Author Interview: Cameron Esposito

From rising comedy star Cameron Esposito, Save Yourself is a memoir that is “as hilarious and honest as she is on the stage,” tackling the big issues explored in her comedy, including gender, sexuality and feminism—and how her Catholic childhood prepared her for a career as an outspoken lesbian comedian in ways the Pope could never have imagined.

Cameron Esposito wanted to be a priest and ended up a stand-up comic. Now she would like to tell the whole queer as hell story. Her story. Not the sidebar to a straight person’s rebirth-she doesn’t give a makeover or plan a wedding or get a couple back together. This isn’t a queer tragedy. She doesn’t die at the end of this book, having finally decided to kiss the girl. It’s the sexy, honest, bumpy, and triumphant dyke’s tale her younger, wasn’t-allowed-to-watch-Ellen self needed to read. Because there was a long time when she thought she wouldn’t make it. Not as a comic, but as a human.

We spoke with Cameron Esposito about what inspired her to write Save Yourself, the importance of independent bookstores, and more.

Photo by @hangryforfiction

Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

I didn’t see my story (conservative Catholic kid wants to be a priest, ends up a lesbian standup comic) out there, so here it is, world!

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

It’s exhausting to perform without an audience.

Have you listened to your own audiobook? If so, what struck you about the narration?

Parts of it. I travel so frequently for work, and audiobooks have been my longtime companion out on the road; even though I have been a podcaster for years and released five standup albums, I was surprised to hear my own voice reading a book.

Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?

STRONG YES. A perennial favorite is Miranda July’s The First Bad Man; in recent months, I’ve really enjoyed Paul Takes The Form of a Mortal Girl, Nothing to See Here, In the Dream House, Conversations with Friends, and Such a Fun Age. And if you’ve never heard Jim Dale read the Harry Potter books, your life is incomplete.

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

I was a nerdy, constantly-reading kid. As an adult, when I travel I make stopping in indie bookshops a priority. For that reason, I’ve got a lot of favorites.

Boston’s Brookline Booksmith got me through college. Chicago’s Women and Children First was a reason to head to Andersonville when I lived in a neighborhood much further south. When I perform in Denver—most frequently at Comedy Works—Tattered Cover is a place I walk to daily to browse and buy and browse some more. In Los Angeles where I live today, Skylight Books is my local shop. I’m in there all the time.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

My book is funny and soulful and sad and I hope it’s a balm for anyone who felt like a real goon growing up (and that’s probably all of us).

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