OK, what follows is a blatant plug, but it’s a plug for something of which I am a little proud.
On Friday my new DVD “Adam Hills – characterful & joymonger” is released in Australia. It is basically two of my favourite stand up shows, recorded at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. The shows themselves run for about 90 minutes, and there are about 45 minutes of extras.
What I’m most proud of though, is that the entire performance is sign interpreted. Those of you that may have seen my signed shows will know how much fun I, and hopefully the audience, have. That fun, hopefully, comes across on the DVD, and the signer Leanne Beer (is there any more Aussie a surname?) was and is superb. In fact one of the extras is an option to watch the entire show with her in the corner, so you can see the whole thing being signed.
My use of a signer came about many years ago when I was hosting a disability arts conference in Adelaide that had a signer. The headlining comedian (Steady Eddie) was running late, so I was asked to do some of my act. The deaf people laughed a lot, and the hearing people laughed at the signs. And so did I.
Ever since then I have used a signer for the occasional performance, and regularly in Edinburgh, Melbourne and Adelaide Festivals. In fact I had a lovely moment during the week, when my brother emailed me a link to an Aussie singer called Sia performing on Letterman. Not only was she amazing, she had her hands painted, and signed her performance as well.
I emailed her to say how impressed I was with her performance, and she replied that she was actually inspired by seeing me use a signer in Adelaide years ago. What a lovely, crazy, interconnected world we live in. I urge anyone doing any kind of public performance to use a signer every now and again. Not only does it make your work more accessible, it is a helluva lot of fun too.
As you will be able to see this Thursday on the ABC (in Australia) when a one-hour special of “Characterful & Joymonger” is broadcast. (how’s that for an accidental link?). Basically the ABC is showing an edited version of the DVD at 8.35pm on Thursday, and it includes a lot of fun with Leanne. Amongst other things, you’ll learn the signs for “wanker”, “clitoris” and “tampons”.
That’s right, accessibility is all well and good, but a cheap laugh is what it’s really all about.
While I am in plugging mode, let me give a shout out to a few comics I have worked with of late that you should really check out. After a week that included seeing or working with Johnny Vegas, Dave Gorman, Lenny Henry and Robin Williams, it occurred to me that I am just as inspired by seeing lesser-known but by no means lesser-talented comedians on a nightly basis.
People like Ginger and Black (great musical duo), Watson and Oliver (great sketch duo), Miles Jupp (beautifully crafted middle-class comedy) Lewis Shaeffer (brash, loud, funny New Yorker) Matt Kirshen (looks like a ten year old) and John Gordillo (intelligent gentle lovely man).
These people have filled me with as much positive energy this past week as the bigger names of earlier in the week, and a massive shout out must go to Mickey Flanagan, and Rob Rouse who showed their class when surrounded by those aforementioned names.
If you don’t know these people, check em out on youtube. The more their work is recognised, the better off we will all be.
As for me, well I have now finished my last gigs in the UK this year, and after a closing weekend in Clonmel, Ireland, will head back to Oz to film the Xmas ep of Spicks and Specks, do some live dates of the Spicks and Specktacular, and get ready for my new show for 2009, which will be called “Inflatable”
I hope to see you there, but til then I hope you enjoy the DVD and or/TV special on Thursday.
all the best, always