Review: Best Foot Forward by Adam Hills
*If you've skipped, this is where the actual review starts.
Best Foot Forward is a warm, clever and often funny memoir of a man who fulfilled his dreams of becoming a successful comedian. Adam Hills recounts how he grew up with a loving family--his parents and a younger brother--in the Sutherland Shire, which is in the southern suburbs of Sydney and how as a nineteen year old university student he made the decision that he was going to break in to comedy. Oh, and Hills was also born without a right foot, which, as fans will know, he doesn't shy away from or treat it like it's a source of shame. It is a part of his story and he treats it as such. (Hence the title of the book.)
I absolutely enjoyed reading this memoir, in particular his recollections was trying to break in to the tough stand up comedy circuit in Sydney and later in Edinburgh. Where this memoir really shines is in the level of warmth that Hills brings to each of his adventures. It was interesting, for example, to read about some of the stunts that he took part of while on the radio and his acknowledgement that the joke and experience may not have been so funny for others. In one chapter he recounts how he hid in the boot of a car as part of a prank for the station in which he pretended to be the victim of an abduction, and contemplates how this experience must have been for the petrol station attendant and manager who phoned the police. Hills also gives the station and broadcasting some well deserved criticism portraying it as an industry that can be ruthless and insensitive in its desperate grab for ratings. (Read the section titled Sick Kids and you'll see what I mean.) I also found it extremely interesting to read what he thought about other comedians, particularly the life changing influence that meeting the utterly brilliant Billy Connolly had on Adam Hills and his career. (Probably something that we should all be thanking Billy Connolly for.) It is interesting to read about his early days in television, the move to the UK, his own LA story and how he makes the most of every opportunity that comes his way. I also loved the chapter involving The Muppets--what an amazing experience! (And I just cannot resist sharing the clip Adam Hills and the Swedish Chef it is one of the happiest things you'll watch on YouTube today.)
Overall, this an honest and entertaining memoir of someone who worked hard to create an absolutely phenomenal career and one that just seems to keep going from strength to strength. There are no pretensions here, the whole thing is warm and relatable and I left it feeling as though Hills deserves every bit of success that comes his way.