By Jason Cruz
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Comedian Ed Hill returns to Seattle on Feb. 25 to tune up for his off-Broadway show, “Stupid Ed.” The comedian will perform his show from March 30—April 2 at the Tank Theater in New York followed by shooting his second comedy special.
Hill, whose shows are based on themes in his life, has been working on a new chapter since last June. Unlike normal comedy sets, Hill wanted to develop this show by going to fringe festivals. Fringe festivals feature an arts festival focusing on alternative or experimental performances and exhibitions.
“It’s a good way to put a show together because you can develop your material,” said the Vancouver-based comedian.
Hill noted the difference in fringe festivals versus comedy clubs which made the difference in trying out his new material.
“Fringe festivals give you an hour. Comedy clubs usually give you 50 minutes,” but Hill noted the difference at comedy clubs, “[t]he last 10 minutes, the crowd is paying for their bill and beginning to fade.”
While comedy clubs are a good place to trial out jokes, it’s not a good place to develop this type of material, said Hill.
“No one is here for a comedy show,” he stated. “They want a theatrical production. If you can entertain that specific audience, it will translate.”
In his new show, the end does not go out on a laugh as is customary after most comedy shows. “This show is not going to end on a laugh because life doesn’t end with a laugh.“
“This new hour is about me,” Hill explained.
“Last special was about the last generation and this special is about this generation.”
“It is about the idea of acceptance and being able to love who I am, doing what I want to do rather than what I have to do. This will be done through exploring that through the relationships with the women in my life.”
Hill has a knack for compartmentalizing his comedy. He takes the audience on a journey with a central theme and anecdotes about the theme in his show. Through observational comedy, you get to know a little more about the comedian and what he is about while he unveils a part of himself to the viewer.
As a traveling comedian, Hill is glad to be back on the road.
“It feels like I’m catching up on lost time from the last 2.5 years,” said Hill.
His previous special, “Candy and Smiley,” was based on his parents that was made into a video special via Amazon Prime. The show was unique as Hill originally planned to have an audience for the show, but due to the pandemic those plans were scrapped. He shot the show before a limited gathering which included close friends, co-workers, and his parents.
This time around, the opportunity for a residency in New York came out of his work on the Fringe Festival circuit.
“The residency is where you get a specific run of time at a specific theater.” Hill will perform at the Tank Theater for four nights.
“I’m really thankful for it.”
The idea of a theatrical residency is for the performer to have a chance to present their finished show or provide a chance to develop an existing work. Hill will be presenting “Stupid Ed” in its polished form.
The residency idea is something Hill would like to do in the future to work on further shows. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” Hill explained. He hopes to do it again for his next special. “I’m hoping to go somewhere and develop a show [while in residency].”
His method of creating a show is much more than hoping for a big laugh at the end of the story. He advocates for a residency to help develop his craft.
“The one thing that is very difficult to do beyond comedy is trying to figure out what you’re saying and why you’re saying it.” He added, “Why does it mean anything to you?”
“Sometimes jokes are funny on their own, but it’s when you put things together is when you realize that none of this fits…there’s no flow, there’s no theme. Even if you have a theme, it doesn’t come together.”
Hill will be brushing up his show over the next month. His last performance in the U.S. before heading to New York will be in Everett, Washington at the Everett Improv on March 23.
Hill will bring his show to Seattle, Friday, February 24th at the Jewelbox Theatre in Seattle.
For more on Ed Hill, visit kingedhill.com.
Jason can be reached at email@example.com.