So darned likeable….
Adam Hills’ new show reminded us all why he is so beloved. Charming, spontaneous, a bloke you could take home to mum.
His long overdue chat show In Gordon Street Tonight was a breath of fresh air.
Hillsy’s true skill is in making the show look so effortless. From the opening credits in which he strolls through the streets of Melbourne with greetings from locals to being welcomed by a clearly devoted audience, he had them eating out of the palm of his hands. Nice place to start your first show.
In his opening monologue, Hills launched straight into self-deprecation, with an old TV commercial in which he looked terribly youthful. Awwww. Instantly we were not laughing at Hills, but with him.
Sidekick Hannah Gadsby talked us through some of the “set-warming” gifts he had been given for his first show: a naked portait of himself (including one foot), a dancing cat, and a gift voucher for a ‘boy-zillian’ or as described by an audience member a “back, sack and crack.”
Hillsy has accepted the challenge.
By interacting the audience, this most affable host had won over the studio audience, and as a result, the viewers at home before even introducing his first guest.
Arj Barker, who had appeared on Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth the night before, was first guest. Barker sang for his host, made jokes about Canberra, Americans and our accent, and seemed far more relaxed than his routine the night before.
Hills chatted more with his audience, including to a guy who was an “Underwater Crockery Maintainance Officer” or Dishpig if you prefer, a sci-fi loving minister and a girl who once buried some money in her yard in a Perth suburb. Then via the magic of television Peter Rowsthorn was found in her yard ready to dig up that very hole. Shades of Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush…
2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon kept up the gift-giving with some iced coffee, before talking about winning the award, his health, and our crazy summer weather.
A surprise inclusion was Ross Noble “phoning in” his stand-up act via an iPhone.
The show also reunited Hills with an old school pal he couldn’t remember (they celebrated with a handstand) and Twitter-submitted photos of people frowning in front of famous places.
James Reyne performed Dragon’s April Sun in Cuba (a nod to the studio’s Countdown history) and Dan Sultan sang.
Actress Melissa George spoke about returning home to Oz to film The Slap before some priceless footage of her watching the Australian Open with an awestruck Bruce McAvaney. Special.
Seated in a chic lounge set, Hills glided through this first episode surrounded by mutual admirers. The format was closer to Rove and The Graham Norton Show than Parkinson or Enough Rope. Whilst it doesn’t allow enough time to dig deep with guests, it strikes a good balance between conversation and spontaneity.
Comparisons with Ben Elton’s effort this week are hard to avoid, but Nine’s bar was set a lot higher with punchline sketches on a vast, spartan stage before live cameras. Hills has aimed more within his means with amiable chat in a more intimate environment. Save for some Twitter interaction with the audience, the pre-recording of the show was barely noticeable.
The credits also indicate Hills had a team of writers to support him, contrasting the Elton vehicle for which he is solely responsible for the creative.
In a perfect world, the audience would end up with two terrific shows, but that remains to be seen. Adam Hills wins Round One in a knockout blow.
Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight airs 8:30pm Wednesday on ABC1.