Hillary Demmon

Filmmaker and Media Consultant

Road Comics: Big Work on Small Stages

I’m always on the lookout for films and books that illuminate the stand-up experience, so discovering this honest and engaging documentary was a real treat.
— Jason A. Heidemann, TIME OUT CHICAGO

Directors: Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon
Producer: Susan Seizer
Editor: Hillary Demmon
Camera: Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon

Road Comics: Big Work on Small Stages is a documentary/ethnography that follows three “road comics,” performers who drive from gig to gig at clubs predominantly in the Midwest or the South. In contrast to performing on the coasts, these comics have ample time to spend with their audiences. In New York or Los Angeles, they might get 15 minutes on stage. In Bloomington, IN, they get an hour.

These are not the kind of TV-ready comedians you may be used to seeing. Stewart Huff, Kristin Key, and Tim Northern tell their stories about life on the road, how their careers developed, and how they view their work, interwoven with footage from their performances and commentary from bookers and club owners on the circuit.

It’s moving and thought provoking. The comics have such a raw drive to speak, be funny and connect with other human beings, almost completely outside the cultural value systems of conventional entertainment and success. They are so authentic and surprisingly thoughtful, even brilliant. The connection that (Seizer) makes with the performers is warm and appreciative... it is a wonderful achievement.
— Sarah Drury, Professor of New Media, Temple University

Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity

A much needed anecdote to much of the unsophisticated analysis of youth culture that floods our airways and our newspapers. Blacking Up wrestles with the ambiguity and the consequence of cultural borrowing.
— Lonnie Bunch, National Museum of African American History & Culture

Director/Producer/Editor: Robert Clift

Blacking Up: Hip-Hop’s Remix of Race and Identity explores tensions surrounding white participation in hip-hop. Popularly referred to by derogatory terms such as “wannabe” or “wigger,” the figure of the white person who identifies with hip-hop often invokes heated responses. For some, it is an example of cultural progress – a movement toward a color-blind America. For others, it is just another case of cultural theft and mockery – a repetition of a racist past.

Blacking Up is a co-production of Limbic Productions, Inc. and WTIU, produced in association with ITVS, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The film is distributed by NETA for public broadcast, and California Newsreel for DVD and educational streaming.

Post-production Supervisor, Additional Editing and Writing, National Publicist: Hillary Demmon

There is nothing more American than the blending of cultures — except perhaps the struggle over the blending of cultures. This film gives arrestingly provocative insights into race and American culture, and the path from fringe to center.
— Nell Minow, Film Critic
A smart, absorbing, politically biting look at hip hop’s strange career from the Bronx to the wilds of suburban Indiana, Blacking Up is provoking and enlightening in equal measure.
— Eric Lott, author of “Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class”