Michelle Buteau got me through the pandemic. Her first Netflix special, Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia, is one of the most joyous standup specials I have ever seen and you will find yourself watching it over and over again. Buteau is the kind of comic who connects so hard with her audience that you know she’s having as much of a good time on stage as you are in the audience. When she takes the stage in a gold, sparkly pantsuits, you know you’re in good hands.
Buteau is very candid about her marriage to her Dutch husband and she talks about spending time in Amsterdam and welcoming a set of twins into their lives. She can tell you a heartfelt story and then one beat later detail how she is an achievable Beyoncé for government workers. It’s no surprise that she won a Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy Special.
I could just go on and on about how much I love Buteau, but just buy into everything she’s doing, all right? Buy her book! Watch her Netflix special! She’s also on the ballot for hosting The Circle!
Michelle Buteau: How are you?
Awards Daily: I am fine and dandy, how are you?
MB: I am fine and also dandy.
AD: Someone called me a dandy once so I figured I gotta take that, right?
MB: You gotta take it.
AD: I feel like, though, whenever someone says that to me, I should be on one of this big bicycles.
MB: With the big wheel and the little wheel?
AD: Yeah. I’ve watched your special maybe four or five times. It’s so joyous.
MB: I am so here for it. Thank you!
AD: When you find out you’re doing a Netflix, what was it like to start writing?
MB: Not to sound like that bitch, but I feel like I’ve been writing it for a minute. Life dictates what you will talk about. It was a different type of excitement when they ask if you want to do a quarter hour. It’s a different situation and you think that it’s perfect. You can’t disappoint anyone. You’re in and you’re out. Then they came back and said, ‘How about an hour?’ Bitch I’m ready. Thank god I age well. Of course an hour happens when you’re in a movie with J-Lo and you’re writing a book. There is that saying that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. Thankfully, I’ve been booked and busy and unbothered.
AD: Booked and blessed!
MB: I was happy to take my nonsense on tour and figure out who she was going to be. Being in that room filming was like a comedian’s wedding where you think I’ve worked so hard to find it and now we’re here. I recognized some people who have been in the rooms in New York City–the two drink minimum of it all. I saw people I’ve never seen before who were excited to see me in my sequined jumpsuit. And my mom looked like she was at a funeral and it was like, “YES!”
AD: I love that jumpsuit. I’d wear it it to the supermarket or to pick up my dog.
MB: What in the Whole Foods are you serving?
MB: I am here for your journey.
AD: Speaking about moms, do you ever worry about that? Or is it like, hey, I’m a comedian and this is what you signed up for?
MB: It’s a little bit of both, right? I’m always doing a slight roast with elders and they love it. It makes them feel alive and included and sometimes they don’t know what the hell I’m talking about anyways. I feel like I won over my mom when I graduated from high school and I wasn’t pregnant. I did the thing, and they know I’m inspired by them. My mom is a god-fearing woman, but I also learned how to curse from her! She’s like a little truck driver. I am very body positive and sex positive, so it is what it is. It is difficult to do a dick joke, but it’s her fault. She wants to come to the show! Be prepared. My mother-in-law is great and I’m sure he’s Google translating everything to be part of the party. It’s a family affair!
AD: When I re-watched it, you brought so much stuff that are talking about again right now. You bring up Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. You talk about Meghan Markle. It was freaking me out because it felt like it could’ve come out a week ago.
MB: And I filmed it last March. I love Kathy Griffin, but I don’t like talking about meeting celebrities a lot. Plus, I feel like people will have the same jokes. It’s a shorter shelf life, but I felt so passionately about having so many things in common with J-Lo. She’ll never know and she shouldn’t care. I mean, the Superbowl and the splits alone!
AD: And Hustlers. She made me a heterosexual for five minutes.
MB: Same here. I was like, “Am I?” No, I’m not (laughs). Love is love. Keep doing it. Every time we hugged, I kept it longer than I should’ve. I do believe that words have power. When you speak something and you believe shit will work out, it will. Fruition is a motherfucker. Do I want Megan Markle to let herself go? No, but I want her to chill a little bit.
AD: I was going to ask who you would want to be your Prince Harry if you played Meghan on The Crown, but instead I’m going to ask you who you’d want to go toe-to-toe with as Queen Elizabeth?
MB: (screams) I just grabbed my pearls! I don’t know. Off the top of my head, I’d say a Kathy Bates, a Meryl Streep.
AD: Yes, please.
MB: It could be Julianne Moore, I don’t know. What if it’s just a very angry Sandra Bullock?
MB: I want to see an angry Sandra Bullock. Stoic!
AD: You have some really lovely things to say about marriage in there with all the jokes. And your first book is so good. Would you ever consider writing a book on marriage?
MB: I would say no, because once you do something like that, your marriage ends. Like if you film your wedding for a reality show, that’s it. I don’t think I’m a relationship expert, but I’ve seen some shit and I’ve been through some shit. I’m not an expert. I don’t mind sharing my opinions. It’s a compliment when people say when they devoured your book–it’s the only time they actually use that word. You devoured it? I’m turned on. Or when they say they got through it in 24 hours, I think that it took me so much longer to write it.
AD: Read it again!
MB: You missed something! Read it again! I don’t know if I’d write another book again. I’m writing some film pitches and some TV pitches. I feel like these stories can have legs in other mediums. I’m working on more standup. Who are any of us after this crazy year? I have to get used to seeing other people’s faces again. It’s not a bad idea, but I don’t think I would. Being in a good relationship–if it’s with yourself or with a partner–it’s about being honest. What can you take on and what do you not want?
AD: We all have to retrain ourselves to interact with everyone again. You are doing a residency at The Bell House in Brooklyn. What are you most excited for with that?
MB: I want to say being away from my kids on a Tuesday night (laughs). That sense of summer pride with your good tank top. Letting that pandemic belly out and we can congregate in bigger groups. Can you believe we survived this shit? All the tests and the washed hands we had to go through to sit in a dank theater and listen to my dumb jokes is wild. All of those things. I can’t wait to be petty on stage. It’s my favorite.
Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Beautopia is streaming now on Netflix. Watch it over and over again.