Cameron Esposito
Photo: Robyn Von Swank

Her mother

I was a jock. I wasn’t super involved in the arts. But my mom would look at the Tribune and figure out what was happening and take us into the city. She always made sure we saw whatever visiting Broadway show was playing.

El Circo Cheapo Cabaret

This was a one-ring circus in a warehouse on the Near West Side. My job was to provide an entertaining distraction so that they could get changeovers done. I would tell jokes, I would tell stories. I would pretend to be a lion tamer of children, so I would put my hand into a child’s mouth — but not in a creepy way! It was great training for learning how to focus. As a standup, there’s rarely a glitter-covered acrobatic duo setting up their flying-trapeze act behind you.


The first time I saw it, I was 27, just figuring myself out as an artist. There’s this moment where Liza Minnelli is getting ready to perform and adjusts her face and pulls back her shoulders. It speaks to the feeling of being an artist, that you may have stuff you’re going through, but you’re there to be a service to the art you’re about to do.