That Time I Bombed is where the Straight asks comedians about their life-changing shows, favourite comedy albums, and, a subject that any comedian will face at some point in their career, a time that they bombed on stage.
Who are you
I am a standup comedian who currently resides in Vancouver, B.C. I tour quite extensively throughout North America and Asia, and have appeared on a number of TV programs, festivals, and magazines.
I was originally born in Taipei, Taiwan, and immigrated to Canada when I was 10. My dad told me at the time we were going on vacation, so technically I am still on vacation.
Apparently, a vacation requires paying taxes.
First standup experience
The first standup show I ever performed was at a high school where I used to work as a teacher. The students I was supervising at the time were becoming restless as it was the last block on a Friday.
I decided to perform an impromptu set to help ease their agitation. It was probably pretty awful. I don’t really remember the details because I really don’t want to recall the sensation of cringing or crying in the bathroom.
Life-changing comedy show
The first standup show I ever saw happened to change my perspective on comedy: it was Chris Rock’s HBO special, Bring the Pain. A friend of mine from high school had a bootleg copy and asked me if I wanted to “see something funny”.
We hid inside his room and watched it with the door locked. His parents became quite concerned and thought something else was happening. We probably could’ve done this without closing the door or sitting on the bed giggling like two giant creeps.
Top three comedy specials/albums
Chris Rock – Bring the Pain It was the first time I felt guilty watching something so funny and the first time I learned what the “n-word” meant.
Mike Birbiglia – Sleep Walk With Me He told a fantastic story that all fit perfectly together. Also, one of the tracks on the album, "Abby", was always the first song my car would auto-play when I plugged my iPod in because of the library's alphabetical organization.
It auto-played so much that anyone who rode in my car regularly knew the track by heart.
Louis CK – Hilarious It was... hilarious. Sometimes that’s all the reason you need.
All-time favourite joke or bit
Dave Chappelle’s bit in For What It’s Worth where he talks about consulting Ja Rule during September 11. Every time my brother and I are stressed out, we would ask each other, “Where is Ja?!”
Also, I’m probably biased because I don’t like Ja Rule at all.
Something you saw that made you laugh but probably shouldn’t have
One time, we were out for a family dinner at a restaurant and we were waiting to be seated. My dad decided to show us a video of “a super model being taken hostage” that his friend had sent him. He said it was all over the news.
He played it on his giant phone on speaker and it turned out to be porn. (He didn’t know it was porn. He thought it was legitimately... news.)
The whole restaurant went silent while the video blasted its porn sounds into everyone’s conversations. I thought it was hilarious.
My cousin thought his life was over. My mom kept asking what brand of boots the lady in the video had on.
That time I bombed
About three years into doing standup, I decided to take my material on the road. I decided to do shows in Boston and Los Angeles at a number of festivals and showcases. I bombed for 14 consecutive shows.
I quickly realized that my material needed to be more universal and less locally focused. I tossed out all my material at the time and started over.
I remember calling my wife on the phone and asking her if I was delusional. She said, “You’re not delusional, you just really suck”. It was the best thing that I ever received because it forced me to work harder as a comedian.
As a result, I have improved since that time and I am happy to announce I’m now just straight-up delusional.
Ed Hill performs at The Secret Service Comedy Show: Undercover Again at the British Ex-Servicemen's Association on December 1 and at the Comedy Mix from December 15 to 17. He also headlines the Lafflines Comedy Club from March 31 to April 1, 2017.