The most valuable thing someone can give you is their time. I used to get angry after poor reviews and negative comments. During a conversation with my dad, I came to realize that even though they didn’t like my material, these people still spent a portion of their day listening or watching me. That in itself is the real prize. Anything else is a bonus.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ed Hill.
Originally from Taiwan, Ed is an award winning comic who moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, thinking he was on vacation at his father’s discretion. Since then, Ed has performed all over the world. He was voted “Best Vancouver Comedian of 2016” by Vancouver Courier Magazine, and “Best Vancouver Comedian of 2015” by Vancouver Courier Magazine and The Georgia Straight, and named “Comic to Watch” in 2018 by Reader’s Digest Magazine and in 2015 by Canadian Immigrant Magazine. He has also appeared on AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, Laughs on FOX, TED talks, Bite TV’s Stand up & Bite Me, and XM Radio’s Laugh Attack. He was also invited to perform at the Just For Laughs Northwest Comedy Festival, Comedy Masala in Singapore, Live Comedy Club in Taiwan, the Hong Kong Comedy Festival, NXNE, San Francisco Comedy Festival, and many more. Ed’s tweets have also been featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, DOSE, and Distractify. To stay up to date with Ed including show announcements and upcoming projects, please log on to http://kingedhill.com/
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1984. I immigrated to Vancouver, BC Canada at the age of 10 with the understanding that we were going on vacation. 26 years later, I am still on vacation. My birthday is also the national Taiwanese Holiday called Tomb Sweeping Day, or Grave Cleaning Day, where the family has to visit the graves of their ancestors and clean them. It was very fun singing happy birthday in an ocean of dead folks.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was in university, I worked as a DJ in the local nightclubs and as a music producer on the side. There was a moment when I felt something was missing from DJing, and I wasn’t able to tell my story. I saw a local stand up comedy class being offered near my university, so signed up for it with a full 5 minute set written and ready to go. I remember on the first day, the instructor looked at me and asked what I was doing there. I quickly found out the whole purpose of the class was to come up with a 5 minute set, and I just showed up with the final assignment fully finished like a teacher’s pet that everyone hates.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I once unknowingly performed for the Vagos Motorcycle Gang. The police showed up half way through the show, and to make matters worse, I accidentally wore their gang color (green) by rocking a pair of neon green Jordan I’s. I remember as i was walking on stage, one of the members, who had a giant scar on his face, yelled out “I like your shoes”! I kindly offered the shoes to them as long as they don’t murder me, which got a giant laugh. I have never left a premise so fast after a show.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I flew down to tornado alley in the middle of Tornado Season. The tornado touched down as my plane was taking off and threw a bus into the middle of the terminal. My luggage was lost in the wreck and I didn’t get it back until a month later. The pilots prayed as we took off, and one of the old ladies on the flight was reading a novel the whole time as if nothing was happening. The lesson is I wish one day I can have the courage of a mid-western old lady.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I continue to produce my weekly podcast, “Son of Smiley” which captures a story between me and family every week. I am also working on a television series that combines Stand up, Improv and education called “The Best Laugh” with Vancouver improv comedian Aidan Parker.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Here are the 3 reasons:
1. Diversity reflects reality. Art imitates life. When art stops imitating life, life will imitate art and this is a dangerous path to be on. Lack of diversity on screen will prime audiences to begin to believe that we live in a society where diverse or creative ideas, which are beneficial to the evolution of society, are poisonous.
2. Diversity fosters hope. It gives permissions for future generations to shine in the path they wish to, which in turn provides individuals with endless possibilities.
3. Diversity encourages critical thinking. Nothing promotes critical examinations of subject matters by presenting the same ideas with a different perspective.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Don’t sign up your website by adding “king” in front of your name. My website is kingedhill.com, because there is a street in Vancouver called King Edward, and I thought it would be a hilarious pun. I quickly realized most people don’t live in Vancouver, and now I look like a pompous ass.
2. Read your medication label before packing it for the road. Once on the road I had a really bad chest infection, and I accidentally packed muscle relaxants, instead of antibiotics. I was super relaxed in my muscles in between raging bouts of coughing.
3. The most valuable thing someone can give you is their time. I used to get angry after poor reviews and negative comments. During a conversation with my dad, I came to realize that even though they didn’t like my material, these people still spent a portion of their day listening or watching me. That in itself is the real prize. Anything else is a bonus.
4. Say something that is meaningful. My wife isn’t a fan of comedy, so everytime I tell her a new bit, she would challenge me by asking me “what does that have to do with you?”. After years of trying to underplay her inquisition, I came to the realization that what she wanted me to do was to be true to who I am, because that is what will tap into the human condition that we all experience in our lives.
5. Don’t travel to Tornado Alley during tornado season. Everything will get wet.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Live your life. Spend time with family. Tell your story, even if it may not be the most popular take.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Turn off your devices and have a conversation with someone in your life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Louie Anderson is my mentor. We met at the Comedy Store in LA, and he was kind from day one. He consistently reminded me to talk about my family, because it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, your family remains who they are, and who they are will resonate, in some ways, with every person in this world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My dad told me that “if you are going to do something, you do it till the very end”. What he meant, however, was not the fact that you should never quit. Sometimes in life, you just simply have to let go. What he understood, is that if you are going to do something, you participate. You participate fully. You participate with every inch of your soul. You allow yourself to feel every smile, endure every struggle, and treasure every moment. My parents embodied those words. They left everything they had ever known in pursuit of hope. They changed their names. They gave up their roots. They feared for their children. They did everything till the very end with every ounce of faith that they had left.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
My dad, because there is no way you can tag him anywhere. Also, he will probably make me pay for lunch.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can find me at my website http://kingedhill.com, or via twitter, instagram, or facebook via @kingedhill.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!