Blue Remembered Hills

We don’t usually bother with The Last Leg, as despite the all-Aussie host – that’d be Adam Hills – it’s a UK show and as such outside our sphere of interest. But recently someone pointed this out to us:

Sure, Hills makes a very good point, but… is anyone else just a little creeped out by how forcefully he makes it? Some might say he’s passionate; we’re slightly more inclined to say he looks like a bit of a nutter.

Of course, this is hardly the first time Hills has made a name for himself by ranting. Typing “adam hills rant” into YouTube provides all manner of opportunities to see the one-time charming host shouting down the camera like a guy you’d hurriedly flee from in the street. Because that’s the thing about these rants: unlike most comedy sprays – and Hills is neither the first nor the best to come up with the idea of flying off the handle – Hills leaves out the part where we get the impression he’s joking.

But what are we complaining about? For years we’ve been saying that Hills is too bland for his own good, a likable host with the rough edges so forcefully sanded off he’s basically spherical. Surely the fact that he’s finally showing some bite – even if he had to go to the UK to do it – is good news both for him and for comedy in general?

Perhaps. But in our cynical, somewhat unpleasant minds another picture is forming. See, we’re starting to think the loveable Hills we were getting for all those years on Australian television was the act, and the shouty angry guy who seems just a little too scary for comfort is the real deal. Free from the confines of being the safe pair of hands on Spicks and Specks, it might just be that he’s letting the mask slip to show a guy we’re kind of glad is currently half a world away.

Remember Die on Your Feet, Greg Fleet’s sitcom about a bunch of comedians struggling with various comedian stuff? Oh right, it was buried on one of Ten’s digital channels and no-one saw it. But if you had, you would have seen Adam Hills playing someone very different from his Spicks and Specks persona: he was dark, he was mean, he acted like an arsehole most of the time and one episode ended with him seriously contemplating killing himself. At the time it was sold to viewers as a very different look at the much-loved TV host, with him playing a character 180 degrees from what audiences expected from him.

Not any more.

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  • Daniel G says:

    I think you mean “Die On Your Feet” instead of “The Last Leg” in that second-to-last paragraph. Miraculously, all of it is still available to view on TenPlay.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Thanks – fixed. It’s sometimes hard to keep all of Hills’ feet-related projects straight.

  • blerg says:

    Is it really stepping out of his nice guy persona when all his rants are directed at horrible people? If anything this reinforces his niceness while also broadening his comedy.

  • ben says:

    So at what time in that video does the “rant” start? There’s no way I’m watching all 48 minutes.

  • yeps says:

    Like Ben, there’s no way I’m subjecting myself to near 50 minutes of Hills in order to get to the meat of this ‘rant’…

    However, I do remember another of Hill’s notable rant moments: his asinine spray at Joan Rivers. I imagine the Tumbleweeds blog has already spoken about this, but after Rivers exercised her decades-long insult-comic style to mock singer Adele’s weight on the Letterman show.

    Even though River’s entire career was based on pushing the boundaries of ‘acceptable’ observational gags like that (and even though I’m sure even she’d admit that the joke wasn’t her best, either in content or delivery) Hills ‘bravely’ stared down the barrel of the camera and essentially declared:

    ‘It’s rude to insult someone’s appearance, you ugly, weird-looking old bitch.’

    Gee it was a proud moment.

    The irony of slagging of a woman’s appearance because he was affronted that she would dare make fun of a woman’s appearance seemed utterly lost on him – and apparently also n the audience in-studio and on-line who erupted in cheers that nice boy Hills was willing to stick the boot into the mean old lady whose entire schtick was to make herself a crass caricature.

    To be clear: I’m not supporting the content of River’s gag. It wasn’t funny, and in a world where commentary on a woman’s talent is too frequently drowned out by cheap criticism of their appearance it was weak – but Hills’ response could hardly be considered admirable …or even vaguely amusing.

    Let’s hope he never hears a slice of Don Rickles’ act. He’ll probably go after him with a tire iron.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    We’ve gone and changed it to a clip of Hills’ rant, just for you (and yeps).

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Fucking hell Jon Stewart has a lot to answer for. I remember somebody (maybe Bredon Burns) in an interview said something to the effect of, ‘There’s a comedian that ruins a generation of comedians.’ Point being when they were coming up in the UK it was Chris Morris, in the US it was Bill Hicks. Now it’s Stewart everywhere.

    Any way the point is with Hill is that it seems a bit fake- a show for the UK audience who like a bit of biff while for the ABC he was Mr Genial. I mean for all Pickering’s faults as a comedian he seems at least sincere about the politics (even if it’s wishy-washy left of centre politics).