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Q&A: comedian Chloe Hilliard

BY JUSTUS FLAIR | JANUARY 29, 2015 5:00 AM

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Chloé Hilliard is marketed as a “larger than life comedian” given her towering  6-1 frame and dark afro. After competing on last season’s “Last Comic Standing,” Hilliard has taken her standup act on the road, especially to college towns; in fact, she was recently nominated for Entertainer of the Year by Campus Activities Magazine. Hilliard spoke with The Daily Iowan about her upcoming tour stop in Iowa City at 10 p.m. today in Public Space One, 120 N. Dubuque St.

The Daily Iowan: You were a journalist for a long time. Can you walk me through how that led you to standup comedy?

Hilliard: I went to college, to NYU, for journalism. I studied magazine print journalism, and I did that for 10 years. After that, the industry changed and went from long-form, in-depth stories that I loved to everything online and short and quick, and that frustrated me. So I thought, ‘I’ve done everything in journalism except broadcast,’ so I thought I’d try that.

I like to really prepare for everything, so a friend was taking a comedy class, and I decided to take it with her. I thought if I tightened that skill, I could be a really good reporter and interviewer in the field. There was a show at the end of the class and … my family and friends liked what I’d done and asked when my next show was; I didn’t really have a next one planned. I’d only had five minutes of jokes, and I had to write them on my hand because I was so nervous. I just kept going with it, and four and a half years later …

DI: Where did you pull your material from?

Hilliard: At that time, nothing was really personal because when you do comedy it takes most comics a while to start talking about their family and lives and things,so it was more observational. As a journalist I already had the skill set to notice things around me, so I just noticed funny things and talked about them.

DI: Why did you decide to audition for “Last Comic Standing?” [This past season, for the first time, there were not open auditions. Comics were invited to audition.]

Hilliard: Someone had referred me. They didn’t do an open general casting, they kind of reached out to the industry and asked for recommendations. They flew us all out to LA to audition, and if you made it past that audition, then you were on the show. I was very fortunate that after only a few years under my belt, I had people in the industry who were willing to put my name out there.

DI: What was your greatest moment on “Last Comic Standing?”

Hilliard: Getting through my first round. It’s kind of surreal because there were two different ways to walk onto the stage, and during the round before they told me to walk down these steps and I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I’m wearing 4-inch heels, and if I bust my butt, you’re going to put that on air. So I was more worried about falling than my set. Once I got on stage, I was kind of on autopilot. Each set is only four minutes, so after a minute I was like, ‘I should actually enjoy this.’ So I had to take a moment.

DI: Tell us about the tour you’re on now.

Hilliard: I’ve been doing colleges for a year. I’ve been pretty steady on the road from like August till now. [Feb. 3] kicks off 32 days straight. I was trying to pick a name for this tour, just for myself, and do a little video on it, and capture this experience, so it’s either Miles Ahead because I’ll be driving all around or, option two, Chloé’s Cross-Country Comedy Caravan.


Chloé Hilliard
When: 10 p.m. today
Where: Public Space One, 120 N. Dubuque
Admission: Free


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