Adam Christopher Hills MBE (born 10 July 1970) is an Australian comedian, radio and television presenter. In Australia, he hosted the music quiz show Spicks and Specks from 2005 to 2011, and again in 2021 onwards,[2] and the talk show Adam Hills Tonight from 2011 to 2013. In the United Kingdom, he has hosted the talk show The Last Leg since 2012. He has been nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award, the Gold Logie Award and numerous BAFTA TV Awards.

Adam Hills
Hills in 2008 at the Paralympic Village
Birth nameAdam Christopher Hills[1]
Born (1970-07-10) 10 July 1970 (age 53)
Loftus, Sydney, Australia
MediumTelevision, radio
Years active1989–present
GenresSocial satire, observational comedy
Subject(s)Everyday life, current events, disability
(m. 2009)
Notable works and roles

Born in Loftus, Sydney, 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 Edinburgh Award nominations for his Edinburgh shows in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

In 2002, he scored a minor hit in Australia 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 song by Scottish-born Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes.

Hills playing for the Warrington Wolves PDRL side in 2019

Personal life edit

Hills was born in the southern Sydney suburb of Loftus.[3] Hills was born without a right foot and wears a prosthesis, which has become a frequent source of comedy in his act.[4] He studied for a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) at Macquarie University, graduating in 1991.[5] The university awarded their 2018 Alumni Award to Hills.[6]

In December 2009, Hills married opera soprano Ali McGregor.[7] They have two daughters and lived in London until just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when McGregor and their daughters moved back to her hometown of Melbourne, with Hills staying in London during filming periods of The Last Leg.[8][9]

When researching his ancestry for the SBS television show Who Do You Think You Are?, broadcast on 2 April 2013, Hills found that several generations of his ancestors had been German burghers in what was then Sankt Sebastiansberg in Austrian Bohemia (now Hora Svatého Šebestiána in the Czech Republic), with his great-grandfather naturalising as an Australian citizen shortly after the start of World War I.[10] He also found that another ancestor who died in 1511 had been a notary in Aragonese-Sicilian Malta and had funded corsairs (pirates).[10][11]

Hills is a supporter of his hometown rugby league club the South Sydney Rabbitohs.[12]

In 2017, Hills helped set up the Warrington Wolves Physical Disability rugby league team. In August 2018, he played in their World Club Challenge vs the South Sydney Rabbitohs, winning 34–12.[13][14] Hills was also a member of Australia's team for the inaugural PDRL World Cup, as well as a spokesperson for the event.[15]

In February 2020, Hills became Ambassador for The Children's Trust, a British charity for children with brain injury and neurodisability.[16] He first became involved with The Children's Trust when he visited the charity in 2014 to meet Seb, a nine-year-old boy who had a severe brain injury and leg amputation following a road traffic collision.[17] He has also supported five annual comedy shows at The Comedy Store for the charity.[18]

In April 2020, Australia Post released a set of stamps recognising Australian Legends of Comedy,[19] with Hills appearing on one of the stamps.[20]

Hills was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to Paralympic sport and disability awareness.[21][22] He was granted permanent residency in the UK in 2022.[23]

In 2023, Hills received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Chester, for contributions to comedy and disability advocacy.[24]

Guiness Record Holder for: The fastest time to put on five jumpers by a team is 34.43 seconds, achieved by Alex Brooker (UK), Adam Hills (Australia) and Josh Widdicombe (UK) on the New Year's Eve Special of The Last Leg (Channel 4) at Television Centre, London, UK, on 31 December 2023.[25]

Career edit

Stand-up career edit

Hills first appearance in comedy scene was in 1989 at the Sydney Comedy Store. He did breakfast radio on SAFM in Adelaide, as well as stand-up gigs and, by the mid-1990s, he decided to focus on live comedy. His first solo show premiered in 1997 and was called "Stand Up and Deliver", taking its name from an Adam and the Ants song. He has travelled widely, performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Montreal Just For Laughs festival.[26] He has been nominated for three consecutive Edinburgh Comedy Awards for his 2001, 2002 and 2003 solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.[27]

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!"[28] 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."[29] "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.[28]

Hills' 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, he 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".[30]

At his festival shows, Hills regularly performs alongside Leanne Beer, an Auslan sign interpreter, a move sparked by a performance he did in Adelaide at a disability art conference.[31] 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 sign interpreted shows]", he says.[4]

Some of his influences include Chris Addison, Greg Fleet, Rich Hall, Daniel Kitson, Ross Noble and David O'Doherty.[32]

Television career edit

Hills hosted the music trivia show Spicks and Specks from 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.[33] 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 UK shows: Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week, QI and Ask Rhod Gilbert.[34][35] Additionally, he appeared on the first TV edition of BBC Northern Ireland's Great Unanswered Questions.[36] He conducted backstage interviews at Australia's 2005 and 2006 Logie Awards and was one of three presenters at the 2007 awards.[37][38]

In September 2008, Hills co-hosted the ABC coverage of the 2008 Summer Paralympics.[39][40]

In July 2009, Hills appeared in Thank God You're Here; he also appeared on Good News Week.

Hills presented his own weekly talk show, Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight, on the ABC from early-2011.[41] In 2012 it was renamed Adam Hills Tonight and ended with its third-season finale on 31 July 2013.[42]

In 2012, he was part of the UK Channel 4 TV commentary team for the London 2012 Summer Paralympics,[43] and hosted a daily alternative review of each day's events, The Last Leg with Adam Hills, with Alex Brooker and comedian Josh Widdicombe.[44] The show was renamed The Last Leg, and was adapted for a weekly schedule to cover a comedic wrap-up of the week's events. The Last Leg has since been renewed for multiple series each year, with the 300th episode airing in March 2023.

In 2013, Hills hosted the panel game Monumental for BBC Northern Ireland. In August 2013, it was announced that Hills would present a special one-off revival episode of Channel 4's quiz show, Fifteen to One.[45] This was broadcast on 20 September 2013, as part of the channel's 1980s-themed Back to the Future weekend of programmes.[46] He was credited under the name "Adam C. Hills" in a tribute to the original presenter, William G. Stewart. In 2014, Hills returned to present four more celebrity specials; a full daytime series was hosted by Danish-born comedian Sandi Toksvig.[47]

In 2014, Hills co-starred in Die On Your Feet, an Australian TV series starring several real-life comedians as fictional comics at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

In 2016, Hills voiced Buddy Pendergast in Thunderbirds Are Go.[48]

In February 2022 he began hosting the Super League coverage on Channel 4.

Other work edit

In 2002, Hills released a single titled "Working Class Anthem", in which he sang the lyrics of the Australian National Anthem, "Advance Australia Fair", to the tune of "Working Class Man", a famous song by iconic Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes. Around 40 comedians contributed to the song, which made the independent top 10 in Australia. All proceeds went to the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, an organisation supported by Barnes and Jon Bon Jovi that supports firefighters. Hills has performed the song several times on television, including a performance honouring Barnes' guest appearance on Spicks and Specks.[49]

Between 2003 and 2005, Hills wrote as a columnist for the BBC's disability website Ouch!.[50]

Hills published a memoir, Best Foot Forward, in 2018.[51] His first book for children, "Rock Star Detectives", was published in February 2022. A second book in the series, titled "Murder at the Movies", was released in February 2023,[52] and a third book is currently in the works.[53]

In 2019, Adam Hills: Take His Legs was released, a sports documentary that follows the birth of the Warrington Wolves physical disability rugby league team from its creation, to the first PDRL World Club Challenge. In August 2023, a sequel documentary about the inaugural PDRL World Cup was released, titled Adam Hills: Grow Another Foot.[54]

Also in 2023, Hills narrated and executive produced Amputating Alice, a documentary about the journey of British Paralympic swimmer Alice Tai, who competed in the 2022 Commonwealth Games less than a year after having her right leg amputated.[55]

In March 2023, Hills partnered with Scott Hallsworth to open a permanent Freak Scene restaurant in Parsons Green in London.[56]

Solo shows edit

  • Stand Up and Deliver (1997)
  • Life Is Good (1998)
  • My Own Little World (1999)
  • Goody Two Shoes (2000)
  • Go You Big Red Fire Engine (2001) – Perrier nominee
  • Happy Feet (2002) – Perrier nominee
  • Cut Loose (2003) – Perrier nominee
  • Go You Big Red Fire Engine 2: Judgement Day (2004)
  • Characterful (2006)
  • Joymonger (2007)
  • Inflatable (2009)
  • Mess Around (2010)
  • Adam Hills Stands Up Live (2012)
  • Happyism (2013)
  • Clown Heart (2015)[57]
  • Shoes Half Full (2021)

Discography edit

Charting singles edit

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions
"Working Class Anthem" 2002 59

Awards and nominations edit

ARIA Music Awards edit

The ARIA Music Awards are a set of annual ceremonies presented by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), which recognise excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of the music of Australia. They commenced in 1987.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2011 Inflatable Best Comedy Release Nominated [59]

Television edit

Year Award Category Result Work
2006 Logie Awards Most Popular New Male Talent Nominated Spicks and Specks
Most Outstanding New Talent Nominated
2008 Most Popular Personality on TV Nominated
Most Popular Presenter Nominated
2009 Most Popular Personality on TV Nominated
Most Popular Presenter Nominated
2010 Most Popular Personality on TV Nominated
Most Popular Presenter Nominated
2011 Most Popular Personality on TV Nominated
Most Popular Presenter Nominated
2012 Most Popular Personality on TV Nominated Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight/Spicks and Specks
Most Popular Presenter Won
2013 Logie Awards Most Popular Personality on TV Nominated Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight
Most Popular Presenter Nominated
British Comedy Awards Best Breakthrough Artist Won
Best Comedy Entertainment Program Nominated The Last Leg
2014 Logie Awards Most Popular Presenter Nominated
British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Entertainment Personality Nominated
Best Comedy Entertainment Program Nominated The Last Leg
2015 Royal Television Society Awards Best Entertainment Program Won
2017 British Academy Television Awards Best Entertainment Performance Nominated
2018 Nominated

References edit

  1. ^ "Adam Christopher HILLS personal appointments - Find and update company information - GOV.UK".
  2. ^ "Spicks and Specks will return with new episodes this April" by Dan Condon, ABC Double J, 16 March 2021
  3. ^ Dunn, Amanda (30 January 2011). "Up and Adam". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b Di Fonzo, Benito (18 May 2007). "Adam Hills: Joymonger". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Adam Hills", Alumni, Macquarie University. Picture
  6. ^ "Adam Hills – 2018", Macquarie Alumni Award winners
  7. ^ "Wedding caps a top month for Adam Hills". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. 28 January 2010. Archived from the original on 19 July 2013.
  8. ^ Vickery, Colin (27 November 2013). "Comedian Adam Hills won't be hosting Adam Hills Tonight in 2014". Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  9. ^ S04 EP6: Adam Hills, 11 February 2022, retrieved 6 October 2022
  10. ^ a b Who Do You Think You Are?: Season 5 Episode 4 — Adam Hills. SBS. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  11. ^ Knox, David (2 March 2013). "Returning: Who Do You Think You Are?". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Adam Hills – My Souths Story". South Sydney Rabbitohs. 22 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Andrew Johns will come out of retirement for a one-off rugby league game with Warrington". Fox Sports. 25 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Warrington Wolves PDRL team win World Club Challenge". Warrington Guardian. 30 August 2018.
  15. ^ "PDRL World Cup: England, Australia, Wales, New Zealand compete in first event". BBC Sport. 21 October 2022. Archived from the original on 21 October 2022.
  16. ^ "Our ambassadors | The Children's Trust".
  17. ^ "Comedian Adam Hills visits leading charity for children with brain injury | News and Blogs". Brain Injury Hub. Archived from the original on 17 February 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  18. ^ "The Children's Trust Virtual Chortle in association with The Comedy Store". The Children's Trust. 2020.
  19. ^ "Australian Legends of Comedy". Australia Post Collectables. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Superstars of comedy honoured in this year's Australia Post Legends Awards". 15 April 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  21. ^ "No. 63571". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 2022. p. N20.
  22. ^ "New Year Honours 2022: Jason Kenny receives a knighthood and Laura Kenny made a dame". BBC Sport. 31 December 2021.
  23. ^ Hallam, Katy (9 December 2022). "The Last leg's Adam Hills makes huge announcement about his life in UK". BirminghamLive. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  24. ^ "Stars and graduates honoured in University of Chester ceremonies". Chester and District Standard. 31 October 2023. Retrieved 5 November 2023.
  25. ^ "Fastest time to put on five jumpers (team) | Guinness World Records".
  26. ^ Elliott, Tim (28 June 2008). "Mr Nice Guy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  27. ^ Staff writer. "Adam Hills". Chortle. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  28. ^ a b Burgess, Marissa (14 October 2004). "Hill Be Back". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 19 August 2008.[dead link]
  29. ^ Whittaker, Andrea. "Adam Hills". Reach Out!. Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  30. ^ Scott-Norman, Fiona (5 April 2006). "Unspeakably Funny". The Age. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  31. ^ Hills, Adam (6 August 2003). "Sign Here If You're Normal". Ouch!. Archived from the original on 7 December 2003. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  32. ^ Wendy Harmer on men and talk radio; Adelaide Now; April 27, 2013
  33. ^ Braithwaite, Alyssa (22 August 2007). "Spicks and Specks to hit the road". Archived from the original on 28 July 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  34. ^ "BBC One – Ask Rhod Gilbert, Series 1, Episode 5". BBC. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  35. ^ Adam Hills at IMDb
  36. ^ "BBC One – Great Unanswered Questions, Series 1, Episode 1". BBC.
  37. ^ Enker, Debbie (24 May 2006). "Hills Hoist". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  38. ^ Sydney Confidential (23 May 2007). "Fifi reluctant star on box". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  39. ^ Metlikovec, Jane (19 June 2008). "Comedian Adam Hills to host Paralympics". Herald Sun. Melbourne. Retrieved 19 August 2008.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games: The ABC TV Sports's Team in Beijing". ABC TV online. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  41. ^ "Adam Hills to host ABC talk show". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 2 December 2010. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  42. ^ "Adam Hills calls it quits from ABC series Adam Hills Tonight". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  43. ^ "Channel 4 assembles groundbreaking Paralympic presenting team", Channel 4, 28 February 2012
  44. ^ "The Last Leg With Adam Hills". Metro. UK. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  45. ^ Jefferies, Mark (14 August 2013). "Fifteen To One in Channel 4 comeback for special show during 1980s weekend". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  46. ^ "Back to the Future". Channel 4 Press. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  47. ^ Eames, Tom (9 December 2013). "Fifteen to One to return for full series and celebrity specials". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  48. ^ "News – Thunderbirds Are Go". Archived from the original on 28 March 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  49. ^ "Disco Inferno". Chortle. 22 January 2003. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  50. ^ "Adam Hills". Ouch!. 21 November 2005. Archived from the original on 22 December 2005. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  51. ^ Salvo, Natalie (20 August 2018). "Book Review: Adam Hills' Best Foot Forward proves that he is an elder statesman of comedy". Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  52. ^ "Rockstar Detectives: Murder at the Movies by Adam Hills". Penguin Books Australia. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  53. ^ Wil Anderson (27 September 2023). "WILOSOPHY with Adam Hills" (Podcast). LiSTNR. Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  54. ^ "Watch Adam Hills: Grow Another Foot | Stream free on Channel 4". Retrieved 18 August 2023.
  55. ^ "NOAH MEDIA GROUP & CHANNEL 4 ANNOUNCE TWO BRAND NEW DOCUMENTARIES FOR 2023". 18 April 2023. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  56. ^ Hansen, James (23 January 2023). "Last Leg Comedian Adam Hills Is Getting Into the London Restaurant Business. He's backing Scott Hallsworth's latest revival of Freak Scene, in Parsons Green". Eater London. Vox Media. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  57. ^ "Clown Heart, Adam Hills – Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015". Archived from the original on 24 March 2015.
  58. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 129.
  59. ^ "ARIA Awards Best Comedy Release". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 17 April 2022.

External links edit

External videos
  Adam Hills and his memoir Best Foot Forward on YouTube, Matter of Fact with Stan Grant, ABC News