Title: Best Foot Forward
Author: Adam Hills
Publication: 24th July 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Around the Year in 52 Books – A book you expect to make you laugh
Adam Hills was a quiet primary school kid with a prosthetic foot, who did all his homework and only spoke when spoken to. His dad sparked in him a love of comedy and together they’d spend hours watching and listening to the greats like Peter Sellers and Mel Brooks, so, when it was Adam’s turn to speak, he made sure he was funny.
Once he hit high school, comedy was Adam’s obsession (along with a deep love for the South Sydney Rabbitohs). While his mates were listening to Iron Maiden and AC/DC, he was listening to Kenny Everett and Billy Connolly. And when a report card came home with a comment praising his sense of humour, he was far prouder of that than his grades (his mum not so much).
Adam’s shyness and his missing foot never held him back, though wearing thongs was tricky. While other teens snuck off to meet girls and drink cheap booze, Adam snuck off to see a young Jim Carrey perform. After that, a steady diet of Rodney Rude, Vince Sorrenti and Robin Williams led this sheltered, virginal university student from The Shire to his first stand-up open mic night on his 19th birthday.
In Best Foot Forward, Adam describes his early years on the Australian comedy scene sharing gigs with Steady Eddy and Jimeoin, how he coped the first time he died on stage, his early-morning apprenticeship in radio, touring the world’s comedy festivals, the magic of Spicks and Specks and his hosting gig for the 2008 Paralympics that led to his ongoing hit UK TV show The Last Leg. Whoopi Goldberg, Barry Humphries, Billy Connolly, Kermit the Frog – Adam’s learned from the best. This charming, witty memoir is a lesson in following your heart, being positive and discovering that what makes you different also makes you unique.
When I found out Adam Hills was writing a book it immediately went onto my instabuy list. I’ve seen all of his DVDs, been to see a recording of The Last Leg and went to see his last tour Clown Heart twice. I had high expectations for this book. Luckily, for me, it did not disappoint.
At the beginning of the book, Adam explains that this is a compilation of stories. They’re told in chronological order but don’t all necessarily link. The purpose of this is so you can pick the book up at any time and read a “wee” chapter. I personally loved this, especially as some stories then linked back later in the book.
As I went through the book, I turned over pages of parts that I enjoyed or made me laugh out loud. There are quite a few turned over. The book isn’t a laugh a minute but it’s not meant to be. There humerous stories, anecdotes and the occasional joke. Some of my favourite chapters included The Hardest Job in the World about a comic with a hard on for most of the set, Stumped about being asked if he has ever used his foot during sex, the whole section about Leeds and Reading festival and crowd surfing, and pretty much the whole section about the Paralympics.
One thing that some people may dislike is the listing of names. I took this as a if you haven’t heard of these people, look them up! I now have a nice list of comedians to look into (cheers). I also enjoyed playing my own little game of “seen them!” as I read through the names. I also found it really interesting to find out that he lived with Dara O’Briain for a while and was Ross Noble’s best man at his wedding. I adored reading about his friendship with Whoopi Goldberg and his meetings with Billy Connolly. I guess the world of comedy is like other industries where everyone knows everyone.
What I loved most about this book was that it gave me the same feeling that I get after watching his stand ups. It made me happy.
I tweeted Adam Hills when I finished this book. I was SO thrilled that he replied!