Stephanie Hillier
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Stephanie Hillier

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"Comedy Night"

BY PATRICIA SINDELAR

Jan. 12 Comedy Night Side Door Lounge, 3530 Leavenworth St. 8 p.m., $5, 504.3444 sdhillier.com/STEPH/ Local restaurateur Steve Jamrozy (of Flatiron Café fame) renovated a space on the northeast corner of 35th Ave. and Leavenworth called The Side Door Lounge — a place for artists of all kinds. Wednesday features one of Omaha’s up and coming art forms: comedy. Detroit native Stephanie Hillier moved to Omaha and found the stand-up/improv scene lacking. She started working open mic nights and eventually met up with the Workhouse Improv Troupe. Hillier is now the director of the WIT, and brought a mob of stand-up comedians to perform. Austin Anderson, Scott Muilenburg, Don Bowen and Max Lesley will be cutting it up, along with some short form improv from the WIT. - The Reader


"Rising Omaha comedian’s career involves national competition"

By Kelsey Haugen

Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012

Updated: Sunday, June 17, 2012


Although the comedy scene is small in Nebraska, local comic Stephanie Hillier has managed to work her way to the top, hoping it will create awareness of the community.

A couple years ago, Hillier moved from Detroit, where there are hundreds of comedians, to Omaha, where there are less than 30.

"Nebraska doesn't have a real strong comedy presence, but it's getting stronger and I'm hoping to help out in a big way," Hillier said.

As long as the weather is decent, she comes to Lincoln every Monday to perform at Duffy's Open Mic Night. Hillier has worked as an emcee there as well. In Omaha, there are more places for comedians to do stand-up.

"There is a community, though, and it's a tight community," Hillier said. "Everyone seems to know everybody, which is really cool."

Since she moved, Hillier has also put on benefit shows, joined some improvisation groups and booked many of her own private events. On Jan. 28, she performed in the Great American Comedy Festival, which consists of four preliminary shows. During the first one at the West Point Community Theater, she became one of two finalists out of eight performers.

"I really liked the diversity of the comics because they had people coming in from everywhere. They also had local people," Hillier said.

One of her favorite aspects of the contest was that the audience chose the finalists. About 250 people attended and each person had three votes.

"I got really good responses from the audience," Hillier said. "Everyone sounded like they were having a really good time."

What set her apart from the other comics was her spontaneity, she said.

"When I'm performing, I like creating a rapport with people," Hillier said. "I work off the crowd."

At the Omaha Community Playhouse, Hillier teaches comedy and improvisation workshops for students ages 10 to 17. She also leads similar classes for adults, though she finds it much easier to get kids to participate.

"It's a lot of fun because the kids have moved past the hyper stage but still want to interact with each other and do something," Hillier said.

Currently, she is competing in the "Up Yours" online contest hosted by Improv, a nationwide comedy club franchise. Since she entered, two other Omaha comics have also joined.

"I'd like this contest to draw some attention to the efforts being made in Omaha's comedy scene," Hillier said.

At the end of the competition on March 1, the three most-voted-for comics will go to Las Vegas to perform at the Improv in Harrah's. The final winner will receive paid gigs and will get to meet with an agent from APA Talent Agency. Hillier is currently in fourth place, though she is determined to make it to the top three by March.

"I really want a chance to perform in Vegas," Hillier said. "Meeting people, getting a chance to perform in a completely different element — I would love that."

Whether or not she makes the top three, Hillier said the contest has already done a lot for her. Her material has been viewed over 10,000 times and she was named the most voted comic for the month of January. She said she is thrilled with these results, as are her family and friends, who have been very supportive.

"My parents have been telling everyone," Hillier said.

Her parents vote for her daily and they tell others to also check out her material. Her video can be seen at www.improvcc.com/index.php/videos/view?id=90.

Hillier is determined to win over supporters, one joke at a time.

kelseyhaugen@dailynebraskan.com - The Daily Nebraskan


"Rising Omaha comedian’s career involves national competition"

By Kelsey Haugen

Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012

Updated: Sunday, June 17, 2012


Although the comedy scene is small in Nebraska, local comic Stephanie Hillier has managed to work her way to the top, hoping it will create awareness of the community.

A couple years ago, Hillier moved from Detroit, where there are hundreds of comedians, to Omaha, where there are less than 30.

"Nebraska doesn't have a real strong comedy presence, but it's getting stronger and I'm hoping to help out in a big way," Hillier said.

As long as the weather is decent, she comes to Lincoln every Monday to perform at Duffy's Open Mic Night. Hillier has worked as an emcee there as well. In Omaha, there are more places for comedians to do stand-up.

"There is a community, though, and it's a tight community," Hillier said. "Everyone seems to know everybody, which is really cool."

Since she moved, Hillier has also put on benefit shows, joined some improvisation groups and booked many of her own private events. On Jan. 28, she performed in the Great American Comedy Festival, which consists of four preliminary shows. During the first one at the West Point Community Theater, she became one of two finalists out of eight performers.

"I really liked the diversity of the comics because they had people coming in from everywhere. They also had local people," Hillier said.

One of her favorite aspects of the contest was that the audience chose the finalists. About 250 people attended and each person had three votes.

"I got really good responses from the audience," Hillier said. "Everyone sounded like they were having a really good time."

What set her apart from the other comics was her spontaneity, she said.

"When I'm performing, I like creating a rapport with people," Hillier said. "I work off the crowd."

At the Omaha Community Playhouse, Hillier teaches comedy and improvisation workshops for students ages 10 to 17. She also leads similar classes for adults, though she finds it much easier to get kids to participate.

"It's a lot of fun because the kids have moved past the hyper stage but still want to interact with each other and do something," Hillier said.

Currently, she is competing in the "Up Yours" online contest hosted by Improv, a nationwide comedy club franchise. Since she entered, two other Omaha comics have also joined.

"I'd like this contest to draw some attention to the efforts being made in Omaha's comedy scene," Hillier said.

At the end of the competition on March 1, the three most-voted-for comics will go to Las Vegas to perform at the Improv in Harrah's. The final winner will receive paid gigs and will get to meet with an agent from APA Talent Agency. Hillier is currently in fourth place, though she is determined to make it to the top three by March.

"I really want a chance to perform in Vegas," Hillier said. "Meeting people, getting a chance to perform in a completely different element — I would love that."

Whether or not she makes the top three, Hillier said the contest has already done a lot for her. Her material has been viewed over 10,000 times and she was named the most voted comic for the month of January. She said she is thrilled with these results, as are her family and friends, who have been very supportive.

"My parents have been telling everyone," Hillier said.

Her parents vote for her daily and they tell others to also check out her material. Her video can be seen at www.improvcc.com/index.php/videos/view?id=90.

Hillier is determined to win over supporters, one joke at a time.

kelseyhaugen@dailynebraskan.com - The Daily Nebraskan


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

I'm from a very eclectic background. I've been performing stand up comedy since I was a teenager. I've studied and performed at the Second City Detroit and I teach Improvisation for Omaha Community Playhouse after school programs.

My years of experience are sure to make your event extraordinarily enjoyable. Using a casual conversational style to not so casual topics, I provide a hilarious spin on life in Detroit, relationships, & the Midwest. My amazing writing & improvising skills allow me to tailor fit the show to the audience for maximum laughs.

I've performed in many Comedy Clubs including Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle, Joey's Comedy Club, Funny bones and Flapper's. I've been involved in Benefit shows for Red Cross, Food Bank, & Buffalo Soldiers. I've competed in the Great American Comedy Festival, the Midwest Comedy Competition, and the World Series of Comedy. At the client's request, I perform either clean comedy or adult humor of which both are outlandishly hysterical.