Of love, lasagna and stinky fingers | Steve Hili

After amassing some great reviews for his energetic and unapologetically dirty stand-up comedy act in the UK from the likes of VICE and Arts Award Voice, Malta-born comic and DJ Steve Hili speaks to Teodor Reljic about his upcoming show ‘Burning Love. To the Ground’ which he’ll be performing at Palazzo Pereira, Valletta from November 3 to 6

Steve Hili
Steve Hili

Why do you want to burn love to the ground? What has it done to you?

A lot of people think of love as being this wondrous, beautiful, ethereal concept, that they need to spend their life looking for, this makes me sick. How do you know – I mean really know – if love exists? There isn’t any universal measuring system for love, is there? Not one that we can all agree on. It would be awesome if there was. If there was some sort of point, like a boiling point at which “like” becomes love. That would be great. You could just ask someone if they loved you and if they said ‘no’, you’d just boil them till they did. 

I know I seem to be getting worked up by all this, but to be honest none of this stuff really bothered me until about a year ago. You see, I’ve been married for nine years, and I really like my wife – but something happened at a comedy gig that made me question everything...  

On that note, one of the questions you will be asking during the show, apparently, is “what is love?” We all have vivid memories associated with THAT Haddaway song. What are yours?

When Haddaway was doing his thing, I was a young teenager trying to chat up girls and being constantly rejected. However, I refused to give up and by the time he came to Malta for his Luxol gig I had finally managed to get my fingers smelly. It was quite possibly the greatest summer of my life.  

Your fevered and filthy brand of humour has cracked through to the UK like something that cracks through things with persistent intensity. What do you think helped you achieve this career milestone, and where do you go from there?

Well, there is a very, very long way to go, but things are going well. You just need to keep at it. If the top comedians in the world are always looking to improve, nobody can afford to rest on their laurels. Also, you start to realise that there are different ways of “doing comedy”. It is a broad church, so you need to work “smarter” as well as harder. Some people are great at doing the 20 minute sets in clubs, others work better long-form. I have started to find my niche – audiences seem to enjoy the energy I bring to a night and I am really getting into MCing. At the moment, I am focusing on my one-hour shows rather than the club sets because I enjoy that more – when it is your own show, the audience has chosen to see you, whereas at a club, they want a certain type of comedy. That makes a huge difference to the dynamics of a show. 

Is there any advice you would give to the green and eager stand-up comedians from your not-so-green (but very eager… for foreign money) native country of Malta?

Write your own jokes, perfect them. Practice. Don’t give up. Don’t be a dick. Easy! 

Finally… your show promises free lasagna. I live with an Italian, and as you can imagine her lasagna is divine. Can you guarantee that your lasagna will be just as good and if not, what are the other draws of the show?

There are loads of draws to this show. 1) It is interactive – people will be asked to fill out a very short questionnaire and I’ll be referring to that during the show; 2) one of the most famous models OF ALL TIME makes an appearance (kind of), and 3) it was called “perfect” by Arts Award Voice. As far as the lasagna goes, I can guarantee that it will be very special...

Tickets starting from €10 are  available from www.ticketline.com.mt or from The Embassy Cinema Box Office in Valletta