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Embracing his Authenticity: Jeff Hiller’s Journey as a Proud Gay Christian

Jeff Hiller comprehends the allure of his solo production, Middle Aged Ingenue. The San Antonio native acknowledges that being on television tends to garner more favor from the audience. During his debut performance at New York City’s Public Theater in August 2023, he humorously attributed the attendees’ presence to his TV exposure, particularly his unexpected lead role alongside Bridget Everett in HBO’s Somebody Somewhere. Hiller humorously remarked, “It’s literally the only reason you’re here tonight, so thank you.”

As the show prepares for its Texas premiere at Austin’s State Theater on April 13 as part of the Moontower Comedy Festival, Hiller, who also gained recognition for portraying a serial killer on American Horror Story, may adjust his approach. Reflecting on feedback from his husband, he has reconsidered the initial statement’s tone, aiming to strike a more inclusive chord.

In a virtual conversation with Texas Monthly, Hiller, a towering figure at six-foot-five, exudes a vibrant comedic persona characterized by animated facial expressions and a lively voice. Currently situated in a Minneapolis hotel room, hastily tidying up as the camera rolls, he shares insights into his performance that evening. The coincidence of the show falling on Good Friday adds a layer of irony, considering the narrative thread tracing his evolution from a closeted theology student at Texas Lutheran University to a prominent actor.

Hiller’s show, encapsulated as “a night of stand-up about life, love, and three stories about assholes,” delves into his diverse experiences, including his tenure as a social worker in Denver. While humor infuses his storytelling, the underlying themes resonate with authenticity and relatability.

In Somebody Somewhere, where Hiller portrays the character Joel, church plays a pivotal role both in the storyline and in shaping his identity. The show, created by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, offers a nuanced portrayal of individuals in middle America, challenging stereotypes and celebrating diversity. Hiller emphasizes that the depiction of openly gay individuals in such settings is not a mere fantasy but a reflection of reality.

Raised in San Antonio within the confines of Shepherd King Lutheran Church, Hiller found solace and community in his formative years. Despite grappling with his sexuality, his unwavering passion for acting eventually led him to New York, where he honed his craft at Upright Citizens Brigade. Hiller’s journey from a struggling actor to a recognized performer underscores his perseverance and commitment to his craft.

Transitioning from supporting roles to more substantial characters, such as Joel in Somebody Somewhere, marked a significant milestone in Hiller’s career. The depth and authenticity he brings to his portrayal resonate with viewers, transcending stereotypical representations of LGBTQ characters on screen.

Moreover, his involvement in American Horror Story: NYC further showcases his versatility as an actor, embodying complex and multifaceted roles. Despite the challenges of typecasting, Hiller embraces his identity and sees it as an integral part of his artistic expression.

Looking ahead, Hiller remains focused on expanding his creative horizons, including writing and producing projects that align with his vision. With a memoir in the works and a penchant for developing original content, he is determined to carve out a space for himself in the industry, showcasing the depth of his talent and the breadth of his storytelling capabilities.