Bronx native Joe Hill has built his legacy on shining light on others, from highlighting creatives, musicians, poets, comedians with his Come Up 365 Podcast, Concourse Comedy Club events and performances, Joe Hill is embodying his brand with the impact that he provides on and off the stage.
What fueled your come up?
Growing up with a single mother of three boys, I wanted to provide more. So I’ve always had the best of both worlds. I have always had both street-smart and I had that book smarts. Growing up as a kid, I always felt like I was naturally funny. Comedian, I didn’t really see that in any of my cards it wasn’t until producing events and to come up with something. It’s kind of like if you did you look at what Def Jam has with Def Comedy Jam but it embodies all forms of art that’s live music, comedy,and poetry. Whatever you can create or if you are an entrepreneur within that, the come up is that. It’s actually for everybody because you never stop coming up and takes a constant 365 day process that never stops even after your on you shouldn’t be stopping, you should always be trying to keep moving up and pushing closer towards your goals and things like that.
Where did the concept for The Come Up 365 come from?
I actually started hosting thru The Come Up, it all begin with my own live music events back in June 2007. Actually, we did a two nights at my aunts Club in South Carolina in Hartsville. From there, we just wanted to help artists. Artists from different cities, or even at home when I’m in Harlem and the Bronx the platform that we thrive on is based on me helping people and I think everything else fills its self in after that so for me to even look on it now just to even talk about it, when we started I wasn’t trying to do comedy; I was just trying to bring people together to have a good time. So when you do that you’ll be surprised.
I was on a date back in 2009 just the typical date hanging out in the city and went to sit in at a comedy show in downtown Manhattan. I sat back and I had this Epiphany and I said shit I’m naturally funny. With hosting you don’t really have to tell a joke, you just got to kind of keep the show moving along. So it started there, my love for stand up started with me wanting to host comedy events and then it turned into, you got to start writing because you doing all these shows now. I couldn’t have the same old material so it forced me to become a writer within that not even really knowing that I’m writing and becoming a comedian and at the same time, I’m on the platform with artists. I’m actually teaching and manifesting what I’m doing at the same time in my personal career with all the other artists that are connecting and growing with, going from from city to city with; so, it’s like a dual thing happened here. Sometimes its almost like a triple thing happening where I’m trying to do this comedian, I’m trying to be this producer but same time, I’m trying to keep an eye out for other talent at the same time.
What was a key factor that helped you on the come up?I think being heard is sometimes about who you know. When it comes to comedy and live music if you don’t have the right connects you’re not going to be heard. So I just felt like I wanted to create a platform that regardless of whatever level you are on, you can always come and jump on this platform. Where you can be seen, heard and perform or even make money put money in your pocket for free, you don’t have to sign a contract. Let’s produce them, lets build on your ideas and let’s do other stuff as well. So when given that opportunity you can see if that person deserves more than just a opportunity. Let me put them on a path right now. The Come Up to me is something I live I breathe is it’s not always about the money. Don’t get me wrong we got bills, we have things going on, but I always feel like if I can stay rich within the opportunity, I won’t even really need money; that’s the energy from why The Come Up came about.
Do you feel like Social Media cuts the grind as far as getting limelight or notoriety on stage vs on the gram?
I think social media is definitely something that isn’t for everyone. I’m gonna start with this. I think not everybody is good at posting, staying consistently or with keeping people engaged. I think the people that can and even if it is annoying but are posting consistently, those are the people that make it over time. Posting your one post on your birthday, posting on holidays, and your reunions. I’m posting on it on a consistent weekly/daily basis. This will keep your focus on my shows. With planning events, whether it’s going out with the family, sometimes we don’t even know until the week of. It’s really hard to say “Are you coming to my show next month; you might forget. Let me post something, you may not see it on your algorithm until next week, it’s one of those things that consistency builds good marketing for yourself and its FREE at the same time. There’s really no limit to how much you can post besides people saying you need to slow down, or I’m tired of seeing your stuff!
What is something people may not know about you at fist glance?
Most people don’t know that outside of being a comedian, I work in the Board of Education in New York City. I’ve been working in the school system for about 18 years, I’ll be 36 and another key thing was using my network to support my earlier shows with from my co-workers, and from parents that support me as a worker. So being that I had a network to start off, it was really like how can I add to it. So being on stage and hosting just added to that. That marketing aspect of socially people seeing your face. “Oh, that’s the guy wait a minute. I seen him at the brunch in Harlem” its all intertwined. I think using social media is very big for me because I’m still trying to find how can I do more without being annoying.
So in the world of Comedy, our culture has always held Comedians to a higher standard and are considered as the truth tellers. Throughout quarantine you’ve created other projects on YouTube that allowed Comedians to speak directly on current events unscripted and uncut.That Raw and Uncut version of the truth that media outlets won’t allow us to expose. Why do you think it is so important now more than ever to keep that flow of truth going?
It’s funny because I’ve met bigger name comedians in the span of April to now like Rodney Perry or T Ray, who I’ve known of through Comedy but never had the chance to sit and speak with them. Like, bringing them on my panel that I do every Saturday and it’s something that is giving us comedians a place that we can just show up to talk about real life topics that matter. We gonna get to the funny but I always like to talk about how you are feeling, what’s your thoughts and perspective on what was going on as a human. When you are a entertainer people expect you to respond right away, we can’t because we don’t have a damn stage to tell you it on. The panel turned into more than just questions it turns into to you checking in with your fans, and then we get to the funny! We ask different things you probably wouldn’t know about the comedians. Like, what were you like in Middle School? Or what was your worse job. Through this panel, by the end of it your connected to the guest and you become a fan.
What has been your greatest take away from being in quarantine?
I think this time has allowed me to explore other things like the panel or podcast which I started and just added to my career. A comedian said this on Facebook I’m not always first to comment on Facebook but I’m always looking to respond when I see some bullshit you can’t help but respond to. The Post read “oh, yeah, no comedy for a year and a half it’s over for comedy” I was just like “Well maybe for you but not for me!!” because I just feel like you can work on so many things outside of the stage, like do you have a website? Do you have content out that you can edit? Create some digital content, how about a podcast? I look at it like I got to work on my weaknesses off the stage so that when its time to come back to the stage I just have to focus on getting back into shape and finding my rhythm.
I’ve been in the shower coming up with ideas, back in April I decided to come out with a comedy mix tape. I said to myself you’re sitting on all this audio and everybody’s going to be home. Why wouldn’t I do it?! Just like a rapper would I created a mix tape myself, produce it myself and flash forward I’m about to release my 2nd Mix tape. This is like once in a lifetime that we got to do all the things we really wanted to do. Get organized, get ahead, get our credit together. All the things that’s going to help you when it’s time to come back to normal.
What advice would you give an Up and coming Comedian that may have never had on stage experience, and speaking in front of people?
I think the biggest thing that you would need to know as a comedian with little experience is to know and learn everything there is to know about comedy. It’s not all about learning how to be funny, I’d like to emphasize on LEARN. As an artist or a comedian I think is so beneficial that you just want to learn and be eager to learn all aspects about the business like comedy mix tapes or audio podcast ahad I know all of this 12 years ago when I first started Comedy, I would say learn and master everything about comedy from the physical part of being on stage to the business side and brand yourself, cause ain’t nothing better than working for yourself, especially with covid right? A lot of people stayed afloat because they have their own businesses and Merch and are still able to make money now. It makes you realize like if I have my own business going and its flourishing I ain’t gonna have to worry about Covid. So yeah mastering and learning the art and always remember to help others and give opportunities because the biggest thing to me is when we tend to overlook people because whatever the case may be, somebody gave me an opportunity, so I’m very grateful and then to be able to give out opportunity is everything.
Click Below to Pre-Order August 24th| Release Date September 7th Joe Hill LIVE FROM CHOCOLATE CITY