Traversing a Cultural Journey Through Comedy
Sheila Arellano, Arts & Culture Editor
On Feb. 23, Canada’s award-winning comedian Ed Hill was in Vancouver recording his third live album Son of Smiley at the Havana Theatre. Best known for his participation in AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, Laughs on FOX and TEDx, he has also made a digital impact with his tweets having appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and in the Huffington Post, among others. His album Son of Smiley propels Hill’s audience into a fun and novel journey through cultural exploration of the Asian-immigrant experience in Vancouver as he shares real stories from his life as a first-generation Taiwanese immigrant and his relationship with his father, Smiley.
Hill began his career by performing in local coffee shops and open-mic nights. From the beginning, he merged culture and comedy together which has lent him the opportunity to go on various tours around the world to destinations such as Canada, the US, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Voted Best Vancouver Comedian of 2016, Ed Hill inspires young people to believe in their passions. When asked about his emergence as a comedian, Hill mentioned he had always been involved in performance arts but was never planning on becoming a comedian. “[At first] I obtained a performance degree in piano when I was 16, and soon after I was involved in live DJing and music production for artists and creating remixes. Once I stepped away from music, I was hoping to return to the stage and that’s when I began writing and telling jokes.”
His inspiration for his third album, Son of Smiley, emerged from his hope of capturing the many ways in which his father’s mannerisms have translated into his life. “This is my third album in the last 9 years. My first album, Canasian, captured who I was as an immigrant child in North America. My second album, Weirdo Whisperer, revolved around my life as a young adult and learning to navigate through the world. Now as a 35-year-old, I realized that my relationship with my father, Smiley, has transcended beyond father and son.”
For young people who are seeking comedy as a career, Hill’s advice is patience. “I’ve learned to be more patient and enjoy the artistic process than to simply chase the fruit of success. I also want to win the lottery a lot more now,” he said humorously. “I was in graduate school and I noticed there was a class on stand-up comedy offered near my school. I decided to sign up.” He inspires new generations by speaking the truth. “To become a comedian, self-reflection and awareness are key. You are the only one on stage and if you are afraid to examine the only person with you, people are going to notice eventually. Also maybe being funny is pretty important,” he added with a smile.
Hill’s attempt at capturing the various immigration experiences in Vancouver has added to the cultural diversity permeating Vancouver today. It is important to portray various cultural perspectives to build a sustainable future, and what better way to do that than with a laugh. To continue this diverse representation, Hill hosts weekly podcasts on iTunes and on his website sonofsmiley.com. His album, Son of Smiley, will be released on all major outlets in late spring.
Upcoming tour dates are available at kingedhill.com