If it flops, head for the Hills
Comedian has a lot at stake in the ABC’s latest venture, writes Ross Brundrett
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