“#IsItOk to be a celebrity (disabled) comedian? Approaching disability with Adam Hills’ television program, The Last Leg”

Taylor and Francis
Publication Type:
Reframing Disability? : Media, (Dis)Empowerment, and Voice in the 2012 Paralympics, 2015, pp. 66 - 78
Issue Date:
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Late night magazine show The Last Leg was developed during London 2012 to entertain a mainstream audience and promote dialogue about disability in an innovative way. The show was led by comedian Adam Hills and regular panelists Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe and screened on Channel 4 after each day’s Paralympics transmission, and during and after broadcast the audience were invited to participate using Twitter and the hashtag #IsItOk. This method of second screen engagement allowed a broad community of viewers to ask questions of Paralympic athletes and other disabled people in a way they might otherwise have avoided for fear of appearing insensitive or inappropriate. This chapter explores the program’s approach to identity and the development of a variety of voices discussing disability during the games, showing how a skillful comedic address and a mixture of traditional and social media engagement was used to meet the program’s aims.
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