Comedians Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher bring the stand-up comedy that in part inspired their sitcom to The Joy Theater Sunday. 

Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher photo
Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher, by Robyn Von Swank

Who: Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher
What: The “Back to Back” Tour. The first gay, married couple to co-create a TV show, taking their stand-up comedy on the road.
Where: Joy Theater
When: Sunday, October 1 (Doors 7 pm, Show 8 pm)
Why: “It’s not a fake name. I’m 100 percent butcher than all of you,” Rhea Butcher says in the pilot for Take My Wife, the sitcom she and wife Cameron Esposito co-write and star in. This frank humor is what colors the work of the couple on their show, in their podcast, Put Your Hands Together, and in their stand-up comedy. “A man yelled at me, ‘You look like a woman who doesn’t sleep with men!’ once. He yelled as if I didn’t know,” quipped Esposito during a set. 

Esposito and Butcher’s effectiveness lies in this realness. They are a duo that doesn’t shy away from identity politics, approaching them instead with a comic openness. Take My Wife co-opts the traditional sitcom and makes it their own, following a narrative of their domestic life and stand up. Their holiday special featured artists Teagan and Sara and dealt with an extended exchange with a hotel concierge who didn’t understand Esposito and Butcher are dating, an episode that is genius in its awkwardness. It serves up laughs while serving as an accessible window into the struggles of every day for gay couples. 

Their work examines their private life and its in intersection with the greater political climate. Both comedians are committed to shining a light on a variety of societal issues. This past weekend they took knee before their show, and offered a free show to the city of Houston. Unapologetically themselves, the comedians are offering themselves up as the image of what a couple in 2017 looks like, acts like, and jokes like.