This is what an out comic looks like in the 21st century. She looks like a Thunder Cat. And she’s damn proud of it.
I remember trying to watch a stand-up routine Ellen did on HBO a few years after The Puppy Episode. She was funny, sure (she was still Ellen, after all), but she’d had a hard few years. She was wearing an awkward outfit. She didn’t look quite sure of herself. She opened the act with some jokes about the audience questioning whether they were gay because they had attended, and the rest of her jokes were fairly neutered. I was a little sad for her, in retrospect. I wanted to scoop her up and hug her and say “I promise: it gets better! You’ll go snorkeling with Portia every Christmas soon!”
Fast forward eleven years. By now you’ve probably seen at least one of the videos in Buzzfeed’s Ask A Lesbian series, where out comic Cameron Esposito answers reader submitted questions about being gay. I’ll admit, it took me a couple of videos to get used to her side mullet. But even if you weren’t sure the Buzzfeed videos are your thing, you need to, need to, need to check out her latest standup album, Same Sex Symbol.
Because: Cameron looks like a Thundercat (“my gender is fighter pilot”), she is super out, she is very proud, she is really funny, and she is really happy, and she is really excited about having sex with women. (Well, one woman — she’s engaged). This, ladies and gentlemen, is what it looks like to be a lesbian in 2014. We’ve come a long way, baby.
Cameron tackles vital issues such as the flesh-colored disposable eye patch she was forced to wear as a child, the trouble with fake lesbian porn, and the absurdity of the heckler who accused her of looking like someone ‘who doesn’t have sex with men.’ She retorts:
If you’re a lesbian, the fact that you don’t have to sleep with men is a great thing. Every night I go home and say, “not tonight — again!!” You can’t go up to someone who is a part of a minority group, and yell at them a positive aspect of being in that group. You can’t go up to a Black person and be like, “I bet you don’t burn in the sun! …Did I get ya?”
She is a funny, happy lady, who has performed for and had whiskey with Christina Freaking Hendricks, but she didn’t get there overnight. Her parents are Catholic; as a child, she didn’t know what gay was. She finishes her show on a note about how far she’s come:
It’s time to educate and talk to each other. I talk to you guys about this stuff that’s going on in my life because I know you guys are the ones I am going to have to live with for the rest of it. And I want you to know that I feel great, that everything’s fine. And I didn’t know. When I was a kid, or when I was coming out, I didn’t know that there was a future, I didn’t know what it would look like. And it looks like this. It’s fucking hot as shit. …It looks like a side-mullet.