Aussie comedian Adam Hills said he did not tell his family he had been named in the New Year Honours list because he was “still not convinced someone isn’t playing a prank on me”.
The TV presenter and comic, 51, has been made an MBE for services to Paralympic sport and disability awareness.
He has hosted Channel 4’s The Last Leg with Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker since its inception in 2012.
Hills, who has a prosthetic foot, told the PA news agency: “I am absolutely chuffed to bits to be given this honour. I’ve already googled ‘Australian comedians who have received honours’, ‘when can I start writing MBE after my name?’ and ‘are Australians even eligible for an MBE?’.
“Turns out the answers are ‘Barry Humphries and Clive James’, ‘when you receive the medal’ and ‘yes’.
“Honestly though, for a boy from the southern suburbs of Sydney, this is quite a massive deal.”
The Last Leg started as a show that ran alongside the London 2012 Paralympics coverage on Channel 4, but due to its popularity and ratings success it became a permanent fixture.
Alongside Widdicombe and Brooker, the Bafta-nominated series covers the week’s topical news but has also shone a light on conversations around disability with coverage of the London, Rio and Tokyo Paralympic Games. It returns for a 24th series in 2022.
“Paralympic sport has changed the way I see my own disability, as well as disability in general,” says Hills.
“I feel so incredibly lucky to be given the chance to cover the Paralympics and am happy to shout about Paralympic sport at every opportunity.
“To be awarded for doing that is kind of like being awarded for eating chocolate – I love doing it anyway but if someone wants to give me a medal for it, I’ll happily accept.”
Hills said he had not told his family of his MBE yet for “two reasons”, explaining: “Firstly, I’m still not convinced someone isn’t playing a prank on me. Secondly, I’m worried I’ll make a joke about the royal family that causes them to change their minds before the awards are announced.
“I’m pretty sure however that if they didn’t have a good sense of humour, I wouldn’t be on the list in the first place. I’m also pretty sure my mum will cry when she hears the news.”