Cameron Esposito / Rhea Butcher Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, November 27
Published Nov 28, 2015Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher were strikingly confident, intelligent, and hilarious. Along with exuberant host Jackie Pirico, the comedy power couple delighted the crowd at their sold-out show.
Though Esposito has only been doing comedy for eight years, she was as at home on stage as a 20-year vet. When she found that the stage had too many pieces of furniture for her liking, she unabashedly rearranged everything how she wanted it. When the clicking of the event photographer's camera began bothering her, she asked her to move to the back of the theatre and got everyone to give her a round of applause. These were small actions, but they warmly asserted that Esposito was in charge of every element of her show.
This strong stage presence also translated to Esposito's material. She had no qualms about talking about menstruation despite the fact that sexism has historically taken it off the table of comedic topics. Likewise, she effortlessly delved into the vulnerability of her awkward adolescence, and hysterically riffed about a weird noise from an audience member with ease. Moreover, Esposito generally maintained an air of purpose during her primarily light-hearted material about Canadian money, her amazement with her fiancée, and her desire to have a baby.
Similarly, Butcher's observational material was also very sharp, but her personality was wonderfully laid-back and subtle as opposed to overtly bold. What really made Butcher stand out was her ability to take her jokes in unpredictable directions. For example, when she mentioned she got a dog to little applause, she didn't assume the audience was filled with cat owners, instead suggesting we were all gerbil people. Additionally, Butcher's material about her lifelong vegetarianism that was so fantastically crafted that it would even be laugh-out-loud funny on paper. Furthermore, her remarks about how her last name is simultaneously perfect for her and ironic were hilariously astute.
Host Jackie Pirico was enthusiastic and clever. She kicked off the show by requesting "robust applause," then proceeded to explain her purpose as a host with almost scientific detail. The result was a brilliant amalgamation of awesome hyping and meta deconstruction. Pirico also dynamically performed some great material that featured solidly witty writing and several spot-on act-outs. There were occasional awkward pauses in her set, but overall, Pirico was a shining example of a comic who skilfully balances intelligence and energy.