By Graeme Wiggins
Comedian Michelle Buteau has strong opinions on Vancouver. Having recently spent time here filming Ali Wong and Randall Park’s new movie Always Be My Maybe she developed quite the affinity for our city.
“I was like, this is how the world should live,” she says. “Look at all these windows and the fun shrubbery on top. Everything I wear is grey and I felt like I could just fit in. And the air is so clean.”
It’s not only the atmosphere she appreciates, it’s also the food: “I have to walk everywhere because I’m going to gain weight. I could be on ‘My 600 lb Life’ in Vancouver because the food is so good.” Even Vancouver’s elderly get props from Buteau: “I’m sure people over 65 are having sex because they all have good hips – is everyone hiking all the time?”
A long-time veteran of the comedy world, Buteau has reached a bigger audience this year after being featured on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, starting her own talk show podcast Late Night Whenever and starring in a special on Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup. Her comedy is brash and honest. She’s not worried about getting trouble or having to self-censor: “I don’t have to do much filtering. I’m not a monster or an asshole, right?”
While it’s becoming a thing as of late for comedians to ruin their chances for prime opportunities, she doesn’t feel like she has much to worry about. “If the Academy was like, ‘Do you want to host the Oscars?’ tomorrow, I’d be like, ‘Sure.’ And if someone went through my Twitter feed I could sleep at night because I have certain values and morals. I just don’t think a certain way.”
You can tell that seeing those kinds of situations play out is disappointing to her. She values her integrity too much to let that happen.
“You have the platform,” she says. “It’s not just to make a lot of money and get famous and have stand up be a vehicle for that. No, you should have a backbone and a moral compass.” And while she’s a versatile comedian, able to tailor her set to whatever audience, you don’t have to worry that this integrity will come at the expense of being funny. She’s not going to compromise on that. “It’s always gonna sound like me. I’m not gonna give you Jerry Seinfeld with back-fat. It’s gonna be freewheeling and sassy.”
Catch Michelle Buteau at JFL Northwest on February 21 at the Biltmore Cabaret.comedy, JFL Northwest, Michelle Buteau