Award-winning comedian Ed Hill performs at The Independent Comedy Club in Hamtramck on May 6 and 7. The tour serves as a follow-up to his 2021 Amazon comedy special, Candy and Smiley.
The full-length special — which is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and Apple TV — centers around the Taiwanese-Canadian comedian’s upbringing and explores his relationship with his parents and the values his family lived by. It was named Best of 2021 by NPR and one of the top 15 comedy specials of 2021 by Paste magazine.
Ahead of his local stop, Hill spoke with Hour Detroit about his approach to comedy, how COVID affected his performances, and what he’s most excited to do in Michigan.
Hour Detroit: When did you first decide to pursue standup as a career path?
Ed Hill: I’ve been doing standup for about 13 years now. I used to be a DJ at nightclubs, and then late hours were getting to be a bit much. Now, I still am able to perform and be a part of the nightlife, just a little earlier in the night.
Candy and Smiley came out in March of 2021. How would you describe it?
Most of the special talks about the relationship I have with my parents. I focused a lot on the concept that I am a synthesis of both of my parents. I spent a long time trying to prove that I was different from them — I’d push away their values, their beliefs. As much as I wanted to be completely unique from them, I realized that I am a combination of both of them, and I always will be. The special comes full circle for me through that realization.
We filmed the special during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I was a little distraught at first. Now I’m thankful that it happened the way that it did because it’s a sign of the times that we were in.
What new topics are you exploring in your tour?
If Candy and Smiley was a look into who I am and where I come from, the tour acts as an examination of the relationships I have with the women in my life. My mom, my grandmother, my wife, and the ultimate female figure: My motherland.
If Asia represents my father, North America is representative of my mother. I learned all my values here in North America and I grew up here, so it just takes a deeper look into the love I have for each of those things
Due to the pandemic, Candy and Smiley was filmed in front of a very small audience of just your friends and family. What are you most looking forward to now that you’re performing all over the U.S. and Canada?
This tour is the first time I will be performing in front of full, live audiences since the pandemic, and I’m excited to make those connections and feel the energy of a crowd once again. There’s really nothing better than the magic you feel in that kind of room. COVID made me consider the subject matter that I’m discussing in my shows. My dad always taught me that the words you use should have meaning, especially when people are taking time out of their day to listen to you. With my new material, I put a lot of thought into why I’m saying what I’m saying.
What else do you want to do while you’re in Michigan?
The last time I was in Michigan I checked out a Star Wars exhibit at a museum. I never thought I’d be into museums and Detroit really changed that for me. There’s a lot of culture, and it’s always exciting to be able to take that in. The food there is also really good, so I’m excited for that.
Tickets for Ed Hill’s shows at The Independent Comedy Club, located at 2320 Caniff St., are $20. Masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry. Visit planetant.com for more information.