Sunday, November 27, 2022

Fringe Review: Stupid Ed

Who: Ed Hill
What: Stupid Ed
Length: 60 minutes
Where: Players’ Guild of Hamilton (80 Queen Street South)
When: July 21-31 as part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival
Tickets: $12 + $1.75 fee at https://boxoffice.hftco.ca/event/866:594/

Ed Hill’s one-man stand-up show, Stupid Ed, looks like a typical stand-up comedy show. The audience enters, and onstage is just a stool, microphone and water. When the show begins, Ed walks on, sits down, and doesn’t move for the entire duration of the performance.

It’s a bold move- to assume that just jokes will keep the audience engaged- but for Ed Hill, who immediately disarms the audience with jokes about Hamilton (both the musical and the city)- it works. We’re immediately drawn into Ed’s storytelling prowess, which he utilizes to recall both good and bad from his childhood, all under the themes of “his truths.” These truths evolve smoothly into memories about his mother and wife- two influential figures in his life as he takes the audience along his own emotional journey.

It’s a fine line between comedy and art; one that many argue, is not a line at all. Ed Hill’s style is unique in that he delivers a comedic set on a consistent theme, but it is not long-form stand-up. While the jokes aren’t hysterical, they are consistent, and offer humbling and enlightening takes on the idea of family, and in particular, the matriarchal figures. Ed knows his material well, but the show doesn’t give the appearance of being overly polished- which works to his advantage in driving home the intimacy of the show’s topics and making it feel more relatable than it already is. Rather than comedy, what Ed Hill offers is very much storytelling as an artform, and his emotional journey is a gift to the audience that they can take away long after the show is complete.

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