Cameron Esposito performs in Wilmette
Cameron Esposito presents ‘Side Mullet Nation’
8 p.m. Thursday, March 8
Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette
$12 in advance, $15 at the door
(847) 251-7424 or visit www.wilmettetheatre.com; more performances at www.therealcameronesposito.com
Updated: February 28, 2012 9:20PM
Less than three weeks before her “Side Mullet Nation” show at the Wilmette Theatre, Cameron Esposito hadn’t even chosen the topic for her performance.
We’re not worried.
When you’re a busy stand-up comic who tours across the country and whose other jobs include roller derby commentator for the Windy City Rollers, ringmaster for the touring El Circo Cheapo Cabaret and teacher of a female only standup course called “The Feminine Comique,” you are not likely to run out of material anytime soon.
The Western Springs native reported that her “Side Mullet Nation” show is different from her stand-up work. “It’s a storytelling show,” she said. “It’s not your traditional celebrity punch line joke. It’s true stories told in a charismatic and funny way by a comic.” That would be Esposito — with a little help from her friends.
“I’ll probably tell five stories and then I have two guests, so they tell stories as well,” she said. One guest will be Peter Byrnes; the other hadn’t been selected at press time.
Although Esposito has presented “Side Mullet Nation” many times, no two shows are alike. “I do a different topic every time,” she said. “It was running downtown at a place called The Comedy Bar for two months, and it was a different topic every night. Originally, the show started as an hour-long scripted long story. I needed to mix is up a little bit to keep it exciting for me. I usually choose a topic the day before.”
Past “Mullet” topics have included the police and family travel stories.
“Everybody has interesting stories,” Esposito declared. “It’s just about being able to hold onto them and being able to figure out how to plunk them into a larger framework. Some of the stories can be just as simple as a stranger looking at you funny.”
Esposito admitted that she didn’t do any kind of performing during her high school days. “I was a jock,” she said. “I played basketball and I swam and I played soccer. I didn’t do anything theater-y until I got to college.”
Esposito studied English and theology at Boston College. Even though she wound up an atheist because she didn’t agree with what she learned in her theology classes, Esposito said, “I’m really glad that I studied what I studied in terms of theology because it’s about what’s important to people and comedy’s about what’s important to people, too.”
While attending college, Esposito joined an on-campus improv group. “I auditioned for a professional improv theater the day after I graduated from school and I’ve been doing comedy ever since,” she said.
After working with that Boston company for a couple of years, Esposito returned to Chicago for additional training, “and quickly realized I didn’t want to be doing improv.” She switched to doing standup because, “You’re onstage by yourself so you don’t have to agree with anybody and you don’t have to allow viewpoints that don’t make sense to you.”
About those unusual side-jobs, Esposito explained, “There’s a bigger alternative entertainment scene in Chicago — like the roller derby and the circus. It’s not the same people that are in both of those things but everybody kind of knows each other. It’s all connected in a weird way.”
Esposito seems to enjoy every aspect of her diverse career but has a special fondness for her “Side Mullet Nation” shows. She compared them to her standup performances.
“Standup is all prewritten and hammered out time and time again. It’s a very specifically-crafted art,” she said. With “Side Mullet Nation,” “It’s been really great to have this outlet where it’s a little bit more free and exciting. There’s an adrenaline rush to it.”