You may have seen this week’s WesCeleb behind the counter at Weshop or on stage performing with the University’s only stand-up group for women and trans and nonbinary people, Hysterics. Lilah Hixson ’22 sat down with The Argus to talk about her love for comics, working in the Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Sciences (IDEAS) lab, and her time as a Weshop cashier.
The Argus: Why do you think you were nominated for WesCeleb?
Lilah Hixson: I think maybe two things: the most public location where I am ever is Weshop as a cashier, and I do stand-up comedy here.
A: Your nomination talks about Hysterics—want to talk a little about that and what drew you to getting involved with comedy at the University?
LH: I went to a lot of comedy shows as a freshman, and I went to one show that was actually on the day that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed on the [Supreme Court]. My friend and I were like, this literally sucks, so what should we do tonight? And then there was a Hysterics show. I went, and it was really fun and people were really funny. A huge part of what made me have a good freshman year was having role models of older people who I just thought were really cool and nice. I started going to meetings, and the whole first semester that I was in [Hysterics] I just didn’t perform and didn’t even have any jokes, but I was just so happy to be there. And then I did perform in the spring of my freshman year and it was really fun. If anyone at all thinks, “That looks like so much fun,” try it! You can reach me at my email [firstname.lastname@example.org].
A: Your nomination also talked about your involvement in the Comics Club and the intramural basketball team?
LH: Well, those are actually related. I was involved in Comics Club. It became a group of like four people, and we would draw comics together. That, too, was a really big part of my freshman year. They were cool people drawing comics, and I love making and reading comics and graphic novels. That’s what my thesis is about: graphic novels. Comics club is where I met two of my friends, Carmen Scott-Henning ’22 and Karen Xu ’22, and the three of us were talking one day while we were drawing. We had all separately wanted to start playing basketball, so we started an intramural basketball team, which is called “Comics Club,” and we have never won a game.
A: You mentioned your thesis and bringing comics into that—how is that going?
LH: It’s good. I’ll do another shout out to my advisor, [Assistant Professor of African American Studies] Garry Bertholf, who has been amazing. It’s been very cool to work so intensely on an independent project and have a more scholarly relationship with a professor. I even have some of my own illustrations in the paper, although it’s just a research English paper about three graphic novels that I really like.
A: How do you think your English major informs your approach to comedy?
LH: I think that being an English major unfortunately informs my jokes a lot! I started making observational jokes about grammar stuff, and now I can’t get out of it. My last set was all in rhyme—embarrassingly inspired by a poem that I read for Professor [of English] Stephanie Weiner’s class, which I’m a TA for.
A: Your nomination also mentions the IDEAS lab. What is it like working there?
LH: I work in the IDEAS lab as a lab monitor. I’m an IDEAS minor, I think, although it’s unclear if I’m going to end up finishing that. It’s just an on-campus job, but it’s a great job because I can do my homework and also make things.
A: And you also work at Weshop?
LH: I feel like it used to be more of, like, a power trip to be behind the register and be able to play my music. Also, I knew older kids worked at Weshop, so when I got a job there, I was like, “Wow, this is so cool.” Now it’s just a job, but they do pay really well.
A: Now people are probably looking up to you thinking, “Whoa, she’s so cool!”
LH: Yeah. I’m a Weshop influencer.
A: If you could give your [first]-year self any piece of advice, what would it be?
LH: I think one thing would be that even if I changed nothing about myself or my life, things just do get so much better as you get older here. Mainly in terms of housing. I had great roommates [in my first] year, but it is so tough to live in a triple—that’s just the truth. I didn’t realize at the time—that’s crazy that I was just never alone. It got better as I moved up. The things that I like—it’s okay if I like doing them only for a time, and then that time is over. If I keep liking something, just keep doing it.
A: If you’re comfortable sharing, do you know what you’re going to do after graduation?
LH: Honestly, I don’t know. Good question though, and if anyone has ideas or jobs that would be cool.
A: Do you think you’ll continue with comedy and comics after graduation?
LH: Yeah, I do hope. I think that my comedy career may be over after graduation, just because that’s a brutal world out there. In terms of comics, that’d be cool no matter what I do, if at some point I could publish some comic or graphic novel. I don’t imagine that being my job, because who can make that a job? But that would be cool.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Jo Harkless can be reached at email@example.com.