A Letter to Adam Hills

An animated Gif of comedian Adam Hills pointing angrily at the camera with the subtitle: "If you make fat jokes about Adele, YOU'RE BEING A DICK.  I'm referring to you Joan Rivers."

An animated Gif of comedian Adam Hills pointing angrily at the camera with the subtitle “If you make fat jokes about Adele, YOU’RE BEING A DICK. And I’m referring to you Joan Rivers.”

Dear Adam,

As a longterm fan of yours and a fat woman myself, I was really pleased and grateful to hear you slamming Joan Rivers on The Last Leg for her obnoxious comments about Adele. There are precious few women in the public eye who do not conform to Hollywood’s ideal body type, and as you said yourself Adele is a wonderful role model for young women. I was glad to know there are people like you who are willing to stand up for people like Adele – and, by extension, people like me – despite not being fat yourself.

You’ve always been one of my favourite comedians because while you tackle issues that can be taboo in comedy, such as disability, you don’t take cheap shots at vulnerable people. Your comedy is funny and insightful, rather than cruel, and you often use jokes to stand up for people who are marginalised or treated badly, as you did with Adele.

Then I saw last night’s episode of The Last Leg and your segment on the so-called “obesity epidemic” and Britain’s move to tax soft drinks, in which you said:

“I want to see an ad featuring an overweight diabetic with pizza stains on his top, pressure sores on his arse, looking like he’s three sips away from kidney failure. And then at the end he just looks at the camera and says ‘I haven’t seen my penis since 2003’.”

There was nothing insightful about that “joke”. It was just a tired old stereotype of fat people dragged out for cheap laughs. It was cruel, and contributed to exactly the kind of dickishness about fat people that you harangued Joan Rivers for not so long ago. A week after you took someone else to task for making cruel fat jokes, it was frankly shocking and disappointing to see you falling back on such cruel fat jokes yourself. It really undermines what you were saying in defence of Adele, and makes it look like you only disapprove of insulting and abusing fat people when they are pretty young women.

I hope you think about your joke in Wednesday’s show in the context of your own response to Joan Rivers and consider how hypocritical it was.

Disappointedly yours,

Sarah

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5 thoughts on “A Letter to Adam Hills

  1. Jan says:

    I love Adam Hills, but when I saw his show last night I cringed with despair at that part of the show. But somehow he didn’t seem quite right last night.

  2. Clare says:

    Perfect, but with one small detail. The episode of the Last Leg aired on ABC last night is the episode before the one where he slams Joan Rivers. We have a ten day delay in Australia. It doesn’t change your point, in which you describe eloquently the uncomfortable feeling I had hearing him make that joke last night, but it does give me hope that he’s listened to people calling him out on it.

    • Sarah says:

      Ah, interesting! I did not realise that, I have missed a lot of The Last Leg on TV recently and when I saw the info about the Joan Rivers smack down I assumed it was an older episode I hadn’t seen yet. I wonder if he regrets those comments now?

  3. […] Fat Acceptance -Why my fat is different from your fat: thoughts on thin privilege at different sizes. -A really interesting behind-the-scenes explanations for the sudden “rise” in obesity-related illness. -How I got over my thighs. -Advice for the advice column: “What do I do if my wife gets fat?” -Another example of how anti-fat bias, not fat itself, is bad for health: a teenage boy in New Zealand had to undergo emergency knee surgery for an infection after his doctor blamed the pain on his weight. -How the mainstream media creates the very problems it decries. -Weight-free public health messages. -A letter to Adam Hill. […]

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