Adam Hills

Last updated

Adam Hills
Adam Hills 2008 Paralympics.jpg
Born (1970-07-10) 10 July 1970 (age 50)
Loftus, Sydney, Australia
MediumTelevision, radio
Years active1989–present
Genres Social satire, observational comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, current events, disability
Spouse
(m. 2009)
Children2
Notable works and roles
Website adamhills.com.au

Adam Hills (born 10 July 1970) is an Australian comedian and radio and television presenter. In Australia, he hosted the music quiz show Spicks and Specks from 2005-11 and again from 2021, [1] and the talk show Adam Hills Tonight from 2011-13. In the United Kingdom, he had hosted the talk show The Last Leg since 2012. He has been nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award, the Gold Logie Award and numerous BAFTA TV Awards.

Contents

Born in Loftus, Sydney, he began performing as a stand-up comedian in 1989 at the age of 19, and since 1997 has produced ten solo shows which have toured internationally. He has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Montreal Just for Laughs festival, earning three consecutive Edinburgh Award nominations for his Edinburgh shows in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

In 2002, he scored a minor hit in Australia with his single "Working Class Anthem", in which he sang the lyrics of the Australian National Anthem to the tune of "Working Class Man", a song by Scottish-born Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes.

Career

Stand-up career

Hills first appearance in comedy scene was in 1989 at the Sydney Comedy Store. He did breakfast radio on SAFM in Adelaide besides stand-up gigs, and by the mid-1990s he decided to focus on live comedy. In 1997 he premiered "Stand Up and Deliver", the first of 10 solo shows, all of which have toured internationally. He has travelled widely, performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Montreal Just For Laughs festival. [2] He has been nominated for three consecutive Edinburgh Comedy Awards for his 2001, 2002 and 2003 solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. [3]

The title of his 2001 show, "Go You Big Red Fire Engine", was coined during a 1999 performance in Melbourne. Hills asked an audience member to yell his name to the audience and for the audience to yell it back, but instead the man yelled "Go you big red fire engine!" [4] The phrase quickly became an audience chant, and Hills promised he would make it the name of his next show because, he says, "it was such an uplifting and genuinely silly moment." [5] "Go You Big Red Fire Engine" later became the name of a second stand-up show and a comedy album; it also appeared in a Detroit newspaper, on a Swedish website and was yelled by Senator Natasha Stott Despoja in the Australian Parliament. [4]

His artificial right foot is commonly used as a source of humour in his shows and the comedian has been known to remove it and pass it around. However, Hills had been performing live comedy for over a decade before he made reference to his prosthesis on stage, and it was only after "Go You Big Red Fire Engine" was nominated for a Perrier Award in 2001 that he began incorporating it into his act. Hills says he felt he could too easily have become a novelty act and that he "didn't want to be known as the one-legged comedian ... I wanted to prove myself as a comic before talking about this." [6]

Hills regularly performs alongside Leanne Beer, an Auslan sign interpreter at his festival shows, a move sparked by a performance he did in Adelaide at a disability art conference. [7] An interpreter had been provided at the show, and Hills found that it not only allowed the deaf audience members to enjoy his material but was also an entertaining and fascinating experience for the hearing audience members. "Now I have hearing people who will only book [for sign interpreted shows]", he says. [8]

His influences are Chris Addison, Greg Fleet, Rich Hall, Daniel Kitson, Ross Noble and David O'Doherty. [9]

Television career

Hills hosted the music trivia show Spicks and Specks from its premiere in 2005. In late-2007, he joined the show on a national live tour dubbed the "Spicks and Speck-tacular", with appearances in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle and Perth. [10] In late 2011 and early 2012, the show hit the road again for Spicks and Speck-tacular – The Finale, appearing in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Wollongong, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. He has also made appearances on Australian shows: Rove Live , The Glass House and The Fat , as well as the UK shows: Never Mind the Buzzcocks , Mock the Week, QI and Ask Rhod Gilbert . [11] [12] Additionally he appeared on the first TV edition of BBC Northern Ireland's Great Unanswered Questions. [13] He conducted backstage interviews at Australia's 2005 and 2006 Logie Awards and was one of three presenters at the 2007 awards. [14] [15]

In September 2008, Hills co-hosted the ABC coverage of the 2008 Summer Paralympics. [16] [17]

In July 2009, Hills appeared in Thank God You're Here ; he also appeared on Good News Week .

Hills presented his own weekly talk show, Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight , on the ABC from early-2011. [18] In 2012 it was renamed Adam Hills Tonight and ended with its third-season finale on 31 July 2013. [19]

In 2012, he was part of the UK Channel 4 TV commentary team for the London 2012 Summer Paralympics, [20] and hosted a daily alternative review of each day's events, The Last Leg , with Alex Brooker and comedian Josh Widdicombe. [21] The Last Leg was renewed for seven episodes in 2013, then extended to nine episodes, [22] beginning on 25 January 2013. The 200th edition aired on 6 December 2019. Hills hosted the panel game Monumental for BBC Northern Ireland in 2013.

In August 2013, it was announced that Hills would present a special one-off revival episode of Channel 4's quiz show, Fifteen to One . [23] This was broadcast on 20 September 2013, as part of the channel's 1980s-themed Back to the Future weekend of programmes. [24] He was credited under the name "Adam C. Hills" in a tribute to the original presenter, William G. Stewart. In 2014, Hills returned to present four more celebrity specials; a full daytime series was hosted by Danish-born comedian Sandi Toksvig. [25]

In 2016, Hills voiced Buddy Pendergast in Thunderbirds Are Go . [26]

Other work

In 2002, Hills released a single titled "Working Class Anthem", in which he sang the lyrics of the Australian National Anthem, "Advance Australia Fair", to the tune of "Working Class Man", a famous song by iconic Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes. Around 40 comedians contributed to the song, which made the independent top 10 in Australia. All proceeds went to the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, an organisation supported by Barnes and Jon Bon Jovi that supports firefighters. Hills has performed the song several times on television, including a performance honouring Barnes' guest appearance on Spicks and Specks. [27]

Between 2003 and 2005, Hills wrote as a columnist for the BBC's disability website Ouch!. [28]

Hills published a memoir, Best Foot Forward, in 2018. [29]

Solo shows

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryResultWork
2006 Logie Awards Most Popular New Male TalentNominated Spicks and Specks
Most Outstanding New Talent Nominated
2008 Most Popular Personality on TV Nominated
Most Popular PresenterNominated
2009 Most Popular Personality on TVNominated
Most Popular PresenterNominated
2010 Most Popular Personality on TVNominated
Most Popular PresenterNominated
2011 Most Popular Personality on TVNominated
Most Popular PresenterNominated
2012 Most Popular Personality on TVNominated Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight / Spicks and Specks
Most Popular PresenterWon
2013 Logie Awards Most Popular Personality on TVNominated Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight
Most Popular PresenterNominated
British Comedy Awards Best Breakthrough ArtistWon
Best Comedy Entertainment ProgramNominated The Last Leg
2014 Logie Awards Most Popular PresenterNominated
British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Entertainment PersonalityNominated
Best Comedy Entertainment ProgramNominatedThe Last Leg
2015 Royal Television Society AwardsBest Entertainment ProgramWon
2017 British Academy Television Awards Best Entertainment PerformanceNominated
2018 Best Entertainment PerformanceNominated

Personal life

Hills playing for the Warrington Wolves PDRL side in 2019 Adam Hills.jpg
Hills playing for the Warrington Wolves PDRL side in 2019

Hills was born in the southern Sydney suburb of Loftus. [31] Hills was born without a right foot and wears a prosthesis, which has become a frequent source of comedy in his act. [8] He studied for a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) at Macquarie University, graduating in 1991.

In December 2009, Hills married opera soprano Ali McGregor. [32] They have two daughters and live in London. [33]

Hills participated in the Australian version of the program Who Do You Think You Are? ; his episode debuted on 2 April 2013 and explored Hills's Austrian and Maltese roots, with a Maltese ancestor of his turning out to be a pirate. [34]

Hills is a supporter of his hometown rugby league club the South Sydney Rabbitohs. [35]

In 2017, he set up the Warrington Wolves Physical Disability rugby league team. In August 2018, he played in their World Club Challenge vs South Sydney Rabbitohs winning 34–12. [36] [37]

In February 2020, Hills became Ambassador for The Children's Trust, a British charity for children with brain injury and neurodisability. [38] He first became involved with The Children's Trust when he visited the charity in 2014 to meet Seb, a nine-year-old boy who had a severe brain injury and leg amputation following a road traffic accident. [39] He has also supported five annual comedy shows at The Comedy Store for the charity. [40]

In April 2020, Australia Post released a set of stamps recognising Australian Legends of Comedy, [41] with Hills appearing on one of the stamps. [42]

Related Research Articles

Dave Hughes Australian stand-up comedian and a radio and television presenter

David William Hughes is an Australian stand-up comedian, television and radio presenter living in Sydney.

Myf Warhurst

Myfanwy Warhurst is an Australian radio announcer and television personality living in Melbourne, best known for her work at Triple J and on ABC Television's long-running music-themed quiz show Spicks and Specks. Before her career as a radio announcer and TV personality, she was editor-in-chief of Melbourne street press Inpress. Warhurst is currently Australia's commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest alongside Joel Creasey and the co-host of the weekly arts and culture podcast Bang On and she is an actress who plays Aunt Trixie in the children's show Bluey.

Colin Lane Australian comedian and actor

Colin Stuart Lane is an Australian comedian, actor and TV host living in Melbourne, best known for being one-half of comedy duo Lano and Woodley.

<i>Spicks and Specks</i> (TV series)

Spicks and Specks is an Australian music-themed comedic television quiz show. It aired on ABC1 at 8:30pm on Wednesday nights, with the show repeated on Thursdays on ABC2 at 8pm. The previous year's season was repeated every Friday at 2:30pm on ABC1. Currently, repeats of the show screen at 7:30pm weeknights on ABC TV Plus. It was filmed at ABC Melbourne's studios in Gordon Street, Elsternwick. The program has won three Logie Awards and numerous nominations. In August 2019, it was announced that the series will return with the original hosts for a four-episode reboot in November 2019 and continuing in 2020. In 2020, it was announced that the show would be returning for a full season reboot with the original cast, airing 18 April 2021.

Eddie Perfect Australian actor and comedian

Eddie Perfect is an Australian singer-songwriter, pianist, comedian, writer and actor.

Akmal Saleh Australian comedian

Akmal Saleh is an Egyptian Australian comedian and actor. He was born in Egypt and arrived in Sydney with his family in 1975 at the age of 11. He has been performing comedy since the early 1990s and his live shows have toured comedy festivals both within Australia and internationally. He has also made guest appearances on numerous Australian television series such as Superwog.

Julia Morris Australian comedian

Julia Carolyn Margaret Morris is an Australian comedian, television presenter, actress, writer and producer who has worked extensively in Australian television and radio, touring the country with her solo comedy shows. She relocated to the United Kingdom in 2000, appearing on British television, then returned to Australia in 2007. She lived on the Central Coast for her childhood.

Cal Wilson is a New Zealand stand-up comedian, author, radio and television presenter living in Melbourne, Australia.

David O'Neil is an Australian stand-up comedian, actor, bass guitarist, writer, television and radio presenter.

Felicity Ward Australian comedian

Felicity Ward is an Australian comedian, best known for her TV appearances on Spicks and Specks, Thank God You're Here, Good News Week and as a writer/performer in the Channel 10 Network television programme The Ronnie Johns Half Hour. She is a part of The 3rd Degree, who made and starred in The Ronnie Johns Half Hour.

Sammy J Australian comedian

Sam McMillan is an Australian musical comedian, satirist, writer and radio presenter who performs under the stage name Sammy J. He embraces a variety of media in his comedy, including the use of video and self-composed music, and frequently collaborates with Randy the purple puppet. He has released several CDs and DVD compilations of his work; most recently the album Symphony in J Minor which was nominated for Best Comedy Release at the 2019 ARIA Awards. He has performed at comedy festivals in Australia, Edinburgh and Montreal, and has appeared on various Australian television shows, including Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane, a sitcom based on the duo's touring show of the same name. He currently produces a weekly political sketch for ABC Television, satirising the news through various characters.

Hannah Gadsby Australian comedian, actor and writer

Hannah Gadsby is an Australian comedian, writer, actress and television presenter. She rose to prominence after winning the national final of the Raw Comedy competition for new comedians in 2006, and has since toured internationally as well as appearing on television and radio.

Adam Richard is an Australian comedian, actor, radio presenter, writer and media personality, best known co-writing and starring in Outland, an ABC1 comedy series about a group of LGBT sci-fi geeks. Richard was also a team captain on the 2014 revival of music quiz and live music performance show Spicks and Specks, and a permanent panel member on the Doctor Who-themed 2017 show Whovians.

Celia Pacquola Australian comedian and actor

Celia Pacquola is an Australian comedian, writer, presenter and actor who performs predominantly in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Lawrence Mooney is an Australian comedian, actor, writer, television and radio presenter.

<i>Spicks and Specks</i> (2014 TV series) Australian quiz show television series

Spicks and Specks is an Australian music-themed comedic television quiz show, a revival of the original Spicks and Specks series that was telecast on ABC1 for seven seasons and 277 episodes.

Josh Earl is an Australian stand-up comedian, television and radio presenter, musician and formerly worked in a school library. He was the presenter of the comeback version of the ABC's musical quiz show Spicks and Specks that ran from 5 February to 19 December 2014.

Andrew McClelland is an Australian comedian, writer and DJ from Melbourne, Victoria.

Karl Chandler (comedian) Australian writer and entertainer

Karl Chandler is an Australian writer and entertainer. He co-hosts the popular comedy podcast The Little Dum Dum Club with Tommy Dassalo.

Genevieve "Gen" Fricker is an Australian stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and radio presenter.

References

  1. "Spicks and Specks will return with new episodes this April" by Dan Condon, ABC Double J, 16 March 2021
  2. Elliott, Tim (28 June 2008). "Mr Nice Guy". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  3. Staff writer. "Adam Hills". Chortle. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  4. 1 2 Burgess, Marissa (14 October 2004). "Hill Be Back". Manchester Evening News . Retrieved 19 August 2008.[ dead link ]
  5. Whittaker, Andrea. "Adam Hills". Reach Out!. Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  6. Scott-Norman, Fiona (5 April 2006). "Unspeakably Funny". The Age . Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  7. Hills, Adam (6 August 2003). "Sign Here If You're Normal". Ouch!. Archived from the original on 7 December 2003. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  8. 1 2 Di Fonzo, Benito (18 May 2007). "Adam Hills: Joymonger". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  9. Wendy Harmer on men and talk radio; Adelaide Now; April 27, 2013
  10. Braithwaite, Alyssa (22 August 2007). "Spicks and Specks to hit the road". NEWS.com.au. Archived from the original on 28 July 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  11. "BBC One – Ask Rhod Gilbert, Series 1, Episode 5". BBC. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  12. Adam Hills at IMDb
  13. "BBC One – Great Unanswered Questions, Series 1, Episode 1". BBC.
  14. Enker, Debbie (24 May 2006). "Hills Hoist". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  15. Sydney Confidential (23 May 2007). "Fifi reluctant star on box". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  16. Metlikovec, Jane (19 June 2008). "Comedian Adam Hills to host Paralympics". Herald Sun. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  17. "Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games: The ABC TV Sports's Team in Beijing". ABC TV online. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  18. "Adam Hills to host ABC talk show". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 2 December 2010. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  19. AAP, Staff writer (28 November 2013). "Adam Hills calls it quits from ABC series Adam Hills Tonight". The Age . Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  20. "Channel 4 assembles groundbreaking Paralympic presenting team", Channel 4, 28 February 2012
  21. "The Last Leg With Adam Hills". Metro. UK. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  22. "Risking laugh and limb pays off" by Paul Kalina, The Sydney Morning Herald , 21 February 2013
  23. "Fifteen To One in Channel 4 comeback for special show during 1980s weekend". Daily Mirror . 14 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  24. "Back to the Future". Channel 4 Press. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  25. "Fifteen to One to return for full series and celebrity specials". Digital Spy . Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  26. "News – Thunderbirds Are Go".
  27. Staff writer (22 January 2003). "Disco Inferno". Chortle. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  28. "Adam Hills". Ouch!. 21 November 2005. Archived from the original on 22 December 2005. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  29. "Book Review: Adam Hills' Best Foot Forward proves that he is an elder statesman of comedy" by Natalie Salvo, theaureview.com, 20 August 2018
  30. "Clown Heart, Adam Hills – Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015". comedyfestival.com.au. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015.
  31. Dunn, Amanda (30 January 2011). "Up and Adam". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  32. "Wedding caps a top month for Adam Hills", The Daily Telegraph (28 January 2010)
  33. "Comedian Adam Hills won't be hosting Adam Hills Tonight in 2014". News.com.au. News Ltd. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  34. Knox, David (2 March 2013). "Returning: Who Do You Think You Are?". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  35. "Adam Hills – My Souths Story". South Sydney Rabbitohs. 22 January 2018.
  36. "Andrew Johns will come out of retirement for a one-off rugby league game with Warrington". Fox Sports. 25 August 2018.
  37. "Warrington Wolves PDRL team win World Club Challenge". Warrington Guardian . 30 August 2018.
  38. "Our ambassadors | The Children's Trust". www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk.
  39. "Comedian Adam Hills visits leading charity for children with brain injury | News and Blogs". Brain Injury Hub.
  40. "The Children's Trust Chortle". The Children's Trust.
  41. "Australian Legends of Comedy". Australia Post Collectables. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  42. "Superstars of comedy honoured in this year's Australia Post Legends Awards". www.9news.com.au. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Adam Hills and his memoir Best Foot Forward on YouTube, Matter of Fact with Stan Grant , ABC News