Hey all. I think I’ll start this announcement by saying that I fully intend to make it sound 300% more serious and dramatic than it has any right to be. Any slipping into doing this unintentionally rather than intentionally at any point is ok, because I made a joke about it at the beginning.
But I do, despite all appearances, actually have a sense of the limited importance of this whole project. We’re talking about a college political comedy troupe that I started while procrastinating on my freshman year finals, and drew the logos for when I didn’t have anything else to do during my sophomore-summer-BBC News internship. We have a little over 3,800 followers across our social media platforms. Which is fine. We did fine.
First off, we didn’t achieve what I hoped we would.
The original purpose of the Show on Day 1 was to have live weekly (or nightly?) shows taped at Georgetown. And upon announcing we were recruiting, I thought people would simply jump into giving all of themselves to this idea. Why would they do this? Our marketing and visual identity was uniquely good, and given this is a political school, a certain number of people just had to be interested in doing a late-night comedy show. Right? Definitely.
We, bafflingly, did not achieve this.
Actually, more specifically, the “original purpose” of the Show was to be my application for Georgetown’s Carroll Forum. I was rejected.
Very quickly, however, after being smacked in the face by reality (the reality that it is wildly difficult to get unpaid college students, including myself, to do work at a professional quality and quantity, unless you’re Mask and Bauble or Nomadic), I changed the mission of the Show: to give people with a variety of talents in creative media a platform to work with a community of talented people. This change was hand in hand with the dawn of COVID, which also helped us realize that we could make this opportunity available to young creatives all over the world.
And we did that.
I am beyond proud of the work that Jaz Martus (a recent Michigan State grad who is now running for State Representative in Michigan) and our team did on our five-episode biographical documentary series Trails to the Chief.
I am beyond proud of the political cartoons that Laryn Kuchta, an artist friend of mine in Michigan who’s just a first-year college student, has been doing for us for years now, pre-dating the official launch of the Show in Fall 2019.
I’m so proud of Brady Condon (COL ’25, may God rest his soul) for jumping into hosting his own segment while also going through his first year of college.
I’m so proud of Graham Hillmann (SFS ’24, who’d much prefer I’d not mention him in this, but he can sit down and shut up) for his work on “Capitol Hillmann,” an absolutely fantastic segment about local elections around the U.S. Graham, you say your friends make fun of you for “Capitol Hillmann?” Let them! You were 18. Of course you’ll look back on the videos you made a few years later and think they could be better. If that didn’t happen it would be a problem. Chill.
I’m so proud of Ender [last name redacted], who goes to college in New York City (or went? I forget how old you are, bud, sorry), who taped a multi-episode segment called “Ender’s Thoughts” that he asked me to make private a year or so back because he’s applying for something with the military and doesn’t want to risk them objecting to some good hearty satire. I can’t imagine they would. If they don’t, I’m not sure they’re worth working with. You were spectacular.
Thank you, Cheyenne Martin (COL ’21), who has been my faithful Vice President and moral support for several years now, notably during COVID. Thank you for everything, Chey.
There are so many others who have invested so much time and creative energy into the Show since May 2019. I’m so grateful that each and every one of you gave us a chance, and gave so much of yourselves to our work. Thank you. We quite literally could not have done this without you.
So while we didn’t have a nightly show taped in Village C Theatre, we achieved something that was actually possible and not insane. And still, far and beyond what I hoped for once I was conscious and reasonable. I’m so proud of us.
Even when I was being irrationally hopeful and ambitious, I was hoping that we’d become an organization with an intercollegiate, internationally-based staff creating political satire that engaged people of all ages. And we have done that. We did it.
I learned a ridiculous amount, from difficult leadership lessons to hard skills (cinematography, on-screen performance, video editing, graphic design, shameless public-facing furry art) that are enabling me to launch my actual adult career. I can credit the Hilltop Show for giving me the opportunity to exercise these skills for a platform that willingly (I hope) took what we served, day after day.
And of course that paragraph was a marketing ploy to recruit you if you’re reading this! Well-spotted!
And get this! Under all your noses, we’ve been training the incredible Carlton Zum Brunnen (SFS ’24) and Matt Shinnick (COL ’25) to be your new President and Vice President, respectively. These two have already been doing an incredible job (we’ve been switching off on who posts every couple days for the past few months), and I’m so excited to see what they’ll keep doing. They’ve already been doing the work they’ll be continuing to do… I’m just officially taking off the training wheels today.
So what will I be doing? Well, the Hilltop Show server is far too integrated into my life and muscle memory whenever I open a device at this point. So here’s my plan (and this has been thoroughly agreed to by Carlton and Matt). I’m going to stick around the server to keep pitching headlines, but that is all I’ll be doing. I really need a place to practice writing, and the server and Show offer me the perfect place to do that. I’ll also continue to use the Hilltop Show account to like my own posts.
We actually had to sit down and make a list of all the jobs I have so *I* could realize what they are, and then hand them off to new people. It’s been a really tough few years running this, folks. It’s been basically a part-time job. Maybe full-time, if you count up the hours. And now I’m leaving it behind. So forgive me if this letter sounds uncomfortably similar to “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.” I know it does. It was partially on purpose. Look, I did that joke again!
Personally, next year, I’ll be finishing the second and final year of my English MA at Georgetown. I’ll be around. I’ll also continue to serve as the political cartoonist for John Kerry’s environmental organization World War Zero.
I’ll also simply be enjoying having a bachelor’s degree now. Your predictions for what happens when you somehow get this far are correct: since graduation, men in black have been lining up at my door to hand me paper bags full of money. Neat stuff.
And now, for the mandatory and highly anticipated plug: we would also love to have you on our team next year--and can add you to our server as soon as now. All you have to do is email email@example.com with a few sentences about why you’d like to join the team. We... oh, I have to get used to this. They will get back to you as soon as THEY can. Not my job anymore.
Cheers, all. It’s been fun. And existentially exhausting. But fun.
(Now-Former) Hilltop Show President and Founder