Happy October 3rd, y’all! Not only is it my nephew’s birthday (HBD, buddy!!) and Mean Girls’ Day, it’s also what my friends and family lovingly refer to as my Camiversary.
Last year on this date, I had the great honour of opening for Cameron Esposito at the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. Cameron is not just an incredible comic, writer, and queer icon; she is also one of the kindest people I have ever met. She used her last special, “Rape Jokes,” to raise over $75 k for RAINN — the United States’ largest anti-sexual violence organization. In addition to hosting her podcast “Queery” and writing poignant, insightful articles for the New York Times, she has also guest starred on “Brooklyn 99,” written and co-starred in her own television show “Take My Wife,” and written a book that comes out in March 2020 called “Save Yourself” (which is available for pre-order here (If you’re not hyperlink savvy, I’ve spelled it out for you: https://www.grandcentralpublishing.com/titles/cameron-esposito/save-yourself/9781455591435/)
In a nutshell, she is busy killing the game. On her “Person of Consequence” Tour last year, she did the world yet another kindness by hand-picking local comics to feature for her in each city. Get you a real life comic hero who gives back more than Bruce Wayne. I could not believe my own life when I got the email that I had been selected to open for her. I waited a few weeks to make sure they didn’t recall it and send a “This has been a hilarious mix up” email, and then promptly told everyone I’ve ever met. Because Cameron Esposito is one of the best comics out there, so many of my Pittsburgh pals already had their tickets to see her and the show sold out the very lovely Rex Theater in Pittsburgh’s South Side.
I was nervously waiting in the green room when Cameron arrived. She was instantly warm and friendly. She astutely noticed that Pittsburgh is perhaps a hidden but ridiculously beautiful gem. It really is. (www.visitpittsburgh.com) Cameron brought me up to the stage with a Voice-of-God mic and I got to do 20 minutes of material before bringing her up (honoured!) and running to the back of the venue to watch her masterfully work out an hour. During the show, a member of the audience had a medical emergency and Cameron stopped everything to make sure that person got the medical attention they needed. Like a pilot deftly making an unexpected yet smooth landing, she made sure the rest of the audience remained seated, respectful, and quiet while a doctor and a nurse in the audience did their thing. Once she was sure everything was okay, she maintained the respectful silence of what just happened before expertly getting the audience back to a place of laughter. It was such a learning experience.
After the show, she went to the lobby and took countless photos with the audience. Later, from the green room, she texted me to come up and say goodbye (NBD! — just kidding, I died) and asked me if I was free to feature for her again the following night at The Comedy Zone in Harrisburg, PA. Yet again, dead again. It was my first ever road show! Eek! I was buzzing with excitement the whole drive to Harrisburg. At the hotel, Cameron asked me if I wanted to ride over to the venue with her because she’s straight up the sweetest. Being an earth-loving, Cameron Esposito fan, that was one carpool I could not resist. We had hilarious adventures at The Comedy Zone and, once again, I learned so much from Cameron. When they asked her who was in charge, she confidently said “I am.” #whoruntheworldgirls
She was gracious, kind, and professional when speaking with the staff while making sure we got everything we needed. She refused to let me go on stage with a wireless mic (thanks again!) and once again watched me do my set. As someone who had been doing comedy for 2+ years at the time, there was no greater education than seeing a professional, nationally touring comedian work out an hour for two nights in a row. The whole experience was like being an in episode of Oprah’s Masterclass. Once again, she stayed to meet every fan and take countless pictures. She’s a proper legend. After her legions of adoring fans had left, we went out for a bite and she gave me tons of incredibly priceless stand up advice and told me not to be afraid to be in touch. The next morning, I woke to a frenzy of texted screenshots on my phone, as the one and only Cameron Esposito had tweeted an adorable picture of us with a very kind caption. Such a generous and sweet thing to do. I’m telling you, she’s the best. Don’t forget to pre-order her book.