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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Does ANYONE not like this man?

Because both programs premiered within a day of each other, there were inevitable comparisons between Adam Hills in Gordon Street tonight and Ben Elton: Live from Planet Earth. They’re very different shows, though. Elton’s show is more ambitious, live and is wall-to-wall comedy whereas ‘Gordon Street’ is a genuine tonight show.

There’s one main difference though – and that’s when you watch Adam Hills in Gordon Street tonight, even when you’re not laughing, you’re smiling.

Adam Hills is a likeable screen presence, so the ABC decided to build a show around him. That’s a pretty basic recipe for success – but Hills and his creative team have been very, very clever in the way they’ve designed the show for sustainability. Since it's a tonight show, I thought I'd give it two episodes to really get a handle on what this show will be like going forward.

The host keeps his opening monologue to a couple of topical jokes at the start before moving on to little comedy pieces involving his audience and taking the mickey out of himself. Having the show involve its audience so much is a masterstroke – it means the comedy will happen organically, rather than relying on Hills’ stand-up material or a team of writers.

He gets great guests – so far it has been along similar lines in both his episodes (a comedian, an actress/model and a high-profile personality). He deals with them in a personable, friendly manner and all of his guests immediately seem totally at ease with him – something that often wasn’t the case with Rove, Jay Leno or numerous other talk show hosts. It probably helps that he’s gone for good names, rather than big names – and like Parkinson or similar shows the guests tend to stick around which always adds a nice sense of community to the show.

Hannah Gadsby is a nice little counterpoint to Hills as his sidekick, equally game for anything and a more sarcastic, sardonic presence than Hills himself.  Overall, there’s really nothing much to fault here. If you like Adam Hills, and pretty much everyone does, you’ll like Adam Hills in Gordon Street tonight. It’s top-notch light entertainment.

-       Quick note. I developed a crush on that woman that Hillsy tried to set up on a date in this episode. She was unbelievably attractive and seemed lovely. I know that’s not legitimate television criticism, but if that blind date doesn’t work out... I’m sure I’m not too young for her.
-       I’ve never found Tim Minchin’s songs all that funny but I’ve always found him funny as a stage and screen comedian and I think his musicianship is fantastic. He proved that further here as he was an engaging comic presence throughout the show and performed what I thought was a great cover of ‘Better be Home Soon’.
-       I didn’t particularly need Adam Hills to ask Megan Gale about her romantic entanglements and I wasn’t expecting him to. Is there anyone who wants a light entertainment show like this to delve into those subjects?
-       Charles Waterstreet was very interesting and it felt like there could have been a much longer interview designed around him –but I love that Hills will have guests like this on. It makes it more than just a chat show.

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