Here’s one way to know you’re on the cusp of stardom: Jay Leno calls you “the future” of comedy. Which is what happened to Cameron Esposito. Besides hosting the podcast Put Your Hands Together at Upright Citizens Brigade on Franklin every Tuesday, the Chicago-born comedian is on an 18-city tour promoting her sophomore comedy album, Same Sex Symbol. Her workload is only expanding. This month Esposito and her wife, Rhea Butcher, appear in Take My Wife, an original show for the comedy streaming service Seeso (launching January 7). The two play a married couple who spin their home life into stand-up material (oh so meta, considering Butcher cohosts Put Your Hands Together). Just as they do in real life, their characters live in northeast L.A. “There will be some scripted aspects and some parts where we perform,” Esposito says. “We’ve got this nouveau-vaudeville thing going on—it’s a very old form, but we have very new haircuts.” We asked Esposito about denim dreams, burrito realities, and who else could pull off her trademark side mullet.
Which L.A. comedians, dead or alive, would be on your ideal set list?
Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, the Rock, and me. I think the Rock would be great if he tried stand-up. But he’d have to work at it for 10 to 15 years because nobody gets any breaks. Sorry, Dwayne, good luck.
L.A. clothing trend you wish came in denim?
Three-piece suits. Only Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears have ever tried to do denim formalwear. It’s ready for a comeback.
You really love burritos, right? I read that about you.
I don’t know where you read that, but it was probably in my diary.
Would you pick deep-dish pizza from Chicago’s Pequod’s or burritos from L.A.’s Machos Tacos?
Deep-dish pizza is garbage. I don’t stand by it. I like Chicago-style thin-crust pizza that is square-cut—shout-out to D’Agostino’s. And furthermore, burritos are delicious.
Name for your late-night show that would never be network approved?
Givin’ It to Ya Tonight with Cameron Esposito!
L.A. standup comedy crush?
Jokes wise? Maria Bamford. Also, tie: Sarah Silverman. They have the best jokes in the biz.
Which is more dangerous: Terminator’s Skynet or being a woman on the Internet?
Men’s rights activists are Skynet. It’s already happened. The machines have taken over.
Sci-fi character you’d like to see with a side mullet?
Sigourney Weaver in Alien. I feel like she’d be repping hard.
What decade of Los Angeles would you teleport to?
’50s, because best chairs and coffee tables. I feel like everything in L.A. is trying to look like then. I just want to walk around and look at those tables and put my coffee on them.
Least funny thing about L.A.?
People who park on the sidewalk. Stop it!
Do people actually do that in your neighborhood?
Yes. 100 percent. Constantly.
Whose line is it, anyway?
Probably the Fat Jew’s. It’s not his line, but he’s definitely telling you it is.
Dream Angeleno who would write the foreword to your book?
Angelina. I want her to write a long thing about how I was really formative in her discovery of her sexuality. I feel like it’s high time she finally was honest with herself.
Part of L.A. you miss most while on tour?
Griffith Park. I hike every day, and my tiny dog goes with me. He weighs seven pounds, which is the same amount as one slice of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.