LOADING ...

On fighter pilots and their baby bumps

Cameron Esposito Mar 27, 2015. 24 comments

About a year ago, a strange thing happened to me: For the first time, I began to imagine having a baby. Not raising a kid or parenting—I’ve always wanted to parent a child, and my non-comedy work experience only confirmed this. I worked in special education and loved it. Then I was a nanny for several years and my nannykid ruled. I’ve already helped raise some kids, which was very cool though surprisingly boring because, as it turns out, toddlers are the worst at casually chatting about action movies.

Now I’m thinking about having a baby. I’m thinking about growing a baby in my body and then somehow getting it outside of my body using methods I still cannot comprehend like pushing and what the fuck?! Never before had I thought I might want to carry.

I think part of this is my age—I’m in my early 30s—and part of it is that I have found the woman I’m going to marry. I feel safe with her. So my brain has decided to up the ante a shit-ton (babies make literally tons of shit) and has begun giving me strange signals, like “Swaddle your dog in a blanket and take a series of photos.”

I find this shocking. For one, my gender is slightly out of step with the results for a Getty Image search of “pregnant woman.” Those chicks are so rarely wearing jean jackets. It’s not that I won’t carry just because I’d get odd looks strolling through the Urban Outfitters mens’ sale section during my seventh month, it’s that I haven’t seen a lot of fighter pilots popping baby bumps. It’s hard for me to imagine me pregnant and butch-booting around the neighborhood. (Note: I have known some butch-ish gals who carried and they looked awesome. Nice job, gals! You are still slightly unusual but very cool!)

Of course, there’s also the question of the raw components needed to make a baby. When it comes to sperm, my fiancée and I would need delivery, since we don’t have the DiGiorno at home. (We have an aversion to rising crust.) Making a baby in an all-female household is doable but expensive. So is adoption. We aren’t yet expensive people. We’re burgeoning stand-up comics. It’s an achievement that we own a couch and pay rent on the apartment where that couch lives.

I didn’t get into this field for the money, and that’s a good thing. Most successful comics spend the first five or 10 years of their careers making little—sometimes no—money telling jokes. During that time, comics have a choice: Try to float a day job or wear the same shirt every day because you cannot afford a second shirt. I’ve done both. My nannykid really wished I owned a second shirt.

I’m a decade into my comedy career, and I’ve shaken the idea that I’ll need to get a non-comedy day job again. When I had a day job, I didn’t mind that I had to nanny-work days and joke-work nights. It made stand-up feel important and worth the sacrifice of normalcy. I didn’t realize at the time was that my non-stand-up peers were using that decade to grow-up. While I collected sets, they collected mortgages, marriages, and kids.

This isn’t an unusual realization for a comic; it’s something I’ve talked to many of my friends about. But most of my friends are comics and most comics are men; by the transitive property, I’ve got mostly male friends. When we talk about this issue—the delayed adulthood of the stand-up comic—we’re coming at it as peers and pals who love one another and share so many similar experiences. But they haven’t really had to think about whether they’d be able to travel while pregnant or what a pregnant comic would look like onstage or what that comic would joke about.

A bunch of my male stand-up pals had their first kids this year. They toured during the pregnancy, filmed commercials and TV spots. They were pregnant without being the one who was pregnant. My fiancée could carry, but she’s also a comic. Either way, if we decide to carry a kid, one of us would be swinging a mic stand around a serious tummy.

This isn’t something all non-comic women have figured out. Some jobs don’t offer maternity leave. Some women don’t want to take it. And by the way, I know that not all women want to parent children. That’s totally chill. I also know that I do want to. And now that I finally feel career stability after 10 years onstage, I see all the other things I might have thought through during that decade.

I work in television frequently. And I write, I podcast. I’ve cobbled together an income that serves me well. But my greatest source of income is still live shows. Eventually, this won’t be true. Eventually I’ll be able to afford better health care, and take time off the road. Eventually I’ll grow up. If I do want to have children, eventually better come pretty soon.

24 Comments

Other Cameron Esposito's posts

In L.A., you ain’t shit In L.A., you ain’t shit

I was in Iowa City last week for a festival. My big sister traveled there with me—I flew to Chicago and she drove me to Iowa so we could spend time together and because she rules. Iowa City is home to a huge university with a Girls-approved writing program and those crumbly, red brick buildings of which so many...

Getting it right Getting it right

Rhea Butcher and I walk into Mississippi Studios for a sound check. It’s around 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday in January and the sky outside is gray and heavy and spitting that bullshit non-rain that doesn’t soak you but leaves you freezing. Rhea’s my opener—and Portland, home to Mississippi Studios, is the eighth stop on our rock club tour...

It’s a sensitive issue It’s a sensitive issue

I was on a train—a CTA Blue Line train—with my then girlfriend. Maybe this was five years ago. I was in my late 20s and my girlfriend was much younger, just out of college, and I’d just returned from two weeks on the road. My ex had ridden a westbound train to O’Hare Airport to meet me so we...

A strategy guide for stand-up comedy’s boss level A strategy guide for stand-up comedy’s boss level

I’m on a plane to Austin to perform at Cap City Comedy Club, a club generally held to be one of the best in the country. It’s my first time headlining there. The last time I was at Cap City it was 2009 and my then-girlfriend and I were in Austin to visit college friends. I had just opened...

Suggested posts

Stand-up comedian Atsuko Okatsuka keeps set going right through an earthquake Stand-up comedian Atsuko Okatsuka keeps set going right through an earthquake

In times of crisis, we all hope that we would be able to remain calm instead of the more common response of widespread panic. But comedian Atsuko Okatsuka took things to the next level during the recent California earthquake at The Ice House in Pasadena, as a stressful situation (performing stand-up) became intensified by another stressful situation (7.1 earthquake).Not...

Roseanne Barr and Andrew Dice Clay are touring together, answering nobody's prayers Roseanne Barr and Andrew Dice Clay are touring together, answering nobody's prayers

Actually, to insinuate that a stand-up tour jointly headlined by Roseanne Barr and Andrew Dice Clay is unwanted might be a little unfair. There is surely a notable portion of the country that genuinely wants to have two individuals who possess a shaky definition of “comedy” squawk “Whatever happened to freedom of speech?!” repeatedly until a distant American flag...

Hannah Gadsby calls Louis CK a "joke" who "still honestly thinks he’s the victim” Hannah Gadsby calls Louis CK a "joke" who "still honestly thinks he’s the victim”

Louis CK’s contemporaries in the stand-up scene have had some harsh words for the disgraced comedian, who returned to the stage last year after admitting to allegations of exposing himself to female employees and other comedians without their consent. Sasheer Zamata and Pete Davidson have taken public swipes at CK in recent months, and now Hannah Gadsby, on the...

Dave Chappelle to receive the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Dave Chappelle to receive the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Dave Chappelle has cautiously dipped his toe back into public life a few times in the last few years, after more or less disappearing when he quit his extremely lucrative and demanding Comedy Central show. Just since 2017, though, he hosted SNL, launched a handful of huge Netflix specials , held a Radio City Music Hall residency , sang...

Jimmy Pardo previews the lineup for this year's Pardcast-A-Thon, still refuses to touch Fortnite Jimmy Pardo previews the lineup for this year's Pardcast-A-Thon, still refuses to touch Fortnite

This Saturday, May 4, comedian Jimmy Pardo and the crew of his Never Not Funny podcast will once again come together for the annual Pardcast-A-Thon fundraiser, a 12-hour telethon-style charity event to raise money for Smile Train, an organization that raises money to help children born with cleft palates (just $250 can literally change a child’s life by paying...

This trailer for My Dad Wrote A Porno's HBO comedy special brings the smut This trailer for My Dad Wrote A Porno's HBO comedy special brings the smut

Hit podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno has proven shockingly sustainable in spite of its straightforward premise, which found host Jamie Morton and his pals reading through a not-so-sexy smut book his dad wrote. The podcast’s success gave way to more books, however, as well as an HBO comedy special that’s slated to air on May 11.Morton and his...

Amber Ruffin revises her own joke on air, nails it Amber Ruffin revises her own joke on air, nails it

Part of being a comedian is obsessing over the punchlines you should’ve told, but there’s no shame in sharing an alternate button now and then. Take Late Night With Seth Meyers’ Amber Ruffin, for example, who proved on air that sometimes it’s worth it to take a second stab at laughter. Ruffin was doing her “Amber Says What” segment...

Mike Myers to play multiple characters on new Netflix series, none of which we hope are the Love Guru Mike Myers to play multiple characters on new Netflix series, none of which we hope are the Love Guru

Mike Myers’ parodical comedy was enriched by chameleonic performances and a clever approach to blue humor once upon a time, but a combination of Shrek’s deadening bellows and The Love Guru ’s phallic assaults ensured that not even Austin Powers could make us horny for more. As such, Myers has spent the majority of this decade out of the...

Conan O'Brien joke-theft trial begins next month with testimony from Patton Oswalt Conan O'Brien joke-theft trial begins next month with testimony from Patton Oswalt

People love to accuse Conan O’Brien of stealing their jokes , but one spurned comedy writer has enough of a claim against O’Brien, Conaco, TBS, and Time Warner that his dispute’s been bouncing around courtrooms for roughly four years . The trial is set to start in earnest next month and the news that the majority of it will...

Alec Baldwin says Trump doesn't deserve better than his shitty impression Alec Baldwin says Trump doesn't deserve better than his shitty impression

Saturday Night Live continues to flounder under the Trump presidency, consistently struggling to say anything of substance about an era of American politics that’s nothing if not absurd. Celebrity cameos stand in for jokes, with the likes of Ben Stiller, Matt Damon, and Robert De Niro returning time and again to take roles away from the main cast members...

Language