*This was filmed before the SAG/AFTRA strike went into effect.
Every morning, comedian, actress, and producer Michelle Buteau will dance with her kids to “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles and “Brown Girl in the Ring” by Boney M. “I grew up listening to those songs, so that’s really fun, but when they leave the house, it’s giving Teyana Taylor…that’s how I find my flow.”
These days, Buteau is better at tapping into flow and prioritizing her health — a lesson she had to learn after she dropped 40 pounds for her wedding in 2010. “I thought I needed to be really, really skinny because that’s what society told me I should do, and then I had a wedding dress that was falling off and paid way too much money for. I literally had a potato and sip of tequila and blacked out and didn’t enjoy my wedding because I had dieted so hard. I had to say, ‘Why do I feel like I need to diet to lose weight? Why can’t I just eat healthy and feel good in my body?’”
Buteau revealed that her mom gave her what might be the “healthiest” gift ever. “One year for Christmas my mom’s like, ‘Ooh, hmmm, what do I give the girl that has nothing? And she gave me health insurance! Which, you know I didn’t ask for, but I’m so glad she did. And then 3 months later, I found out I had a benign brain tumor.’ And I’m like, ‘Girl, never give me health insurance again.’ But, I’m so glad I found out, and I was able to seek help, and get medication. And get 7 different references to get an MRI! Can we get a better system? At one point, they’re like, ‘Can you fax it?’”
Buteau’s brain tumor experience led her to wonder: Why don’t we have universal healthcare? “I think it’s really ridiculous that we live in a country where health insurance is a luxury,” she says. “I always had health insurance growing up, but when I started doing stand-up comedy full-time, I did not have health insurance, and my dad was so disappointed. He was like, ‘How could you do this to me?’ But he didn’t understand that it wasn’t a reflection on you, it was a reflection on the government.”
In early 2019, when Buteau was in her early 40s, she and her husband welcomed their twins Hazel and Otis. “Having twins in my 40s is a never-ending episode of the Amazing Race with no prize,” she says. “It’s like a car alarm, but all day long and just with their voices. But I love them. I get to see this pureness in humanity and feel like I am leaving not only a beautiful mark on this world, but I get to teach them how hard she can be, but also how amazing. Plus, they’re really cute. It’d be so hard if they were ugly.”