Paste Magazine – The 10 Best Comedy Specials of 2021

#7.   Ed Hill: Candy and Smiley


Ed Hill’s first ever comedy special, originally slated to tape in March of 2020, received the COVID treatment. In his case, this meant a closed set for filming with just a handful of family and friends. They sit in a circle for the entirety of the set, AA-style, facing Hill. The Taiwanese Canadian comedian maximizes the emotional impact of this support group-type set up, and his hour is all the better for it. This isn’t a laugh-a-minute set, and that’s not Hill’s aim, either. He takes his time letting anecdotes unfurl themselves. Candy and Smiley is loosely structured around nuggets of wisdom Hill imparts about goodbyes, differences and other certainties of life. None of them are particularly earth-shattering, but most truths in life aren’t. Hill himself knows that well; he recalls vowing as a teenager that he’d be different from his parents, who themselves immigrated to Canada in search of a different life. No matter how much we try to separate ourselves from our origins, those inevitabilities catch up with us sooner or later.—Clare Martin