By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Vancouver-based Ed Hill is happy to be back on the road telling jokes across the U.S. and Canada. His comedy tour visits Seattle on Saturday, April 2 at the Jewelbox Theatre.
During the pandemic, Hill filmed a comedy special, Candy & Smiley. Originally scheduled to be performed in front of a live audience, Hill conformed to shoot the special and did it with a small group of friends and family. He hopes that his next special, which will occur after this current tour, will be in front of a live audience.
As Hill was able to travel to different comedy clubs and bars, he has adjusted to what is the new normal, adjusting to pandemic rules.
“[It’s] a bit of a learning process,” Hill said about conforming to different rules while traveling. “One of the things I noticed about getting back on the road is that things could happen.”
This is in light of cancellations and postponements that have been a common occurrence while areas deal with the rise of positive COVID-19 cases.
“You have to be at peace with whatever the moment brings you,” Hill said.
Hill started back on the road in the fall of 2021 in Canada. There was a break in the schedule due to the Omicron virus, but he returned after restrictions allowed for him to perform. Hill returned to touring in the U.S. in February, starting with shows in Alaska. He now has a schedule which has him crisscrossing the U.S. and Canada through the end of 2022.
Even with masking and social distancing rules loosening, Hill has reflected on the pandemic. While he focuses his comedy on his own personal life, he noted that the backlash toward Asians in light of the coronavirus is enlightening.
“The only people that can destroy your community is yourself,” he said about the attacks against Asians and trying to stay positive. “You are the only person that can actually save and protect your community. Obviously being Asian, there are different things happening.” He added that you have to ask yourself, “Do I want to be the figure of perseverance and resilience for my community?”
While comedians tend to chase the laughs, Hill now embraces the quiet moments during his routines. Since coming back to performing live, the silence symbolizes when the audience is listening and highlights to him the connection between the comedian and audience.
“A lot of people find it (silence) daunting. For me, I find a sense of comfort.”
Obviously, Hill wants a show with tons of laughter, but he enjoys the moments in which he feels that he and his audience “are in this together.”
As a comedian, Hill knows how it is for an audience member to be unruly during a show. In response to the stunning incident at the Oscars in which Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Chris Rock, Hill joked, “If somebody is going to slap me, I hope it’s Will Smith.”
He added, “While watching that, I’m 60% comedian, 40% average citizen.” As a comedian, Hill joked that Rock would have “a brand new [comedy] special” based upon the incident. As a citizen, Hill applauded Rock’s ability to remain calm and professional. Hill believed that the joke, while maybe out of line, did not deserve a slap.
Hill recalls that despite having KKK members in the audience while performing in the South and Vagos Motorcycle Club gang members attending shows, the most tense moments he experienced involved a woman at a bachelorette party. She attempted to come on stage during his set until another comedian and the manager at the comedy club kicked her out.
In this latest tour, Hill’s focus will be on the women in his life. The show is a follow up to his comedy special.
“It’s a discussion about strength and fragility and what those concepts mean and also the idea of love.” He added, “It’s a different feel from the special, which was really about family and my relationship with my parents. This one is about the relationship between the women in my life and myself.”
To purchase tickets to his Seattle show, visit strangertickets.com.
For more on Ed Hill, visit kingedhill.com and you can purchase his first special Ed Hill: Candy and Smiley on Amazon.com.
Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.