I'm not going to trash Mother's Day because there's already a huge amount of vitriol about it all over the internet. For a brief explainer, Mother's Day continues in the tradition of Garry Marshall's other two holiday themed romcoms, Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve. With huge ensemble casts filled to the brim with stars like Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Kate Hudson, all three basically follow the same plot, where everyone's lives crash into one another and love blossoms on TK holiday.
As one of the only fans of the franchise, I was incredibly excited to see Mother's Day, which I assumed would adhere to the structure and scope of its predecessors and it did. Since I expected the same ol' same ol', I was pleasantly surprised to see Cameron Esposito, an LA based comedian, with a small role as Max. She’s the partner to Gabi (Sarah Chalke), who is telling lies with her sister Jesse (Kate Hudson) to their parents (Margo Martindale, Robert Pine) about their actual lives and who they are married to.
Esposito is one of the funniest comedians out there with pointed insight about sexuality, gender, and politics. She's infiltrating the entertainment industry with her film and television projects, stand-up (her album Same Sex Symbol was a certifiable hit), and written work (she writes for Vice and the A.V. Club and is working on a book). We hopped on the phone with Esposito to talk about Mother's Day, her glorious hair and living her best life.
I was so pleasantly surprised to see you in this. I wasn’t expecting it. It was just so random. I was so excited.
When I lived in LA, I saw you do stand-up a couple of times. I remember you having all the right opinions about The L Word. I was like, “Oh my god. It’s her!”
I have all the right opinions about so many things. But definitely about The L Word. But I’m playing a lesbian in a major mainstream movie. I’m wearing clothes I’d totally wear and have my actual haircut. It’s all very cool.
Your hair is glorious.
Yes. It is. My stunt double—
You have a stunt double?
There’s a part of the movie where a car goes awry and it’s a very cool vintage car. I didn’t realize until I drove it that I had never driven anything without power steering. They were like, “Ok. Just get in this car and drive it away from the camera.” I was like I can’t believe they are trusting me this much. So for the rest of it there’s a stunt driver. She had a Cameron Esposito side mullet wig on that I got to see hair and makeup build over a week of looking at my hair. She is an actual race car driver who also drove cars in The Fast and the Furious. She was like, “This is the craziest wig I’ve ever had to wear.” I was trying really hard not to take that as a thinly veiled insult.
When you went into this had you seen Valentine’s Day or any of Garry Marshall's holiday movies before?
I think I had seen Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve but Pretty Woman is definitely one of those movies that if you are the age that I am, 34, I think you actually had to see it to exist on the planet. It was a requirement. He’s making these new strings of movies that have these giant, beautiful, wonderful ensemble casts but he also created the framework for modern television and modern romantic comedies.
Was it intimidating meeting him?
He is the nicest man. I think the best way to sum it up is at the premiere I went with my wife [Rhea Butcher]. We walked the red carpet together and then she had to leave because we are making a television show together. Then I saw Garry and he was like, “Where is your beautiful wife?”
My wife is also a comic and she flew down and we did a stand up show in Atlanta that was open to the public but also for cast and crew. Garry Marshall sat in the front row next to everyone and they all watched us do stand up. Just as a queer person, if you told me ten years ago that it would be legal for me to get married, that I would be a professional comic, and that Garry Marshall would sit in the front row and watch me do stand up and then ask me where my wife was, I would tell you that you are insane.
These movies have such huge ensemble casts with some of the biggest stars in the world. Do you have any weird stories or interactions with anyone on set?
Everybody that I worked with was really gracious. I just immediately fell into a great groove with the specific family I had in the movie. Do you expect to go to the gym with Kate Hudson and Sarah Chalke? Sometimes you do. Margo Martindale had won an Emmy while we were filming. We celebrated in the hotel bar. I got to buy her a drink. Sarah Chalke, who plays my wife in the movie, is the nicest woman in the world.
I lowkey love these movies. They are my favorites to watch when they’re on TV. I was curious, what’s your favorite rom com? You can name multiples.
I’m a huge fan of Julia Roberts. I can’t believe I got to make a movie with Julia Roberts. I’ve loved her since Mystic Pizza and I love her in Pretty Woman and I love her in Notting Hill. Just name anything Julia Roberts has been in.
You are working so much right now. I also wanted to ask you about the TV shows that you’re working on, the book you’re writing. Tell me about everything.
It’s a real whirlwind. My first stand up special, Marriage Material, came out a couple of months ago on Seeso. I shot it two days before my wedding, which was a terrible idea. My wife is the person I’m making this TV show on Seeso [Take My Wife premiering this August] with. It’s based on our lives. Two female comics who are trying to figure out the balance between working together and loving each other. At the end of the day, stand up is our family business. It’s going to be really special and cool and new because it’s lesbians and they don’t die.
They’re on TV and don’t die. Can you believe it? It’s really awesome to have that opportunity.
And you’re working on another show?
Then I have an FX show that is about a gay sibling and a straight sibling that live in Chicago. I’m working on that with Stephen Falk who has a show on FX called You’re the Worst. We are in the very early stages, but people should tell FX that they would like to see me on their network.
I will tweet at them.
Then, after that, I will be writing a book. I’ve been trying to write it for two years but I keep getting cast in movies with Julia Roberts.
You are living your best life. You are like “Sorry. Julia is calling. I guess I’ll have to put this on hold for now.”
I should start making stuff up to see how much they [her editors at Grand Central Publishing] will believe. Every phone call I’ve had to make at this point is like, “I’m sorry. I sold two television shows. I’m sorry.” I should be like, “I’m sorry. I’ve been elected president.”
Or that you are co-directing Father’s Day with Garry Marshall.
When you talk to Garry tell him I’m onboard.