Comedians Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher
Comedians Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher
Photo by Robyn Von Swank

Comedy Couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher Are 'Stepping Out Like Rock Stars'

Spending the majority of the year on the road isn't a new experience for seasoned comedy couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher. They first met in the Chicago comedy scene and got to know each other while doing road gigs together. So what makes their Back to Back tour, which lands Thursday at the South Side Music Hall, so special?

"This is our first time in a bus," Esposito says. "This is our first time playing venues this big. So it's exciting for us after a bunch of years working together and making a TV show together and making podcasts together. We're stepping out like rock stars."

It also gives them and their fans the opportunity to see them share a stage. Esposito and Butcher will each perform a half-hour standup set and then join together to share stories and the occasional improvised riff about their lives.

They also explore and spoof their personal lives on their podcast, Put Your Hands Together, and NBC's Seeso series Take My Wife. The latter is looking for a new home now that the streaming service is shutting down.

"Being in a comedy relationship is fun because the other person always knows what you're talking about. You have a common language," Butcher says.

Of course, being so close with your coworkers can also pose challenges.

"It is one of the most difficult things I've ever done and one of the greatest things I've done," Esposito says. "Cameron and I are really similarly matched in that way in that we both really like to travel. So we drove basically all over this country together doing standup comedy, which was — and is — an experience that I could not have ever imagined."

"At the same time,"  Butcher interjects, "Cameron's chewing drives me crazy and my chewing drives Cameron crazy."

Esposito says touring together and sharing their lives with their fans in such a way can put a strain on a relationship, and she would not recommend it.

"That being said, Rhea is the person I trust most in the world, and it's pretty brutal being out on the road," she says. "It's a dream I wanted. I wanted to travel the country and do standup comedy, but it's lonely. ... It's just unbelievable to be able to do all that with somebody who has my back."

And all of the minor nuisances of being on the road and spending long hours shooting their show ultimately pay off when the curtain rises, the lights go up, and they go out and perform for the crowd. Esposito says it's even more special when she can share the spotlight with Butcher.

"There are dual acts like the Lucas Brothers or the Sklar Brothers, but it's hard," Esposito says. "That's why they're rare, and I'm amazed that we can do it, and I love that Rhea makes me laugh on stage. I think it's actually also really cool for an audience to see a couple's affection for each other really play out as they are joking about whatever nonsense we're talking about."

Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher, 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, South Side Music Hall, 1135 S. Lamar St., $35, axs.com.

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