Adam Hills: Clown Heart

If you like your comedy dark and edgy then walk away my friend, Adam Hills is not for you. The Aussie stand up's stock in trade is being affable and relentlessly upbeat. So much so that he even manages to make dying and cancer, the weighty topics that Clown Heart centres on, entertaining. Which is no mean feat because being witty and moving, without descending into mawkishness, isn't an easy thing to pull off.

Clown Heart's well-crafted, and infectious fun from the moment it starts to its life-affirming finale.

But the host of Channel 4's The Last Leg does this with aplomb by sharing tales of his father's astoundingly good humour in the face of terminal leukaemia. Also, via his mobile and snippets of film projected onto a massive screen behind him, Hills introduces us to someone who's living with cancer, and has chosen to treat it with the utmost irreverence.

The reason why this thought provoking, but not-at-all-hilarious-sounding, material works is partly because Hills is so damn genial. We're with him right from the off when he walks onstage brandishing a bottle of Irn-Bru (the full fat kind of course), and lavishes the Scots in the crowd with compliments about their seemingly innate capacity to garner laughs.

It also hits the spot because his crowd work is top notch, and he chats away as if he's shooting the breeze with a bunch of old mates. So there's consistently funny back and forth throughout the show. It begins with him commandeering a game 72 year old's walking stick, and talking to a couple who've recently become parents, and then swiftly gains its own momentum.

Hills' off the cuff quips are smart, he generously steps back to allow audience members to shine and revels in their quick-wittedness. And although his banter's sometimes saucy, it's never derisory. All of this means that, as well as being enjoyable, his interaction with the punters complements, and is not just the precursor to, the main event.

The set's not just about the serious matter of our inevitable departure from life either. His observations also take in the Paleo diet (which champions eating like a caveman) and, more generally, healthy living. And there's an amusing routine on the much-mined subject of the reality of new dads' status in the parental pecking order.

Clown Heart's well-crafted, and infectious fun from the moment it starts to its life-affirming finale.

Reviews by Dawn Kofie

Assembly Hall

Adam Hills: Clown Heart

★★★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Underwhelmed

★★★
Gilded Balloon

Diary of a Dating Addict

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 5 & 6

Jena Friedman: American C*nt

★★★★
Gilded Balloon

Wasted

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Fringe favourite and star of Channel 4’s The Last Leg and BBC One's Live at the Apollo, Adam returns to Edinburgh with a new hour of spontaneity and joy. Sundays with BSL interpreter. 'Friendlier than a drunk Labrador' (BBC Radio 6 Music). 'Hills delivers stand-up so effortlessly brilliant you wonder why some comedians even get out of bed' (Guardian). 'If you cannot enjoy Adam Hills you cannot have a pulse' ***** (Scotsman).