by Patrick Strait
While most performers starting out do their best to keep their comedy hidden from coworkers at their day jobs, comedian Joe Hill had a very different outlook.
“When I first started out I was working in education in New York,” he recalls. “And my coworkers and parents would find out that I was producing shows and be like, ‘We’re coming. My kid is stressing you out at work, so we’re going to be there.’ It was cool having that network through education.”
But it wasn’t only parents and coworkers he’d run into.
“I’d be coming out of shows and seeing kids,” he laughs. “They’d be like, ‘Hey Mr. Hill. What are you doing here?’ And I’d be like, ‘What are you doing out here? I’m old enough.’”
This weekend Hill (probably) won’t run into any of his old students, as he’ll be at Laugh Camp Comedy Club in St. Paul Friday and Saturday.
Hill has been touring full-time for the past four years and ironically, started to make his move in the peak of the pandemic.
“The pandemic was a gift and a curse,” he says. “For some people, they needed that to get out of a situation and move on to the next thing. I was that way, so for me it was a great move.”
That move took him out to the Bay area of California where he has been full-time since 2020.
“When I first got there, people were doing shows on the street,” he recalls. “People were coming out in coats to watch. All bundled up in that frosty 50-degree weather. But it gave me hope for comedy.”
When it comes to his material, Hill is absolutely a machine. He’s put out four comedy albums and has an Amazon Prime special, Somebody’s Gotta Hear This, scheduled to come out this fall. Whether he’s talking about his biggest fears, doing high shit or 90s sitcoms, Hill has the energy and style of Bill Bellamy or DL Hughley (who Hill has worked with in the past), but the swagger and ferocity of a comic just hitting his stride.
“I’m 38 in dad years,” he laughs. “But I’m like 31 in NBA years. I’m in my prime and these next five or six years are crucial.”
But just because he’s hitting his peak, doesn’t mean other comics aren’t willing to remind him of his age.
“When the younger comics start calling you OG, that’s when you know you’re getting old,” Hill jokes. “I’m like, OG? I’m not even that old, am I?”
WHEN YOU GO: Joe Hill w/Bruce Leroy Williams
Laugh Camp Comedy Club, St. Paul
Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 7 p.m.
Click here for tickets