Dave Hill

10 Comics to Watch

Drawing inspiration from the likes of Andy Kaufman and Chris Elliott, this TV writer has turned the camera onto a gussied-up version of himself — a charming yet paranoid fluff reporter nervously clutching a big fuzzy boom mic.

Whether he’s interviewing a pet psychic or Jimmy Kimmel, Hill usually manages to derail the conversation to his own insecurities, with hilariously uncomfortable results.

“I can’t feel my nose really,” he complains to Kimmel, in the midst of talking shop about the ABC talk-show host’s past projects. As Kimmel feigns concern, Hill rants, “I had a tragedy — people are talking about Hurricane Katrina and all that shit; I cut the fuck out of myself (shaving) with a hotel razor. Look at me, I’m maimed.”

Foraging for material, Hill once dragged two friends to a Madison, Wis., bar rumored to screen kinky pics during its 6 a.m. breakfast service.

“I figured they would be showing those old kitschy movies, just girls rolling around topless or something,” he recalls. “It was actually hardcore porn — everything you could imagine, while you’re sitting there eating. It was like they had yanked all the people out of the adult bookstore and just threw them into a diner. It was really a nasty experience.”

However, while his buddies lost their appetites, Hill made sure the food didn’t go to waste. “I couldn’t get myself to write about it, but I finished my breakfast,” he says.

Buzz: In “The Dave Hill Explosion,” the comic cuts his man-on-the-street video clips with live stunts and lo-fi “Late Night”-style guest chitchat. The one-man show, running for just over a year, has gained a sold-out following at the UCB Theatre in New York.

Hill is bringing the festivities to Aspen, where he’ll also take on a second stint as a celebrity interviewer for HBO. A slew of new TV and Web gigs bow in March, including “King of Miami,” a six-episode, mock-magazine series for InHD’s Mojo men’s imprint that Hill co-created and stars in.

Meanwhile, a screenplay Hill wrote with humorist David Rakoff, “Now in Paperback,” was just sold to Park Pictures.

References: HBO new media exec Fran Shea dug the interviewing style Hill displayed while talking to star comedians for the network’s online HBOlab at last year’s Las Vegas Comedy Fest.

Celebs “are so used to being interviewed, there’s almost a boredom that comes over them,” Shea notes.

Hill surprised his hotshot subjects by blending genuine curiosity with pompous self-absorption.

“Everyone got that he was doing something different, and they endured it,” Shea adds.

Fallback plan: “My completely unrealistic boyhood fantasy was to be an NHL hockey player,” Hill reminisces. “But somehow I’ve lost the magic. I don’t know what happened — there’s a disconnect between my brain and my flabby frame.”

Click here to see the other comics on the 10 to watch list.

Click here for the Top Ten Comics to Watch photo gallery

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