Chloé Hilliard grew up in predominantly hasidic Jewish south Williamsburg. Her family was one of a handful (“like, one hand”) of black families, and it wasn’t until she was 13 and “ready to become a woman at her bat mitzvah” that her mom explained, “we’re black.” It only complicated things slightly that Hilliard’s family was Pentecostal, with full-blown speaking in tongues and falling to the floor at church—she describes the services as “Olympic.”
Hilliard started in journalism, working as Managing Editor and Social Media Manager at Vibe and as a staff writer at Village Voice. Since then, she’s made appearances on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Last Comic Standing, and at Gotham Comedy Club. On a recent episode of The Weekly (essentially an Australian Last Week Tonight) she broke down the current political confusion in the U.S. Here’s how she explained Bernie’s Bird: “That’s some Jesus meets Noah’s Ark meets Dr. Doolittle campaign magic.” On another skit with fellow Brooklyn comic Hadiyah Robinson, Hilliard plays a basic b version of herself, proffering The Best Advice Ever as author of Bitch! Get It Together. Do not take any of their advice.
Advice you should take? Hilliard tweeted: “Y’all better make sure James Franco isn’t cast to play Prince.”
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
I wasn’t a silly kid. Actually, I was very reserved but if you were in ear shot you would heard my sarcasm and wit. In junior high school, my math teacher was trying to explain a theory. He asked the class, as an analogy, “What is Michael Jordan known for?” And I yelled out “Gambling!” He couldn’t help but laugh. He did kick me out of the class.
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
The toughest part is feeling as though you are missing out on something great. There are so many shows and comics here it’s hard know them all. And that’s the thing about comedy especially when you still making a name for yourself. You need to get out and be seen. The best thing is, you can literally perform every single night in Brooklyn, no need to cross the bridge anymore.
Who do you find funny?
Of course there the legends that everyone name drops: Pryor, Chapelle, Carlin. I like them but the comic who I most relate to is Marsha Warfield. She was a writer for Pryor and an actress on Night Court. When it comes to present day comics I like Maria Bamford, Roy Wood Jr, Trevor Noah, Pat Brown, Kurt Metzger, Joe Machi, Hadiyah Robinson.
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I recently heard a very well crafted pussy joke. Had to do with pussy being served at a fancy dinner party. You had to be there.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
World dominance. Or to at least be mentioned as one of the funniest alongside men.
And finally: What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
Don’t have one.
To see 49 more Brooklyn’s funniest people, click here.
Photo by Nicolas Maloof.