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Rhea Butcher: Jokes About Cute Dogs and Flowers Have Value

The standup performs at Thalia Hall March 1.

Rhea Butcher
Photo: Megan Thompson

The standup, 36, moved to L.A. in 2012 but made their (Butcher identifies as gender nonbinary) bones here, training at Second City and performing at local institutions like the Hideout, where they married fellow comedian Cameron Esposito onstage. The two split last year, shortly after the couple’s TV show, Take My Wife, was acquired by Starz. On March 1, Butcher returns to town for a headlining standup show at Thalia Hall.

How did you get into comedy?

To be brutally honest, some friends of mine started taking improv classes, and I was like, I’m way funnier than them. I should take these classes! Second City was actually helpful when doing standup. It was a great place to be funny in front of people I had just met.

How different is L.A.’s standup scene from Chicago’s?

Completely different. What makes Chicago a great place to start doing comedy is you can do it without worrying that someone’s “watching” you. In Los Angeles, you feel this little bit of pressure, like, Who’s here?

How has your act evolved since you moved?

While I still want to comment on things that are happening and have a point of view onstage, I also think there’s value in giving people an hour off from everything that’s awful. There are flowers blooming, my dog is cute — there’s still goodness and fun to be had in the world.

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