If it flops, head for the Hills

Co­me­dian has a lot at stake in the ABC’s lat­est ven­ture, writes Ross Brun­drett

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

IF THE ABC’s bold new ven­ture into the world of talk shows flops, Adam Hills knows ex­actly who will carry the can. As well as cre­ator and host, he holds ex­tra cred­its as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and writer for Adam Hills in Gor­don St Tonight.

Which means lots of ex­pec­ta­tions on his 40-year-old shoul­ders, but how about all those pay pack­ets?

‘‘ You don’t know the ABC very well, do you?’’ Hills says with an arch of an eye­brow.

If he’s feel­ing any pres­sure, the ami­able Hills, best known as the front­man of the durable quiz­com Spicks and Specks, is not show­ing it.

Dress re­hearsals and pi­lots have all been dis­sected and fine-tuned and ev­ery­thing is set for the first show on Fe­bru­ary 9 . . . well, as set as you can be with a show that is all about ad-lib­bing, not just with the guests, but the au­di­ence.

That’s why the show won’t ac­tu­ally be ‘‘ live’’, with film­ing on the Mon­day be­fore each air­ing.

‘‘ What I want to do is com­bine the ba­sics of a talk show with what I do in stand-up, and as soon as there is an au­di­ence in front of me, I can’t not talk to them. By tap­ing we can edit out any flat bits, it’s as sim­ple as that. It just gives us more free­dom,’’ he says.

Iron­i­cally, af­ter years of try­ing to come up with his idea of the per­fect talk show con­cept, it evolved by a ‘‘ fluke’’ when he and wife Ali MacGre­gor had their first child (Beatrice) last year. Rather than head over­seas as usual, he chose to stay at home and de­velop a more in­ti­mate stand-up show ‘‘ to see if I could ad lib with an au­di­ence for an hour’’.

‘‘ As it turned out, I got more TV in­ter­est with that than any stand-up show I’ve ever done. An­drew Den­ton saw it and said, ‘ I think you have a TV show there, mate’.

‘‘ This is my labour of love . . . my dream job,’’ says Hills, who con­fides that in an ear­lier life he stud­ied to be a jour­nal­ist be­fore be­ing ‘‘ side­tracked’’ by stand-up com­edy. Adam Hills in Gor­don St Tonight, ABC1, 8.30pm, Fe­bru­ary 9

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