Comic on humour at home and abroad
Aussie comic promises ‘silliness’ in Dubai gig
H e won the hearts of Australia as host of music trivia show Spicks and Specks, then jetted off to the UK to host the 2012 London Paralympics. From there, his The Last Leg segment continued as a popular weekly TV show on UK TV. Adam Hills is a stand-up comedian, producer, host, and father-of-two. We caught up with the 45-year-old in between feeding his two-yearold and preparing for his Dubai gig.
So you’ve got two daughters living in Australia, and your show is in the UK. Does the Hills family travel with you?
Not all the time. My eldest daughter started school about three months ago; she started in Melbourne so they didn’t come last time. I was in London for nine weeks - but we’re all going to spend the second half of the year in the UK. But in short, the five-yearold is a gold frequent flyer! So yes they do tend to travel with me a lot. I love that when we get to the airport, her first thought is ‘where is the lounge?’.
So she’s accustomed to a level of luxury?
I was talking to Richard Ayoade (English comedy actor) - he did a film with Ben Stiller, who invited him to LA on his private jet. And Richard said once you’ve gone on a private jet, you can never go back. So no matter how luxurious you go, there’s always a higher tier!
You’re a producer now. Shouldn’t that mean you can afford your own private jet?
Haha! Totally! The producing thing - I’m more about having fun, than making money. And if you want to be a producer that makes enormous amounts of money, you have to produce at least half a dozen acts, and hope that one of them does a massive (comedy) festival. As a producer, I find acts that I really like, and I want to help out. And I happily take a financial hit on their behalf.
There are people out there that I think are great comedians and I love them to have the opportunities that I had.
You produce American Jake Johannsen, you’re Australian and you work in the UK. Do nationalities have a different sense of humour?
They’re different styles of humour I think. Especially when it comes to stand up. Americans aren’t used to comedians talking to the audience and having a proper chat to them. So they get a bit thrown when you walk out on stage and ask ‘hey what’s your name?’, and just play for five minutes - which is what I love doing. On the other hand, Australians get a bit thrown when an American comedian walks out and says ‘Hey everyone, here’s my act’ and then dive straight into their act. The Aussies are like ‘Why aren’t you even chatting to us?’ In England, English audiences don’t care what you are doing, but you better be funny pretty damn quickly. And then Ireland - you can do whatever you like, but you’re never going to be as funny as the audience.
Really? You walk onto a stage in America, and ask ‘what’s your name? or ‘where are you from?’ they’re going: ‘oh my god, why’s this guy talking to me?’ You do it in an Australia and you get a bit of fun. You do it in Ireland, 10 minutes later you’re thinking wow! I might get a word in eventually.
The Last Leg features political matters. Is this a theme you’ll be using on Friday?
When I do stand-up, I rarely talk politics. To be honest, politics changes from country to country, and from month to month. I’m more interested to talk about social stuff when I’m on stage. So I’ll be talking about people’s attitudes towards death. I’ll be talking about what it’s like raising small kids. I’ll be talking about what it’s like growing up with a prosthetic foot. When I’m on stage, I prefer to talk about something that’s a bit more universal…and fun. The Last Leg, because we’re on every week, and there’s so much malarkey going on in politics, we almost have to cover it. But on Friday, there’ll just be a lot of silliness.”