Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia Exclusive Clip
Like most of us, Michelle Buteau has felt isolated during the 2020 pandemic. The New Jersey-bred comic and host of Netflix's The Circle just wants to vent, but since you last saw her in BET's First Wives Club reboot or Akwafina Is Nora From Queens there has been no real way to connect with her "ride-or-dies" who've known her since her talking head days on VH1.
"I'm just exhausted," Buteau tells EW ahead of her Netflix special Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia (out Tuesday). "We have learned through COVID-19 guidelines that we can connect in different ways, and I hope my material does that."
Buteau shot the special on March 1 of this year at Sony Hall in New York City, a personal day for a personal special. It was her grandmother's birthday. Buteau lights up when she remembers her childhood vacations in Jamaica to visit her grandma. A dose on nostalgia for an uncertain time we're in now. "Even though COVID was like, mentioned, [before filming the special] we just had no idea. So I really do feel like my grandma was looking out for me on the other side to get that check!"
Buteaupia is a journey through the mind of Buteau, a fast yet steady voyage that includes a hilarious encounter with Jennifer Lopez involving them having the same birthday and an intimate lesson in the word "swaffling" (check your local Urban Dictionary).
"I always have the most fun when I'm my truest self," she says.
The special does go into some darker places, which Buteau spins into lightness with her humor.
"When you’re going through something so traumatic, I feel like you can’t properly talk about it until you digest it and you’re on the other side of it. And then you can find the funny in it. Whether it’s a health issue or whatever it is," she says.
Buteau, even when at her silliest, takes time in her special to interrogate aspects of her life. In the exclusive clip above, she ever so slightly questions her relationship with her husband, Dutch photographer Gijs van der Most.
"I'm his sassy American wife. And he's this very polite white Dutch dude. I don't understand him sometimes. I feel like he doesn't understand the nuance of an American husband," she says candidly in the clip. "I'm from Jersey, and he thinks I sound aggressive all the time. That's his thing. I'll be making breakfast and, I swear to god, I feel like he just hears DMX."
Buteau dives deeper in detail on her backstory in her upcoming book, Survival of the Thickest: Essays (out Dec. 8). "Since I started talking about things like IVF, or like being married to a European and being stuck in the confines of what the American government is right now, people have said to me, I feel less alone. I feel seen. I'm just like, 'Oh, that's right. That's the power in words and connecting with people,'" Buteau explains.
One connection she adamantly wants to make is with voters.
"Please think outside of yourself for five minutes," she pleads. "Just think about what world you'd want to see your child grow up in. I really had to just unfriend people who were just like, 'I'm not political.' Well, it's not about you at this point."
Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia premieres on Netflix on Sept. 29.