Northwest Asian Weekly
“I’m not a white male comedian.”
Ed Hill knows himself. Hill, a Taiwanese Canadian, travels all over the world making people laugh. The CanAsian is embarking on a new venture as he simultaneously plans on recording his second comedy album later this month at the Columbia Center Theater in Seattle.
“My presence is a little bit unique in some ways,” said Hill of the practice of standing on a stage and telling jokes to strangers.
The forthcoming comedy album, “Weirdo Whisperer,” is titled after his knack for making people feel comfortable enough to tell him the oddest things about themselves. His jokes focus on his observations of interactions in his daily life, his family, and on himself. “What I really want to do is introspection,” explained Hill. “I like to figure out who I am.”
In his comedy, he talks about his father a lot, as he describes his father as a big influencer. “I am moving into a place [in my life] where I am turning into him.” Hill had always tried to avoid becoming his father when he was growing up, but has come to the realization that “I am who my father is.”
Notably, Hill’s father has never come to a show.
“Why do I need to be there?” Hill said jokingly, imitating his father’s voice. However, he notes that his family has largely been supportive of his comedy career. This includes Hill’s wife, who is his biggest critic, as she is usually the first person to hear his new material. Whenever he thinks something is funny, he runs it by his wife before anyone else.
Hill describes himself as not the type of writer that sits down and writes jokes out on paper. “I belong to the school where we write all the time,” said Hill. “I have a concept and tie that with what that has to do with me. That’s where the jokes come from.”
After taking a comedy class in graduate school at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C., Hill discovered that he enjoyed the craft. He began doing open mic nights telling jokes on stage at comedy clubs for free. His comedy career grew and he now has agents who help him book shows at clubs and college campuses.
The 31-year-old is a full-time mental health therapist. Yet, he spends most of his weekends on the road. He estimates that he spends three out of four weekends a month traveling for his comedy shows, mainly in the United States. “There’s been many nights of sleeping in cars,” Hill said.
While Hill’s therapist career involves serious issues, he does not mingle his comedy career with his work during the week. “I make a clear distinction,” said Hill. At this point, he does not foresee leaving one career for the other as he is content with the dual roles.
Hill is recording his first album in Seattle.
“I picked Seattle because when I first started comedy, I really wanted to go on the road and test my material out, and it was the first city that really welcomed me,” Hill said. “They’ve (Seattleites) embraced me, [even though I’m] an outsider.”
Last year was a good year for Hill, as he made his television debut. Hill made his first appearance on the cable and satellite television network AXS TV’s “Gotham Comedy Live,” performing his standup routine. Locally, last fall, Hill was on an episode of “Up Late Northwest” on KING 5 (the show is similar to the old “Almost Live!” which appeared on the same channel).
For more information on Ed Hill, follow him on Twitter at @kingedhill or visit kingedhill.com. The Columbia City Theater is located at 4916 Rainier Avenue South. For more information on the show, visit columbiacitytheater.com.