Adam Hills : biography
Adam Hills (born 10 July 1970) is an Australian comedian and television presenter. He has appeared on Australian and British television and is best known in Australia for his role hosting the Australian ABC music trivia show Spicks and Specks and in Britain for hosting The Last Leg. He has been nominated for a Perrier Comedy Award and Gold Logie Award.
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 Perrier Award nominations for his Edinburgh shows in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
In 2002, he scored a minor hit 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 famous song by Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes.
Hills entered the comedy scene in 1989 when he made his first appearance at the Sydney Comedy Store at the age of 19. He spent several years from 1991 splitting his time between stand-up gigs and breakfast radio, but by the mid-1990s Hills says the hours had become exhausting and 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. He has been nominated for three consecutive Perrier Comedy Awards for his 2001, 2002 and 2003 solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.
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!" 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." "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.
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."
Hills regularly has a sign language interpreter at his festival shows, a move sparked by a performance he did in Adelaide at a disability art conference. 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 signer shows]," he says.
Hills is best known for his role on the Australian music trivia show Spicks and Specks, which he has hosted since 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. 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 British Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week and Ask Rhod Gilbert. Additionally he appeared on the first TV edition of BBC Northern Ireland’s Great Unanswered Questions. He conducted backstage interviews at Australia’s 2005 and 2006 Logie Awards and was one of three presenters at the 2007 awards.