Our Lives Online

For Comedian Cameron Esposito, the Internet is a Laughing Matter

Cameron Esosito

If you can’t find her work on the internet, your WiFi might be broken.

Few comedians embrace today’s technology at the intersection of storytelling and humor as well as Cameron Esposito. The L.A.-based comic writes an autobiographical online column on A.V. Club, hosts two podcasts (a comedy showcase called Put Your Hands Together and Wham Bam Pow, which critiques and caricatures action/sci-fi films) and “Ask a Lesbian,” a BuzzFeed video series — all while touring the country to promote her album “Same Sex Symbol.”

Given comedy’s popularity throughout digital and social channels, online video series, podcasts and simple tweets have turned into important launching pads for comedians trying to connect with larger audiences without relying exclusively on tiring and tedious tours.

microphone stand

In a recent column, Esposito wrote that storytelling has always been the center of how people communicate, whether we’re talking about biblical times or today’s landscape of Netflix streams and viral videos.

”It’s most of what we spend our time on this planet doing and the reason so many folks spend their Sundays with Netflix or the Bible,” she wrote. “We want to hear stories.”

And while scripture of the past took a more serious tone, modern media increasingly relies on humor as a universal language driving connections, from crowd-sourced memes to parody clips to silly cyber-slang.

Following our recent interview with fellow rising comic Marissa Ross, iQ asked Esposito about technology’s impact on her career, how Hollywood struggles to dramatize computers, as well as some simple hairstyling tips.

When did you first decide to pursue comedy?

I got my start doing improv in college and worked in improv professionally during my early twenties. Then I found standup, and it’s been standup ever since.

How would you describe your approach to comedy? More importantly, how would you describe your approach to hairstyling?

Comedy: total honesty. Hairstyling: lots of product.

What’s your favorite/proudest moment in your career so far?

The first time I appeared on network television to do a set on Late Late [Show] with Craig Ferguson is a moment I will never forget. Walking out of those curtains, I knew for the first time that I had a chance at a career in comedy.

What role has technology and social media played in your career?

It’s the Wild West in comedy right now, and that’s a good thing. Before, comics had to wait for television execs for every bit of forward progress; now, thanks to podcasting, web columns and web series, we can grow our own fan-bases and more directly control our own content. I’m enormously grateful to be working in comedy today.

On a recent episode of Wham Bam Pow, you mentioned​ how movies like Blackhat struggle with dramatizing our use of computers. Do you have any other favorite examples of absurdly inaccurate computer scenes from movies?

It’s hilariously difficult to make computers seem interesting or sinister on screen. In reality, computers are scary and smart and intense. But you’d never know it watching Hackers or Ghost or literally any episodes of any version of Law and Order.

Given your A.V. Club column, two podcasts, BuzzFeed video series, and performance schedule, how do you manage it all and what is a typical day like for you?

There is no typical day really. I get up early — between 5 and 7 a.m. — depending on travel or whatever else the day holds, and work until mid-afternoon. Because I also work at night doing standup, I try to make sure I have an hour or two in the afternoon to exercise, walk around my neighborhood or chat with my fiancée.

How would you describe your A.V. Club column to someone who’s never read it before?

It’s broadly about being a standup comic and the experiences all comics have and specifically about being a gay, female comic and a gay, female person in the world. I’m proud of it.

How did your your BuzzFeed series, “Ask a Lesbian,” come about?

Keith Habersberger, who directed the series, literally stopped me on the street to ask if I’d ever be interested in working with BuzzFeed. I pitched him the series idea and we went from there. (Side note: Keith knew who I was. BuzzFeed doesn’t just stop strangers on the street, though perhaps they should?)

How do you remain so unflappable, given the more, say, narrow questions from “Ask a Lesbian”?

Lots of hiking. And by re-watching episodes of The L Word.


Image courtesy of Cameron Esposito.

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