Home Interviews Hunter Hill Lets Us In On The Super Secret Comedy Show

Hunter Hill Lets Us In On The Super Secret Comedy Show

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By Tyson Paul

Can you keep a secret?

Amazing stand-up comedy has been going on throughout this global pandemic, you just may not have heard about it ….until now. Back in 2013, Hunter Hill was a comedian trying to find a way to showcase his talents in a crowded Los Angeles spotlight. After a chance meeting with a small theater owner, Hunter found a way to create his own time in the spotlight. The Super Secret Comedy Show quickly became one of LA’s best comedy shows as it not only gave golden opportunities to promising comedians like Hill, but also managed to attract some of comedy’s biggest stars during that time period in Eric Andre, David Koechner, and Anthony Jeselnik. For a few years, Hill’s popularity grew immensely with every passing show. He wasn’t just sharing the stage with the best in the business, his own comedy career was quickly turning into one of the best in the business. The secret show would come to a close in the mid-2010s, as Hill would go on to become a mainstay at various comedy clubs and festivals all over the U.S. In 2020, Hunter was in the middle of a world tour with Iliza Shlesinger when he had to return to the states due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Forced to sit at home with doubts of being able to showcase his comedic talents for a lengthy period of time, Hill once again found a way to share one of his best-kept secrets.

During the summer of 2020, we witnessed the relaunch of The Super Secret Comedy Show. Social distancing limitations may have caused the show to take more of a virtual approach to comedy, but it still has managed to provide that much-needed spotlight for young and legendary comedians alike. Hill recently sat down with We Own The Laughs.com’s Tyson Paul as they discussed the return of his secret show with a virtual experience and why he feels that this time, the success is here to stay.

Every journey has a beginning, so let’s get started with your journey. How did you come to be known as Hunter Hill the comedian?
I very much feel like I am still on the journey of being known as a comedian. When I sheepishly started stand-up 7 years ago, I fell in love with it immediately. I didn’t have a car or my own place. I used to take 3 buses and a subway each way to get to LA to do sets. I was hooked. I started Super Secret Comedy Show as a way to promise myself stage time, and would often sleep in the back of the theater if I couldn’t find a ride home.

You’ve been featured at various premier comedy festivals and headlined at legendary comedy clubs around America. If you had to choose your favorite live performance moments, what would it be?
Oh, man. I’ve been so lucky and I am so grateful to have been able to perform all over the world. There are cities that always stand out like Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver. Comedy works in Denver, Comedy on State in Madison. We’ve toured through Australia a couple of times. But I think my favorite performance moment was in Santa Barbara. It was the smallest stop of the tour with only 450 people I think… but a year before the show, my wife, her family, and I had been helicoptered out of the Montecito mudslides. We were about 150 ft away from never waking up again. I had spent the year writing a joke that followed us through that day, and how we luckily made it out. So when we were able to perform in Santa Barbara, just down the street from where it all happened, I knew I’d be able to share that joke with other people who survived that disaster. I didn’t want to get off the stage. I told the joke with tears streaming down my face and was almost out of the body. After my set, Iliza’s husband mentioned he had also teared up and that he had never heard an entire audience laugh cathartically before…. that or the time I did a set in London and a firefighter who had helped us in the mudslides just happened to be in the crowd.

Tell us about your experience touring around the world with Iliza Shlesinger on the Elder Millennial Tour?
A surreal dream came true. I started working with Iliza by doing guest sets at clubs, and I’m now her full-time feature. So not only was it SO cool to tour and perform in some of the world’s most historic venues, but it was even cooler seeing the hard work and dedication to the craft that got her there. She is my mentor and one of my closest friends so getting to travel and perform all over like that is a huge gift.

It wasn’t too long ago that you were touring all around the world making a lot of people laugh and seeing things you’ve never seen before, but that all came to a halt when the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Do you remember where you were when you first heard about COVID-19 and what were your first impressions on the pandemic?
I remember first hearing and being worried about Covid-19 in late January. When we toured Australia in February airports and airlines were already starting to make some changes. Having lived through a natural disaster, my wife and I tend to take early warnings pretty seriously. Our 2020 tour was put on hold in early March. We were among the first to lose work and be sidelined by this pandemic, so I’ve been eager to get back to work.

One of your most notable jokes is when you talk about getting ready for your wedding. As surprising as it sounds, this pandemic has been the longest period that most married couples have to be around each other making for some very awkward situations. How has married life been for you during this pandemic?
So true. With me touring every weekend my wife and I were essentially in a long-distance relationship before the pandemic. Lots of new habits and routines were formed to help keep us both connected and disconnected. Luckily we have a little bit of space so we haven’t been right on top of each other.

In 2013, you developed an idea that would later become one of the best live comedy shows on the west coast. Tell me how you came to create the Super Secret Comedy Show?
I luckily, and drunkenly stumbled into an unknown black box theater one night and just happened to unknowingly compliment the owner of the space on their taste in music. He introduced himself, and I asked if I could start a comedy show. I am so grateful to have had a platform to give myself stage time to grow as a comic, and book lineups of comics that I can learn from. Still nothing cooler than me getting off stage and having a comic I watched on TV growing up have a tag for me.

The show would become quite successful, launching a few spin-off comedy shows and allowing you to become a consultant for various pilots, specials, and limited engagement. This would lead you to take a break from producing the show for about 4 years. What made you put a stop to what many felt was one of LA’s best-kept secrets in comedy?
Super Secret had built a home at The Lyric LA, but when the theater closed in late 2016 it became clear that part of what made the show so special was where it took place. So I Stayed busy by building a comedy club of my own called The Rec Room in Huntington Beach (now sold and out of my control) and had just begun producing Super Secret Comedy Show at The Comedy Store again just before the pandemic hit.

2020 was a year of complete and utter chaos. We’ve had a global pandemic, protests for social injustice/police reform, and not to mention a wacky presidential election race. For the first time ever comedians from all around the world don’t necessarily have a platform to work on their craft. Over the summer you decided to bring back the Super Secret Comedy Show in a virtual setting. What led you to make this unique decision?
They say good people attract good people, and I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by humble hustlers. I tried a couple of normal zoom shows from my garage but felt like there needed to be a way to perform and grow as a comic that allowed audience interaction. So I was thrilled when my friend Bubba Ginnetty reached out and shared his design and idea with me. Being able to bring comics and audiences back together again, bringing real laughs in real-time. Virtual shows often have such a negative association, but every comic walks off the InCrowd stage and wants to do it again.

Would you consider your show to be a comedy phenomenon?
Ha Ha!, I don’t know that I would ever consider anything I’ve built to be a phenomenon. I’d call it a necessity. But I’m thrilled to see it working. Out of a selfish need to create stage time, we’ve built an inclusive and socially responsible platform. We’ve had people from India, Belgium, and Australia in our audiences, along with people who are actively battling Covid-19. We all need laughs. We just want to deliver them safely.

When was the moment you realized that the Super Secret Comedy Show was something very special?
Then and now, Super Secret has always been this special thing where I have to try and keep my heart from catching up with my brain. To tell jokes alongside heroes of mine, to help those who need it the most have a night off and enjoy some laughs. It’s a little chunk of history that might be overlooked but it’s awesome to see it unfold in real-time.

Who has been some of your favorite comedians to perform on Super Secret Comedy Show?
Ugh, everyone haha. Arsenio Hall, Chris Tucker, Sebastian, Ali Wong, Damon Wayans, John Mulaney, Sarah Silverman, Burr, Kroll, Iliza obviously, Pete Holmes, Melissa Villaseñor, Chris Redd, Ramy Youseff, Sam Jay, Jerrod Carmichael, Jeselnik, Leggero, Reggie Watts, Andy Kindler, Todd Glass, Maria Bamford, Margaret Cho, Laurie Kilmartin, so many. Too many. I’m the luckiest.

I’ve talked to many comedians during the pandemic. Every time we get to the topic of virtual comedy shows, I receive many different opinions. I’ve heard some say that they think it’s the future of comedy, some say that it’s only good until comedy clubs reopen, and the rest just flat out hate it. Excluding your show, because quite frankly it’s different from most of the shows going on right now. What are your thoughts on virtual comedy right now and what’s the future for this form of comedy in your eyes?
Virtual or not, I think comics at every level have a responsibility to themselves to do everything they can to stay sharp right now. This pandemic has halted momentum and professional growth but I don’t think comedy has gotten any less competitive. “It’s not the same” is of course the go-to answer/complaint. Of course, it’s not fucking the same. But I think stage time at clubs and theaters is going to be even harder to get out of the pandemic, comics of every level are desperate for stage time. So I just think whatever you can do to make yourself stronger and more deserving of the stage time…. do it.

This virtual show is probably the closest thing we’ve been able to experience in regard to the electricity of a traditional live comedy club show. Comedy clubs will sooner or later reopen, but even with that being the case, do you already have a plan in place to keep these types of shows going?
I 100% think that our interactive show has a life after the pandemic. Even if it’s just giving the rest of the world a way to watch jokes develop and share some staple club and alt shows with parts of the country that don’t get to see the comedy the same way LA and NY do. We think we’ve built an inclusive platform allowing comics to do interactive shows for markets and cities that might not make sense to physically travel to.

Have you caught the eye of any cable networks or digital streaming sites that may be interested in taking your show to the next level?
Without saying anything I shouldn’t, Yes. I hope the show and concept continue to grow. It’s a great team of people that make all this happen. I want nothing but good things for all of us scrambling to disrupt the space.

Who are some comedians you haven’t worked with yet, but would love to have on the Super Secret Comedy Show?
Chris Rock, Bo Burnham, Conan, Whitney Cummings, and I’d love to maybe change Joe Rogan’s opinion on interactive shows.

The success of this magnitude can only come from a team effort. Who would you like to send special thank-yous or remarks that may have helped you make Super Secret Comedy Show possible?
Bubba Ginnetty, Mike Sheck, Brody Stevens, Casey, and Oliver Sandino, Steve-O (not that one), Mario Adato, Cam, Lil Joker, Dave, Eddie, MarrParr, Blanca, Miko, Matt Misisco, every comic who has done the show, and my Wife Ashton for putting up with my busy brain.

Where can comedy fans see videos of the Super Secret Comedy Show and when is the next show?
I think comedy is the best experienced live. So our shows don’t re-air or get published after the fact. We want you to make a night out of our show, and don’t want it to be something people consume passively.

Follow The Super Secret Comedy Show on Instagram for clips and photos from the show along with up-to-date ticket links at www.SuperSecretShow.com.

*Photos courtesy of Hunter Hill, Matt Misisco, & Eddie Soto