talked to them (and maybe fangirled a little) about their very first bus tour, their many projects, and LGBTQ representation in the media.
You work together all the time and you’re married. Do you ever get sick of each other?
Rhea: We’re sick of each other right now!
Cameron: I mean we can barely be in the same room.
Cameron: It’s extremely challenging, but, you know, I never thought I would have this life, and I chose it because it works for me. I don’t know how we’re not divorced.
Rhea: We’re still on tour, so we can’t get divorced yet.
Speaking of, this is your first cross-country stand-up tour on a bus! How are you feeling about it?
Rhea: I'm really looking forward to it; I think it's going to be a wild challenge and interesting. We've toured a lot together and we've toured this much together before, but it's always been a Wednesday out, Sunday back kind of a thing, driving together. So this is our first time on a bus, and I was just informed that it has a full-sized bed, so that’s even more interesting!
Cameron: Yeah, you know how rock stars travel? Just like that.
How do you think this tour will compare to your last one?
Cameron: The big change here is there's this dude who owns a bunch of hotels who's currently spending half of his time, or less than half of his time, living in the White House, so that's a pretty big change. I'm very curious to see really how everybody is doing. This has been such a wild couple of months, and we're all sort of accessing each other through social media or the news. But we are in this unique position to go to different cities and talk to people. I am really excited to do that right now—clearly this is a time of great stress for everybody living in the U.S.
Yeah, the last time you went on tour it was for Marriage Material. That was a couple of years ago, and things have changed a lot since then. How is your material going to reflect that?
Cameron: I'm 35, and for people my age or younger or maybe even 10 years older—I don't know why I thought this—but I really thought that we were on this path going one direction in terms of social progress. I thought things were getting a little bit better all the time. I didn’t think things were perfect, but I thought that we were all agreeing that I could get married, a black man could be president. I thought this march was happening, and now we’re in a moment where that’s being disproven. And that feels really wild to me. I guess I didn’t feel like I didn’t know myself or how change happens at all, and I think a lot of people are feeling that way. That’s enormously impactful as an artist, when you realize that something you thought was true, and it’s not true. Your whole job as a stand-up comic is to point to truth, so we’re just living very different truths right now. Everything is different.
Rhea, you recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times about marriage equality activist Edie Windsor, who died recently. Do you want to write more in the future?
Rhea: It was an absolute honor to get to do that. I mean, I can’t believe I got to meet her to begin with for 30 seconds. It was pretty amazing, and then to get to write that for the New York Times is pretty wild. It’s just awesome. I would love to keep writing, because I think we need more perspectives and different types of people talking about their lives. I like reading about other people’s stories and finding myself in those, so I’d like to put more stories out so people can find themselves in them.
Something that’s been really awesome about the viral push of trying to get season 2 of Take My Wife out there is hearing from so many people and their experience of watching the show, and realizing that they didn’t know something they were missing until they saw it. And also, some people were reaching out to me specifically saying, they finally could cut their hair shorter and wear more masculine clothes and they saw me doing it. I had those things in my life, however small, and it helped me feel a little less alone, so it’s an honor to get to help other people feel a little less alone.
How does it feel to be at the forefront of LGBTQ representation in comedy and on TV?
Rhea: It’s hard to know that without being told that, because I’m just a person who’s behind on their laundry, you know? But I’ve always wanted to set a good example, or an example, because we don’t have that many in the LGBTQ community. We’ve got more every day, and it’s an honor to be a part of it. It’s great to be able to give back.
Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher: Back to Back at 7 p.m., Saturday, September 30, Warehouse Live, 813 Saint Emanuel St. Tickets are free; advance ticket buyers will be treated with a VIP experience that includes a Q&A session with Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher, an autographed pack of tour-branded buttons, and a photograph with Cameron and Rhea. RSVP for tickets here.