Age & Hometown: 34. Raised in San Antonio, Texas, Hiller moved to New York City in 2001—“It’s taken me nine years to get a job where anyone wants to interview me.”
Current Role: Splitting sides as dim-witted president John Quincy Adams in the quasi-historical rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
Laugh Whore: Although he says he knew all his life that he wanted to act, Hiller didn’t think he had what he took to make it: “I thought you had to be really gorgeous or something.” He soon discovered being really funny is far more powerful, honing his skills on the improv comedy circuit during a short stint in Denver and at New York's famed Upright Citizens Brigade while suffering through day jobs. “I always liked being funny,” Hiller says. “But when I started doing improv, I thought, ‘Maybe I’m better at this than some other people?’” He soon landed a bit part as “a literal German shepherd” in Tina Fey’s American Express commercial: “That’s when I was able to stop being a secretary.”
Showgirls & Sluts: Hiller has built a modest career with a series of offbeat, scene-stealing characters. “I’ve never been Hamlet, and I think it’s safe to say I never will,” he says with a laugh. With a resume boasting shows like Slut, Air Guitar: The Musical and Silence!—a musical version of Silence of the Lambs in which Hiller played “all the characters you don’t remember from the movie”—it must be hard to pick a favorite, but we asked him to try. “One of my favorites was Showgirls: The Best Movie Ever Made. Ever., a dramatic reading of the Showgirls screenplay,” he says. “It was cut back and forth with an Inside the Actors Studio type thing where a guy played [screenwriter] Joe Eszterhas. We got to show the genius that was 1995 Eszterhas and his coke haze. It was awesome.”
Bloody Wrong: After years on the circuit, Hiller finally landed a legit theatrical agent, who sent him on his very first audition, for an early incarnation of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. “At the time I was like, ‘Oh, this is goin’ nowhere, whatever,” he said. Now that the show has landed him on Broadway, Hiller can’t believe just how wrong he was. “When we made it to the Public Theater, my eyes popped out of my head,” he says with a laugh. And now? “I feel like I’ve fooled someone by making it onto Broadway!”