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Spicks and Specks host Adam Hills under fire as ABC star Michael Rowland blasts John Lennon joke

‘Tasteless’ joke about John Lennon on ABC’s Spicks and Specks backfires spectacularly, with even the network’s own stars slamming the segment

  • Popular ABC quiz show Spicks and Specks returned Sunday night
  • Host Adam Hills made a joke about the death of former Beatle John Lennon in 1980
  • Joke sparked furious reactions from viewers, including stars from the same network

The host of a popular quiz show has come under fire from his ABC colleagues and viewers for making a tasteless joke about the murder of The Beatles’ John Lennon.

The ABC celebrated the return of its popular music show Spicks and Specks on Sunday night, with comedian Adam Hills returning as host.

But the return sparked a split from viewers when ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland took aim at a joke made by Hills.

The faux pas unfolded after the two teams were asked to name the famous band on which the characters from the 1967 Disney film The Jungle Book were based.

Comedian Rhys Nicholson guessed The Beatles right.

“I think they were supposed to do it, and at the last minute there was a bit of whether it was publishing or money issues and they eventually refused to do it — did I make that up?” Nicholson asked the host.

Rhys Nicholson reacted with horror to a joke made by host Adam Hills on Spicks and Specks

Rhys Nicholson reacted with horror to a joke made by host Adam Hills on Spicks and Specks

Hills said there were many stories of why The Beatles didn’t make the movie before they joked about the tragic end of Lennon’s life.

“One was the scheduling, another was John Lennon reportedly refusing to work on animated films,” Hills explains.

But he did appear in live-action movies. Ironically, he’d rather be shot in person.’

Lennon, 40, died on December 8, 1980 after being shot four times in the back by Mark David Chapman at the gate of the singer’s New York home, The Dakota.

Nicholson saw him cringe with his head in his hands as several other participants and the audience laughed awkwardly.

Rowland was one of many viewers who were not amused.

“That John Lennon gag…#spicksandspecks,” the breakfast host tweeted with two cringing emojis.

Many other viewers agreed.

‘Yes… in my opinion real music lovers don’t joke about murdered musicians,’ replied one.

Others called for Hills to be taken off the air.

Spicks and Speck host Adam Hills (pictured) divided viewers over his joke about John Lennon

Spicks and Speck host Adam Hills (pictured) divided viewers over his joke about John Lennon

‘Ban Adam Hills. Tired of his grumpy jokes, bad taste jokes. He’s dead serious every night on ABC and yet the ads and intro keep saying he’s back. He never damned left. What’s up with the team captain BS? Can’t Australia have enough of “Hillsey”?’ one tweeted.

Poll

Was the host’s joke about John Lennon’s death in bad taste?

  • yes it was tasteless 5 votes
  • No, it was good 1 votes
  • undecided 1 votes

Another viewer added: “I’ve always hated Adam Hills, but John Lennon’s joke sealed the deal.”

But some fans jumped into Hills’ defense.

‘A little dark humour. It’s fine,” one viewer wrote.

Another added: “People like to think about Aussie larakinism…until they hear it, then they whine and feel insulted.”

Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life for the murder of Lennon.

He has since been imprisoned and has been denied parole 10 times since he became eligible in 2000.

Adam Hills came under ABC colleagues, including News Breakfast host Michael Rowland

Adam Hills came under ABC colleagues, including News Breakfast host Michael Rowland

Daily Mail Australia has contacted ABC for comment.

The series return of Spicks and Specks was the first of 10 new episodes and includes a new game called ‘The Secret Song’.

“As the Australian live music scene is slowly getting back on its feet, we want to give it a head start by featuring some of the best new musicians Australia has to offer (as well as a few legends thrown in for good measure).” Hills said before the first episode aired.

“Of course we all do it with some of the best comedians in the country. Spicks and Specks is a joy to make, and this series felt like one of our best.”

The Beatles co-founder John Lennon (pictured with wife Yoko Ono) was shot dead in 1980

The Beatles co-founder John Lennon (pictured with wife Yoko Ono) was shot dead in 1980

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