When it comes to hustle, comedian Michelle Buteau has the gift. Not only does she star in BET Plus’ First Wives Club remake, but she also hosts Netflix’s hit reality show, The Circle, and even has a Quibi show in the oven. As if that was not enough, Buteau has a brand-new Netflix stand-up special out right now called Welcome to Buteaupia. It’s an appropriate title, since the special feels like a one-way trip inside her wacky world of pet peeves and hidden Jennifer Lopez fandom.
Nothing is more fun to watch than a comedian who is happy to be there, and Buteau is without a doubt the happiest person in the room. Opening the show as her own warm-up act, she dances with the audience as if she’s in a crowded bar buying everybody a round of shots. This is her way of loosening up both herself and the crowd while also providing an entrance that is different than popping out from behind a curtain while soaking in the applause.
In the middle of her set, Bateau takes time to interact with the audience and give them some questionable, yet hilarious, relationship advice. She loves hooking people up, but they have to know what they want. She connects the bits in her show where she talks about her own marriage and adds a bit of relatability to them so even the single folks in the crowd can hop on board. Most comedians would talk about their relationship status in a cynical way, but Buteau’s stories are so heightened and absurd that you give into the goofiness. “My husband is very sweet, he’s very nice. But sometimes I feel like he wants to kill me,” is one of the 180 degree turns she takes to let us know how much he enjoys long walks down an alley at night to search for artwork.
Body image is a subject woven all through Welcome to Buteaupia. While this is typically an awkward and uncomfortable topic to talk about, especially with strangers, Buteau’s strong inner confidence allows her to embrace her imperfections. This is especially evident when she compares herself to the drumstick emoji—and turns her back to the audience to give them a better visual of what she’s talking about. The camera even lingers on her legs for a decent amount of time after comparing her ankles to those of a skinny white girl. The line that captures her confidence so perfectly is said after she tells the audience that we are all somebody’s type, and that she realized way too late in life that she is “an achievable Beyoncé for government workers.”
Michelle Buteau is a true jack of all trades. She’s an actress, an author, reality show host, and comedian. Despite working in the comedy scene for many years, it feels like she’s just getting started showing the world what she’s made of. Jokes are made by Buteau herself about how people are going to leave the show thinking she’s Raven-Symoné or Nicole Byer, but I hope Welcome to Buteaupia cements her own name in people’s minds instead.
Christian Becker is a writer and comedian based out of NJ. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheAmazingBeck.