The Courier-Mail - QWeekend

Adam Hills

Comedian/TV presenter, 50, lives Melbourne

- Interview JANE ARMITSTEAD Spicks and Specks will air Sundays on ABC TV at 7.40pm.

It’s been seven years since you filmed a full series of Spicks and Specks. How have you all changed?

I think I’m the only one who has changed. Myf looks no different, nor does Alan although he does have a man bun now. I, however, have gone grey but I’d like to think it’s Clooney-esque. George, not Rosemary.

It was a joy. We had to make this one in stage four lockdown and could only use local talent, so we made sure to include as many musicians that represent the whole world of music as possible. We ended up with people playing ancient Chinese stringed dragons, African instrument­s that had been handed down through generation­s, as well as a huge representa­tion of Indigenous Australian talent. These new episodes are some of our best.

How does it feel to be back together? How did you navigate working and living between Melbourne and London last year?

I spent pretty much 12 months in either lockdown or quarantine. At one stage, I was hosting The Last Leg for Channel 4 (in the UK) from my garage in Yarraville (Victoria). It meant staying up all night on a Friday, rehearsing at 3am while trying not to wake the neighbours, then going live at 7am. I also presented one episode from hotel quarantine. It’s been tricky, and I’ve only seen my wife and kids for two weeks out of the last 25.

What helped you survive three different lockdowns?

Exercise. I normally play Disability Rugby League in Warrington but when COVID hit, my teammates all set each other challenges on WhatsApp. I made it my mission to cover 100km per month either walking, running or cycling, until my bike was stolen in London. When I was in hotel quarantine I still ran 5km a day in my room.

Where is your happy place?

On my mum’s back balcony on the outskirts of Sydney. It’s the house I grew up in, and the balcony looks over bushland and a valley, and whenever I sit there and take in the view I feel at home, and at peace.

What are you most outspoken about?

I get really fired up about public displays of intoleranc­e, like misogyny, racism, discrimina­tion against people with disabiliti­es.

What makes you laugh?

Really silly things. Things that I can’t explain why they’re funny. My daughters also make me laugh a lot. My seven-year-old just walked into my bedroom, held out her arms, and said “Ladies and gentlemen, the weekend” then walked out again. Cracked me up.

Best piece of advice you were given?

When I started doing comedy aged 19 I tried to do what every other comic was doing, jokes about sex mainly. Then someone told me to, “Talk about what you know”. So I started talking about what it’s like to live at home with your parents, told stories about my grandmothe­r and my childhood. I embraced who I was, rather than trying to be something I wasn’t.

What is next for you in 2021?

I’m doing some standup shows in Australia then I’m due back in London for another series of The Last Leg and then to cover the Paralympic­s (if they still go ahead). Then there’s another series of The Last Leg, as well as a New Year’s Eve Special. With current travel restrictio­ns, it’s possible I may have to spend another six months away from my family. At the moment it feels like I have to make a choice between seeing my family or feeding them.

In my younger years I was, believe it or not, a social columnist. The most anti-social columnist you would ever meet. I had an excuse for flitting off early in those days, telling people I had to file my story. Which was bull.

But even if I was only at an event for 15 minutes people saw me so it counted. In fact after one brief appearance I ran into somebody who wanted to talk about what a great night it was. “I was only there briefly,” I said. But this person claimed to have had a long chat to me later in the evening. That was, I suspect, due to the effects of alcohol.

So even if you just show your face people assume you were there all night.

Basically, if I go to a show at QPAC and

I’m not reviewing it I really only have to turn up half an hour before the show, say hi to everyone in the foyer and leave, surreptiti­ously, as they are all going in and no one would notice. I could go away and come back for interval and the post-show celebratio­ns and people would be none the wiser. And when they asked if I enjoyed the show I would say, “Let me get back to you about that.”

The best way to make an impact is to arrive at a function, make your way through the crowd nodding and waving and once you’re sure everyone has seen you, excuse yourself, say you are going to the loo, and go home. Try not to get spotted leaving though. Sounds like a plan? Of course it does.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia