There’s been much high-fiving online this week among Adele fans, who are delighted with the way in which local comedy hero, Adam Hills, took down Joan Rivers for making fun of the the singer’s weight.

He seriously unleashed…

The veteran comedienne went on David Letterman’s show after the Oscars and made cruel fun of Adele’s post-baby body. She said she’d met the singer at the event and then made a “she’s thiiisssss big” type gesture by spreading her arms wide and puffing out her face.

Rivers was unrepentant when audience members jeered her for unkindness and added “What’s her song? Rolling in the Deep? She should add ‘fried chicken’.” Boom boom. Ugh.

Rivers failed to get the hint and dropped a few more fattist comments that left an awful taste in the mouth of the singer’s very loyal fans. David Letterman looked like he wished his chair would swallow him.

Local comedy legend, the very loved Adam Hills, joined a chorus of criticism of Rivers’ tasteless, tactless and out-of-touch jokes during the cringe-worthy exchange. On his weekly show, The Last Leg, Hills launched an uncharacteristically caustic counter-attack.

“After the Oscars Joan Rivers tweeted, quote, “You could easily pick Adele’s statuette out of a lineup, it was the only one wearing Spanx”...’’ said Hills, just warming up. He repeated Rivers’ ‘Adele is this fat mime’, then offered a hearty “f—you” to Joan Rivers.

“How dare you make fun of one of the best female role models on the planet for the way she looks? Adele is one of the very few women in pop music that I want my daughter to look up to—and you’re making jokes about the way she looks?”

So far, so many points strongly made.

“...When you’re so insecure about your own face, you’ve spent more money on it than the prodcuers of Life of Pi spend on that tiger? (His audience erupts in approving laughter.)

“I’m not finished! I’ve met Adele and she was lovely and hot. You, Joan Rivers, have become a jaded, bitter old moll. Get a plastic surgeon to manufacture yourself a new soul. Stop being such an enormous, hypocritical, insensitive d—k!”

Thankfully, another member of his panel cuts in then with “That’s what happens when you don’t get enough sleep!”

I say thankfully, because the clip feels to me like what started as a valid and useful rant against the superficiality of establishment-Hollywood’s values (as espoused by Rivers), ended in an insult that many women would still find seriously offensive.

Though iconic TV sketch-chracters like Kylie Moll turned the old school-yard slur of being “a slut” or “prostitute”, “a promiscuous woman with little or no morals” or a “slag” (the definition many online dictionaries still offer for “moll”) in on itself, I think Hills weakend his argument and his performance by resorting to it.

Clearly Adam Hills has his heart in the right place. And I love the fact he wants his daughter to think of Adele as inspirational (so many of us do), still I think he may or should be regretting his choice of killer punch.

Though you feel the sincere emotion and the good motives in his Rivers tirade, I think he slips off the high moral ground by reaching for a strongly sex-based insult like “moll”. Bitter? Fine. Old, certainly correct in Rivers’ case. Jaded, no doubt.

But moll? The word may be comically out of date, but the urban dictionaries still define it as a name for a woman judged to be of poor character due to her sexual choices. There is no male equivalent slur.

So it boils down to this: does a series of cheap fattist gags justify the use of a what still feels to me like an unnecessarily sexist one?

Though I love Adam Hills, and I am certain he had only the best intentions, I would argue no. Perhaps that really is what happens when you stay up too late watching the Oscars and don’t get enough sleep…

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

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    • Kent says:

      05:25am | 06/03/13

      I feel like I’ve missed something Adam Hills- why is someone who is overweight such a great role model? We have a country with a rapidly ballooning Type 2 diabetes problem, heart disease is our biggest killer, and Adele is the one person you want your daughter to look up to? Maybe it’s because you’re aware that 63 per cent of Aussies are overweight, so you knew this attack would be popular with the majority.

    • Alex says:

      07:56am | 06/03/13

      Or alternatively hes not a shallow judgemental idiot who can judge a person on WHOthey are, and not just their physical appearance.

    • Pedro says:

      08:28am | 06/03/13

      Yeah - if someone says Adele - we all think fat Pommie singer. Adam Hills included (who is he again?) If I had a daughter, I think the role model I would suggest to her would be Sally Pearson - but more articulate.

    • Borderer says:

      08:34am | 06/03/13

      Good point Kent, I got back into training when my daughter was born as I wanted to not just feel better for my own sake but to be a healthy role model for her.

    • Joan says:

      08:42am | 06/03/13

      Adam does appear a little to the left in much of his commentary, so perhaps that’s it. Adele also appears to be quite intelligent and I have never seen her drunk or doped off her tree, which I most certainly can’t say for the aforementioned tawdry old moll, who I have never seen interviewed in any depth, since she was generally too drunk.

    • Jim Moriarty says:

      08:46am | 06/03/13


      Because her weight has nothing to do with her superior abilities as a singer/songwriter.

      She’s a role model because she’s not a cookie cutter pop star, she’s a very good singer who writes her own songs.

    • Claire says:

      10:38am | 06/03/13

      I have a question for you Kent - why are 99% of female ‘celebrities’ women to look up to? We have a country with a rapidly ballooning prevalence of eating disorders?  Are you aware that Australians a FAR more likely to die of an eating disorder than a car accident?

      I am not denying that obesity is a problem, it obviously is.  But the fact is ALL Australians are aware of it.  There are countless media campaigns raising the awareness of obesity and associate health implications, but what about eating disorders?
      When was the last time you heard someone rattle off the statistics of Australians dying due to these or the health implications caused by them?

      Yes Adele may be overweight, but don’t you dare criticise her for ‘promoting obesity’ until the issues of her underweight show business counterparts are addressed.

    • Dan says:

      12:59pm | 06/03/13

      Because then hopefully his daughter wont spend her high school years vomiting bile and throwing out lunch, in a pointless attempt to look like photo-shopped underwear models.

      With a number of siblings in private Sydney girls schools, I can promise you bulimia and anorexia are far greater health concerns than obesity (in that small community).

      Of course, that’s not to suggest obesity isn’t an issue. Healthy eating is an important message, but I’d warn you off encouraging your daughter to aspire to the body of a professional sprinter. It can send the wrong message.

    • Roscoe says:

      05:55am | 06/03/13


      Four rants on the topic of poor widdle wimmen.  Bring on White Ribbon Day and lets see if we can set an all time record!  And still nothing about men who die or are assaulted by their partners, massively outnumber women in suicide (one of my mates hung himself yesterday actually), or how men outnumber women in violent deaths, road deaths, and lower life expectancy.

      Can you bang another drum for a while, for Christ sake?

    • Dave says:

      08:36am | 06/03/13

      What is the relevance of your comments to this article because it has lost me

    • Not at this address anymore says:

      08:54am | 06/03/13

      If you’re looking for erick, he’s not here anymore.
      He’s at the MRE site over there——->

    • Rose says:

      09:13am | 06/03/13

      I’m really sorry for your loss and can see where your anger today comes from but I’m not sure in this case it’s warranted. People are free to write articles about men’s issues and I have no doubt that if they well written and topical they will be published.

    • Referee says:

      09:32am | 06/03/13

      People are also free to make any comment they want Rose.

    • Wazza says:

      09:34am | 06/03/13

      Are MRE’s anything like WRE’s?

    • Not at this address anymore says:

      10:07am | 06/03/13

      No, WRE is an airport in New Zealand.
      MRE is a men’s extremist tag
      Their site is over there————->

    • Rose says:

      10:12am | 06/03/13

      Yes they are Referee, so why do the same few blokes always have a whinge every time there is an article about women published. Maybe they should stop crying about it and start actively working towards writing about men’s issues. If they can be coherent, on topic and relevant they shouldn’t find it too hard to get published, even Erick got to write a column or two for The Punch.

    • Dan says:

      10:50am | 06/03/13

      @Rose, just cause we’re sick of women whinging it doesn’t mean that more men whinging is the answer.

      HTFU Australia.

    • Roscoe says:

      11:03am | 06/03/13

      Dave, I put it here because I couldn’t be bothered opening another comment box on the other articles about wimmins issues.  It’s all the same shit - men bad, women good - just various contexts and different starting points.

      The day I see a male journalist get a regular column to bang on specifically about men and how fucking hard we have it I’ll be amazed.  And let’s hear it from the women - ‘men don’t have issues!’.  News flash ladies -lots of men have lots of issues - we just don’t get them publicised.

    • Rose says:

      12:56pm | 06/03/13

      Dan, I’m suggesting that these blokes STOP whingeing and start articulating men’s issues into publishable articles. There is no question that men have issues just as serious as women’s issues, it’s just that when they whinge about women talking about their issues without putting the effort in to understanding and articulating men’s issues they do tend to lose credibility.
      Maybe they should HTFU, but I would prefer it if they got their point across, well researched and well written, without slamming those who are doing for their gender what men should be doing for their own.
      I think you’ll also find that women on here have pretty much summarily dismissed Wendy’s sexist claim, because quite frankly, Wendy is wrong.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      01:17pm | 06/03/13

      You reckon they’d get published here Rose?

    • Dan says:

      03:46pm | 06/03/13

      I’d still prefer it if both genders stopped whining and got on with it.

      To quote a good movie - “Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”

      Seems to me that there are a lot of people pointing fingers in these gender wars. Get what your worth, take the hits and for godsake stop whining.

    • Rose says:

      04:58pm | 06/03/13

      If they are articulate, topical and have some basis in fact, yes, MP, I’m positive that they would, as they have been previously. Bloody hell, The Punch even gave Erick a crack at it!!

    • SAm says:

      06:07am | 06/03/13

      Wheres the sexist joke in that? Im not seeing it

    • Vince says:

      09:08am | 06/03/13

      Me neither.  He called her a “dick”.  Is that the sexist bit?

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:01am | 06/03/13

      When I went to school many moons ago “moll” did not mean slut. It meant a lady of low breeding. It did not mean she was loose. She was a scrubber. A bogan.

      We used the word “scrut” to imply both a slut and a scrag (which meant a mixture of moll - sort of like Michelle from Fast Forward’s Michelle and Ferret - and skank).

      Methinks the author doth protest too much.

    • Jeremy says:

      10:12am | 06/03/13

      No one I know under the age of about 60 would consider moll to be sexist, or sexual in its connotations. Moll is more used to describe a bitter woman, so perhaps he was verbose saying bitter moll (and sex-specific is certainly not sexist). 
      More than anything people say things like, ‘you’re a c##t, or d##k, or moll’, because they’re annoyed with the person, not because they are actually likening them to a body part, or sexual act or anything, and reading that into it all the time lessens the effect when people use them offensively and with meaning.

    • Ben says:

      06:10am | 06/03/13

      >>So it boils down to this: does a series of cheap fattist gags justify the use of a what still feels to me like an unnecessarily sexist one?<<

      Well it boils down to this: I think there are more important thing to worry about.

    • Alex says:

      06:31am | 06/03/13

      Far out. One word in a justified rant, and an old, outdated one. Are you sure that justified an article? Long bow Wendy.

    • Rob says:

      08:25am | 06/03/13

      I dunno… when I saw Hills’ rant, it came across as aggressive and bullying and, I thought to myself, “Isn’t this precisely the behaviour he’s supposed to be against…” I don’t think many people realised that as they were too busy reveling in his comments on a really basic level, without realising what behaviour he was perpetuating.

    • Rose says:

      09:18am | 06/03/13

      I did actually think of that but then I thought, one of these comedians just gets off on insulting and bullying people who have done nothing to her, and has done so for decades. The other, who is normally not aggressive or rude, responded to specific, repeated incidences of this bullying. Because of Hills’normally non-aggressive and non-insulting style, his rant isn’t the same as what he’s arguing against, his stance is more of a standing up for a mate. Not the same thing at all!

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      06:32am | 06/03/13

      It would help if the video was available… You know, seeing as you embedded it in your yarn.
      Adam Hills is a very decent man, though prone to articulating observations from a slightly immature perspective, they are never-the-less astutely made. He is spot on with Rivers. A remarkably vile woman who I’ve always thought to be about as funny as a fart in a crowded lift.
      By Rivers’ own standards, Hills is a model of restraint.

    • craig2 says:

      06:37am | 06/03/13

      It must hard to be honest these days, Adele is fat and Rivers is old and Hill…just needs to get out of his superficial shell. We are talking Hollywood right?

    • Joan says:

      06:41am | 06/03/13

      Andrew Hill is not half the commedian Joan Rivers is and he is no gentleman.  Andrew Hill is just your ordinary crude lewd Ocker made good when standup comedy is at its lowest ever quality. I`m sure Rivers can take whatever Hill says, she knows she can outjoke him . No need to slice and dice what todays commedian says-  most are just plain childishly offensive - nothing funny at all- the funny bar set at its lowest level with the f word getting the greatest laugh .

    • David says:

      08:33am | 06/03/13

      May want to get the name right before have a crack at ADAM Hills. Not Andrew!!!!

    • Rose says:

      08:48am | 06/03/13

      His name is ADAM Hills and he is twice the comedian than Joan Rivers is, and then some!!

    • Brian says:

      09:06am | 06/03/13

      How about Adam Hills, though?

    • Joan says:

      09:25am | 06/03/13

      Split my sides laughing; Andrew hill, Adam Hills Adams Apple- all nobodies in the big world Joan Rivers a somebody.Get the joke. .

    • Joan Ranger (AKA AdamC) says:

      09:28am | 06/03/13

      Andrew, Adam, who cares? His rant still makes him sound like a complete douche.

      Hills was a pleasant enough TV presenter on Spicks and Specks, but you have to suspect there is some professional jealousy at play with his outburst. That, or he is after attention for his new show.

      Joan Rivers has been taking the Mickey out of celebs for decades. It has made her a comedy legend. I cannot imagine that is news to Adam Hills.

      BTW, Joan has a show called Fashion Police that airs on Saturday nights in Australia on the E Channel. It’s hilarious. Though I couldn’t recomment it to Adam Hills. He miight have some sort of overdose of holier than thou indignation.

    • Rose says:

      09:50am | 06/03/13

      No, but like your hero Joan Rivers, maybe you’re just not funny smile

    • Alan says:

      11:15am | 06/03/13

      +1 Joan, Hills has never told a joke without the “F” word and he’s not funny in the least.  Rivers on the other hand couldn’t give a stuff about the jumped up fool bagging her, she thrives on it.  She’s sitting there saying “bring it on”.
      Then she’ll eat his lunch. 
      Rivers used to make fat jokes about Elizabeth Taylor thirty years ago and Joan is still working every day.

    • NSS says:

      12:26pm | 06/03/13

      You obviously haven’t seen Adam Hills’ standup, Alan.  He is the least vulgar and abusive comedian I’ve seen in many years. He doesn’t buy into the culture of nastiness which many of his colleagues practice. Most of his humour is self -deprecating. He uses his disability often as a source of humour (he has a prosthethic lower leg). Other people with disabilities adore him, including the deaf whom he includes with an interpreter at many of his gigs.

      Compared to Rivers, Hills is a saint.  She’s just plain mean, which I don’t find funny at all, sorry. Hey, no accounting for taste though, is there?

    • gnome says:

      02:21pm | 06/03/13

      Agree totally Joan.  Hills just isn’t funny.  Spicks and specks was fun, and watchable despite Hills, certainly not because of him.

      He might be good enough for the ABC, but he’d starve as a comedian in the real world.

    • NSS says:

      04:12pm | 06/03/13

      He’d starve as a comedian in the “real world”, eh Gnome? And which real world would that be? The USA isn’t the only the country on the planet, you know.  FYI, Adam Hills stand-up is very popular in many countries. He spends much of his time visiting various comedy festivals where he’s a headliner. He’s especially popular in the UK, hence having his own show.

    • Tim says:

      06:42am | 06/03/13

      This whole article is a joke right?

      Rivers makes her living from slagging off people. Its not like she only picks on certain types of people, she goes after everyone including herself. If you don’t like what she has to say, don’t listen to her.

      And how in gods name Hills’ stupid rant is sexist I’ve got no idea.

    • AdamC says:

      09:10am | 06/03/13

      Yeah, the thing is, Joan Rivers makes fun of everyone, for every reason imaginable. That is her schtick. And it’s funny. Having jokes made at your expense is part of being a celebrity, in my view. Especially when said jokes are clearly not meant to be taken personally.

      While I have not seen the relevant source clips that this article reference, I cannot see why Adam Hills would have chucked a wobbly over what sound like typical Rivers quips. His diatribe doesn’t even read like it would be funny.

      ‘Jaded old moll’? Really? ‘Manufacture a new soul’? Give me a break!

      There is nothing worse than a comedian who takes himself seriously ...

    • SydneyGirl says:

      09:43am | 06/03/13

      I agree. This is a woman who makes jokes about her own plastic surgery and who topped off her Adele quip with a Holocaust one.

      And yes Adam Hills retort is merely stupid,  just the kind of inanity that is retweeted in the belief that it is striking a blow for fat people.

      And heavens, Adele a role model! She is a good singer but the UK seems to churn the type out doesn’t it - Dido, Duff, Adele…at least Amy managed to skip the mononym.  Maybe kids are better off looking for proper role models rather than a singer who has managed her career well.

    • Spanky says:

      06:44am | 06/03/13

      Harden up world
      Joan Rivers is over a hundred and has always been insensitive rude and abusive.
      It’s what she does

    • Johnno says:

      06:46am | 06/03/13

      Get stuffed.  God forbid, how is that sexist?  You have no problems with the section where he talks about someone like Joan Rivers & called them a “dick,” do you?  No mention about how that might be sexist? No.  But he calls some jaded, plastic-faced, bitter, unfunny old hack a “moll” and he is being sexist?  Give us a freaking break.  You are simply looking for something to get annoyed about where there is nothing.

    • ronny jonny says:

      06:55am | 06/03/13

      I’d like to see Adam Hills try and do that to Joan Rivers face to face. She would eat him alive. Keyboard warrior/ studio warrior? I think Adam has been swimming in the warm, supportive waters of the ABC for too long. Joan Rivers has been swimming with sharks for decades.

    • Tator says:

      08:09am | 06/03/13

      Hills has done a lot more work outside of the ABC than you think, he tours with his stand up show regularly and is a regular with the major comedy festivals like Montreal, Edinburgh and Melbourne.  This means it would be an interesting contest rather than the one sided one you are predicting.

    • Rose says:

      09:23am | 06/03/13

      Actually, in a test of skill and intellect I think you’d find that he could eat Rivers for breakfast. Maybe in a contest of unintelligent tirades of uncalled for insults she might beat him, but he is far superior to her as a comedian and as a human being.

    • scott says:

      10:18am | 06/03/13


      Why do you think that?  Is it because Joan Rivers is a female

    • Rose says:

      10:29am | 06/03/13

      No, it’s because her career is predominantly built on nothing more than bullying and insults, not intelligent observation. Almost anybody can string together rude and insulting comments, but to make intelligent social commentary, at the same time making it funny, takes great skill.

    • ronny jonny says:

      10:32am | 06/03/13

      Well, comedy is totally subjective isn’t it? I myself find Joan far more entertaining than Adam. I know you all find him hilarious, especially since he only has one foot! And he’s so nice! And he only has one foot! And that smile! And he only has one foot!!!

    • Rose says:

      11:10am | 06/03/13

      WTF has his foot got to do with anything. It seems that maybe you and Rivers may have a lot in common, you find insulting people for the sake of it funny. The rest of us are a little more evolved than that.

    • TimR says:

      07:06am | 06/03/13

      Sexist? Seriously?

    • infamous16 says:

      07:12am | 06/03/13

      You really are grasping at straws, he also said ‘dick’, is that sexist? I’m pretty sure the equivalent of moll would be philanderer, but that’d outside the feminist lexicon.

    • Rose says:

      08:52am | 06/03/13

      Nowadays ‘moll’ is more likely to mean bitch than slut, in which case the word was absolutely justified.

    • Chris L says:

      12:23pm | 06/03/13

      “There is no male equivalent slur”

      How about cad? I think the problem in this is that men aren’t as sensitive over such names and it makes some feminists feel bad.

      I like much of what Wendy writes, but this is making a mountain out of a moll-hill (apologies if another poster has already said this).

    • James1 says:

      12:50pm | 06/03/13

      In place of philanderer, I would simply say “dishonoured”.  In order to have honour, one must treat both themselves and others with respect and dignity.  Promiscuous behaviour in either men or women displays a lack of dignity and respect, and thus a lack of personal honour.  And, to my mind at least, the worst thing a man can do is live without honour.  Thus, dishonour is at least as great an insult as moll or slut.

      But then, I’m old fashioned like that.  Most of you will probably disagree with me.

    • Chris L says:

      03:56pm | 06/03/13

      Honour is subjective James1. While it is impossible to use the word “dignified” in relation to the act of sex (seriously undignified stuff), I don’t believe that promiscuity in itself demonstrates a lack of respect. One could very possibly engage in coitus with scores of women (not simultaneously) while maintaining respect for every single one of them…

      At least I’d like to give it a shot sometime.

    • Tubesteak says:

      04:08pm | 06/03/13

      “Promiscuous behaviour in either men or women displays a lack of dignity and respect, and thus a lack of personal honour”

      You’re kidding, right?

      Sex is fun. Sex with different people is even more fun. There’s a reason why monogamy rhymes with monotony and that’s because both are boring. Relationships have little to offer me and I prefer to enjoy my life rather than be shackled to a load of ballast that doesn’t do much for me.

    • Alex Wells says:

      07:20am | 06/03/13

      If you cant take the heat get out of the kitchen. Im sorry, but you cant be an offensive asshat, and then hide behind the old sexism rant. Getting a little bloody tired of people (women) screaming sexism at every. Possible. Damn. Opportinuty. Its losing its cut through.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      08:36am | 06/03/13

      “If you cant take the heat get out of the kitchen. “

      Pretty sure that saying is sexist now.

    • Helt says:

      07:27am | 06/03/13

      I had no idea thats what moll meant. Thank you for for seaching the internet for reasons for me to be offended by Adam Hills. Didnt work but thank you. Im happy he said what he said because everyone whines about bullying trolling and abuse but when Adam Hills stands up to it we are supposed to be offened by the way he did it? Maybe when other people stand up I will be offended but when hes the only one standing up I will appluad him

    • difficult lemon says:

      07:39am | 06/03/13

      Hills is a B grade comedian at best.

    • Brian says:

      07:45am | 06/03/13

      Why is she Fat? lets face it MOST (99%) of people are fat because they are LAZY and cannot keep the fork away from their mouths or in the case of Children they are being ABUSED by their LAZY and no doubt FAT parents who are feeding them S#%T, Adele has no excuse to be FAT and UNHEALTHY with her wealth, lets stop beating around the bush and get on top of this problem that is costing our societies so much.

    • Brian (Yes, there are several of us) says:

      09:13am | 06/03/13

      Whether that is true or not (and you could certainly argue it), attitudes like that actually entrench it. People are not perfect, and when someone holds such a negative view it tends to result in shattering what little confidence they have, making it even harder to break out.

      Smoking is far, far worse for your health than being moderately overweight, yet we don’t have this constant public mockery. Drinking to excess is the same, yet we don’t see the people who do this as ‘too lazy to quit’.

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      12:00pm | 06/03/13

      Hey Brian, - the first one that is -

      How on earth do you know that she’s unhealthy?? Got some kind of access to her medical records or are you just making stuff up?

    • StuieG says:

      12:21pm | 06/03/13

      Brian - I’ll give you drinking. We do accept excess drinking. But smokers, they’re Pariah’s these days ( as it should be ). Most of the few smokers I still know hide their habit because they’re embarrassed by it. I think it’s just old news, Fat hate is new and cool. Fat parents abusing their children by bringing them up fat is the issue we really should be looking at. My kids are one of the big reasons I stay in shape, to set a good example - and hot soccer mums !

    • Stephen says:

      07:45am | 06/03/13

      Here we go again. Drama in Girltown.

      I count no fewer than three…yes, THREE articles in todays Punch (isn’t that a sexist term - women don’t punch, do they?) talking about women. One may be forgiven for thinking that the only topic female “jounalists” believe important is “Women’s Issues”. Never before have we been regaled with so much navel gazing and constant self examination as we are by women.

      What IS the problem, girls…life not treating you right? Where does the compulsion come from to launch a constant barrage of “Women’s Issues” on the world? And are the number of issues decreasing to the point where you now analysing the trite and pithy comments of “entertainers”.

      Do you believe we, the great male unwashed, give a toss what a painted head on a stick says about a singer?

      The cacophony of complaining, whining females is becoming comically shrill.

      If I didn’t know better, I’d suggest it smacks of insecurity and a lack of a general understanding of your role in the world, ladies. But that would imply “feminism” is a failed concept, and that can’t be right.

      Can it?

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      09:21am | 06/03/13

      Hahahaha, Stephen. “Drama in Girltown.” I love it! But, does it ever stop?
      Trite, can only be painted so many ways before someone eventually calls it for what it really is.
      I wish I could get a job where I can air all of my petty grievances and prejudices, and go home with a dollar in my pocket. This stuff makes politics almost (I said, almost) look respectable.

    • proberly a misogynist says:

      11:15am | 06/03/13

      Plus 1 stephen the punch is starting to sound like a broken record

    • Jim Moriarty says:

      07:46am | 06/03/13

      I really wouldn’t say calling Joan Rivers a moll - or perhaps he meant ‘mole’ - is sexist. I’m pretty happy with problematic language being called out, but I would argue this isn’t the case in this instance.

    • marley says:

      07:46am | 06/03/13

      Sorry, but I just don’t see this as particularly sexist.  Hills had a go at Rivers for her character, not her sex - and if she’s prostituted herself and any values she might have for notoriety or for filthy lucre, as he implies, well, she won’t be the first person,  male or female, to do that.  They should all be called on it.

    • Meph says:

      09:02am | 06/03/13


      “if she’s prostituted herself and any values she might have for notoriety or for filthy lucre, as he implies, well, she won’t be the first person”

      +1 Internets for you! A person (male or female) can whore themselves out for profit without it meaning anything at all to do with sex. Just look at the Madden brothers, apparently ex vegetarians now beating the drum for KFC. Hell, I used to work with a precious little complainer who got mightily offended when I said that my then bank was raping me with fees and charges. Mind you, cheap shot to say the least. Joan Rivers is a pretty large target (pun partially intended) when it comes to tearing her up for offensive comedy.

      Mind you, I think the article author has forgotten the core principle of the english language. If we were to take it back to the original meanings for all of our words, we Australians would barely be able to say anything at all in public without giving offense. It’s all a load of crap, and anyone who gives a toss can go and bugger off!

    • Loddlaen says:

      07:59am | 06/03/13

      I’m still trying to work out how “moll” equates to sexism.

    • marley says:

      08:29am | 06/03/13

      I had to look it up.  Apparently, “moll” means prostitute.  And here I’ve always associated it with gangsters, tommy guns and bootleg liquor.

    • Loddlaen says:

      09:45am | 06/03/13

      I looked it up also. I always assumed it meant bitch.

    • difficult lemon says:

      10:34am | 06/03/13

      Surprised some people not aware of the word. Especially you marley as you seem well read.

      Moll is short for Molly (Molly itself being a diminutive of Mary).

      The most well known perhaps being the literary character Moll Flanders.

      The prostitute/gangster girlfriend connection is not hard one to make.

    • easy "split infinitive" humour says:

      10:41am | 06/03/13

      its the same invective as the word “chick” in todays effie world. It is a put down like the “real dave” uses to try and demean someone on this blog. But he fails.. due to a fixed predictive trol-like jargonseque .Moll can mean a lot of things as Marley found out.That just proves that her/or her generation is unaware of the previous generations’ use of dialect. Different “gens” do the same baggging but in a diferent language and of course humour, it can be satirical,at least it was in 2013 and 1790 The word .“Chick” used derogatively for me as observed, being spoken by male and female users, denotes a putdown as low cultured, as it infers a status loss of reputation at the intended,especially by other women In the case of a man using the word ,it means he is indifferent as to the point of why a female says it, in her context of their interpretation, of the use of the word and him not picking up, why she says “chick”.  As for humour and I like kids etc, it is so easy to take that sarcastic line on say a “preggers” woman with the todays fashion emphasis, on showing the protrududing expectancy,  unlike the previous gens. What one gen delights in display or say “showing off” ,the previous “gens” acted supposedly with modestly.To be truthful the “preggers” women is a sitting duck for earlier gens up in your face style humour, say as in benny hill humour, for her overt display of belly out and no cover…Sexism is someone, in this case scenario of joan rivers, of not recognising the act of splitting/taking it to adeeper level the humour and nothing to do with sexism, but humourous sarcsam.Only naive readers of behaviour would interpret that or try to read this woman bagging woman, in a purist way.Subtle humour is funny even if you are the topic ..laugh at your self and life is les toxic

    • marley says:

      10:47am | 06/03/13

      @difficult lemon - I’d always associated “molls” with gangsters rather than with prostitutes, per se.  I think I may have watched too many old gangster movies as a child.  And yes, I have read Moll Flanders, but when I think of a moll, I still visualise speak-easies and flappers, not hookers.  So, while I can see the connection logically, in fact, the association didn’t come to mind when I heard the phrase.  I suspect I’m not alone.

    • ronny jonny says:

      11:05am | 06/03/13

      Moll was a very common term of address for teenage girls when I was in high school. Along with dog, rag and slut. Pretty ugly stuff but widespread common and accepted by all, except the grownups. Mostly.
      Other more local terms of abuse were Rista, who was a local gay man in the town and Ronny, who was a local pedophile that would pay young boys money to perfrom certain acts in front of him. It was considered the height of wit to call each other by these names, especially in front of others. It’s a wonder I am so well adjusted considering my background.

    • Kooka says:

      08:04am | 06/03/13

      There’s a reason rational women distance themselves from the feminist movement.

    • marley says:

      08:30am | 06/03/13

      I don’t have an issue with genuine feminism.  This sort of nonsense isn’t it.

    • Markus says:

      12:04pm | 06/03/13

      @marley, a shame that ‘genuine feminism’ has taken a back seat to this kind of rubbish for decades now.

      Just like trade unions for workers, the feminist and suffrage movements were previously responsible for some great gains in women’s rights.
      But while there are still areas in which they could continue addressing genuine issues, both have become lazy and irrelevant, and instead choose to fill their time with this sort of trivial crap.

    • marley says:

      12:21pm | 06/03/13

      @Markus - I couldn’t agree more.

    • Richard M says:

      08:04am | 06/03/13

      Adam Hills blotted his copybook with me when he used his British show to do what so many Aussie expats do in Britain, which is to pander to Pom stereotypes about Australia, first in a really offensive, and wholly inaccurate, anti-Aussie piece about the recent publicity concerning our sport, and then last week about some Aussie mag publishing photos of Her Belovedness Kate.
      Why do Aussie expats feel that they have to do this to curry favour with the Poms?

    • Chris L says:

      12:36pm | 06/03/13

      Probably because they thought we could take a joke.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      08:06am | 06/03/13

      Yes, yes, everyone is offended.  How terrible.  How they will live, I don’t know.  No human has ever, or will ever, endure such torment.  Oh, the humanity of it all.  Etc…etc…etc…

    • Troy Flynn says:

      10:18am | 06/03/13

      (Helen Lovejoy) Won’t somebody think of the (over-weight) children?

    • ramases says:

      08:09am | 06/03/13

      First and foremost who cares what Rivers says or does. from what I’ve seen of her she is without doubt a few sandwiches short of a picnic anyway but for some reason Americans hold onto her every word like its gospel. Just shows the mentality of those that watch the show or even take notice of her at all, sad isn’t it.

    • fml says:

      08:09am | 06/03/13

      Geeez, it’s like a look at me, I’m a big internet tuffie jamborie all up in ‘ere.

      I willing to bet, you all cry like likkle babies once insulted…

    • Modern Primitive says:

      09:15am | 06/03/13

      Why? Do you?

    • fml says:

      01:45pm | 06/03/13

      No, but I bet you do.

      You seem to need a kleenex everytime I post. Though I am not sure if it is always for crying…

    • TruthSayer says:

      08:19am | 06/03/13

      LOL Fattist! I cannot wait until this becomes trendy and fat people start accusing people of being fattist. My response will be “I think it can objectively be established that it is YOU who is fattist.”

    • Vicki PS says:

      09:14am | 06/03/13

      If the rabble-rousing government stats are to be believed, fatties are in the majority in Australia.  I can’t wait for us to start exercising our voting power to tell all those sad people with body image fixations i.e. fatty-bashers, to go eat a pie.

    • TruthSayer says:

      09:35am | 06/03/13

      I do eat a pie. Key word ‘A’, not twelve dozen.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      10:55am | 06/03/13

      Would that make the contestants on “The Biggest Loser” traitors to “their kind”?

    • Arthur Dunger says:

      02:04pm | 06/03/13

      @ TruthSayer. 12 dozen pies? That’s gross.

    • Simon says:

      08:51am | 06/03/13

      ...what? I don’t even….huh?

      Okay, just let me update my sexist words playbook. “Moll” is sexist and offensive. Gotcha.

    • Rose says:

      08:57am | 06/03/13

      This whole thing could only be deemed sexist if you can be sure that Hills wouldn’t of used the same level of anger if his rant was directed at a male. I am 100% convinced that if a bloke did what Rivers did it would have elicited a similarly angry response from Hills, so, NO, there was no sexism.
      Picking up on one word to make something sexist, particularly a word such as moll, makes it seem to be that you had to go hunting to find the sexism, something you obviously need to do to justify your professional existence.

    • Joel M-J says:

      09:02am | 06/03/13

      Wendy, I think it may be time to get a life.

      I’ve tried and I’ve tried… I’ve tried some more, and I’m just not seeing the sexist comment you’ve alluded too.

      Seriously… go be a happy person or something… cos this is just ridiculous.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      09:03am | 06/03/13

      If it had been a women giving Rivers a serve she would have gotten a pass.

    • NSS says:

      09:07am | 06/03/13

      I love Adam Hills. He’s a principled, intelligent, funny and talented man. Had the pleasure of meeting him once and he was gentlemanliness personified. So, he got hot under the collar about Joan River’s unfunny, nasty schtick. Big deal. He’s not perfect and he was pissed off. I know which comedian I’d rather have at a dinner party any day.

      Your confected outrage is just a teeny tad OTT, Wendy.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      09:09am | 06/03/13

      ...and the wimmen stick together… You condemn Rivers for her ridiculous, bitchy comments, (Joan should take a good hard look in the mirror, if she can bear to) about Adele then take fire at Adam Hills, a male, for doing the same thing.
      Two sets of rules here, Wendy?
      You can criticise one of your own gender but no-one of the opposites can, is that it?
      A woman can criticise a man & she is exercising her “Right to Freedom of Speech”? Is that it. Wendy?
      A man has the gall to criticise some tatty old plastic bag & he’s being sexist?
      No, Wendy, Joan Rivers started this. She was totally out of order. She was not being funny. She never has been.
      She deserves all the criticism she has received - from whatever person it comes from.
      Adam Hills was spot on with his comments.

    • Rose says:

      09:31am | 06/03/13

      Sorry, women are not sticking together on this. Joan Rivers has been roundly condemned by men and women for her bitchiness and Wendy’s article has seen women point out that she is wrong, that Hills was not sexist.

    • Meph says:

      09:56am | 06/03/13


      “Joan should take a good hard look in the mirror, if she can bear to”

      I’m picturing (no pun intended, i swear) something ala Nosferatu (ie. lack of reflection) or possibly something like the picture of Dorian Grey.

    • NSS says:

      10:02am | 06/03/13

      You might notice a few “women” (just fixing that for you) are telling Wendy to get over it.

      Adam may have taken his point a bit too far, but honestly, Joan River’s ancientness nor her gender do not exempt her from critique as well. Just because she’s made a lot money off it for a very long time it doesn’t make it funny nor appropriate. Frankly, she sucks.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      02:44pm | 06/03/13

      Rose & NSS,
      The reason I used the “wimmen” word was because I am well aware that many, indeed probably most, women would find what Rivers said was unacceptable
      I would rather have a “substantial”, normal woman who has, as many do, put on a bit of extra whilst pregnant & who is not afraid to appear in public after giving birth than some plastic, wafer thin dolly!
      As one Australian actor was reported as saying when asked how was the love scene between him & some matchstick: “A piece of 4x2 would be more exciting.”
      Who wants to cuddle a matchstick - male or female? You might end up with splinters!!
      “Meph” the prob with her looking in a mirror is that it might shatter & destroy her from shock

    • Kika says:

      09:10am | 06/03/13

      Excuse me? I’m sorry but what was sexist about his reply? Everything he said was true and was not about Joan being a woman, it was about Joan having a go at someone’s weight when in reality she’s got her own body hang ups and has tried to fix them by fixing her face a gazillion times.

      I would daresay his use of the word ‘moll’ or ‘mole’ would only be the equivalent of calling a man a dckhead. It didn’t make his point. It was just a word to tie his argument together.

      Not sexist in the least.

    • vox says:

      10:07am | 06/03/13

      Kika, the term “mole”, (used in this context), is a word used in early Australia for a woman assumed to be of loose morals. The word “moll” however originated in Hollywood in the 40’s/50’s to describe a gangster’s girlfriend, that being as far as Hollywood was prepared to go given the restrictions of the day. I think it was called the “Hayes Act”, that deemed any overt reference a nono.
      The Hollywood reference may have had its origin from a snide comparison to Moll Flanders, who in literature was known to “get around a bit”.
      I met Rivers in the U.S.  At least I think it was her, (although it might have been a mailbox), but I do know that she is the only person in history to actually “crack” a smile.
      I must say that there are a few plastic faces in our part of the world, and a few fatties, too.
      By the way, Julie Bishop was on Q&A last Monday, and Joe Hockey is on next Monday. I wonder what brought those two to mind?

    • vox says:

      12:00pm | 06/03/13

      @Difficult Lemon. I did say it was likely to be pre-Hollywood, so both the 1920’s and the centuries-old pre-date were close to the money. Thanks for that link, I’ve now signed up.
      Have a nice day.

    • difficult lemon says:

      03:04pm | 06/03/13

      @ vox - Thank you, same to you and your welcome, it’s a good site.

      My interest in words and their origins brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s defintion of a “lexicographer” - “a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge”.

    • Kim of Canberra says:

      09:36am | 06/03/13

      Oh pleeeeeeaase, ‘moll’ is a good old Australian slang insult used in a similar way to ‘cow.’  Does anyone really think Joan Rivers is promiscuous? Come on!! The whole thing should just be a good lesson for Rivers that if you dish it out be prepared to take it and I bet she can. No need to be offended on her behalf.

    • Nigel says:

      09:39am | 06/03/13

      If more people actually got of their fat asses, turned the TV off (shock horror) and went outside and did something there would be less fat people and less PC idiots to complain about Some Said jokes. As for one joke justifying another. JOKE is the work people. get over it.

    • Spell checks on the Punch says:

      09:43am | 06/03/13

      So I read the article and thought WTF! Is this what passes for topical points of interest in today’s superficial world? Seriously you write a 600+ word piece on how sexist it was for Adam Hills to use the word “moll” in his diatribe. Has the world gone stark raving mad? Do we not have enough confected outrage and hang ups that we now have to put every utterance from every person within earshot under the microscope?

      This must be a complete gee-up because I cannot believe anyone in 2013 can get hot under the collar because someone used the word “moll”. What if he had said “she is a beastly rotter” or “bitter old flatulence”?  Terms that fell out of use in 1923, much like moll.

      I write this not to add to the debate as to hopefully shut it down. As we all sit at our work desks writing to the Punch instead of adding to the economy can I suggest we save our keystrokes in future for articles that tackle real issues and not bubble gum guff like this.

    • Tanya says:

      09:54am | 06/03/13

      The ‘fattist’ debate is irrelevant here – nobody has the right to publicly humiliate anybody. Adam Hills’ was righteously angry on Adele’s behalf and unfortunately venom begat venom and his filter was off. It beats the shit out of me how any woman who is vain and insecure enough to undergo numerous cosmetic procedures, could be insensitive enough to insult another woman’s physical appearance. Guaranteed if Joan Rivers blew out, she’d get it surgically removed if she hasn’t already.

    • Ben says:

      10:30am | 06/03/13

      >>The ‘fattist’ debate is irrelevant here – nobody has the right to publicly humiliate anybody.<<

      Actually, no, that’s not correct. I’m aware the commissars at the Human Rights Commission are looking to change all that, but - with certain exceptions - one is entitled to spray venom as one wills, publicly or otherwise.

    • Beiha says:

      10:05am | 06/03/13

      Look. I love Adele. She is a talented singer. Maybe she is a nice lady. I have never met her. Joan Rivers should never have said what she said. She comes across as a bitter woman with a poor sense of humour, always at the expense of others.

      HOWEVER.  It p*sses me off no end when people look up to other celebrities as ‘role models’ for their children. OK so Adele is talented and she worked hard to get where she did. But, parents out there - please don’t look to celebrities as role models for your children.  Look to your own family members. Look to the true heroes of society - teachers, nurses, firefighters, police, volunteers.

      And I don’t think an obese, clearly overweight person should be looked upon as a role model for children.  With all due respect to Adele, but she is not just ‘curvy’ or a few kilos overweight - she is obese. This is not a good example for children!

    • david says:

      10:42am | 06/03/13

      I agree. Role models need to be perfect in every way. Thin teachers and nurses are a great place to start.

    • Rose says:

      11:18am | 06/03/13

      When my kids were growing up I used many people as role models for different reasons. It becomes a problem when you try to use one celebrity as a role model and place them up on a pedestal that is unrealistic and wobbly. I had no problem in telling my kids that a particular sports-person was a good sport and that their on field behaviour was worth learning from. I also had no problem in noting that certain actors and actresses or singers seemed to have a good attitude toward healthy practices. I also made the kids aware that there were many more ‘ordinary’ professions that were worthy of respect. I never ever let them believe that there was any one person (celebrity or otherwise) that was held aloft more than any one else though. That would be just setting them and myself up for a fall.

    • NSS says:

      11:21am | 06/03/13

      People who are comfortable in their own skin (cue the jokes about quantity *eye roll*) are admirable, IMO. Size does not matter either. I like the idea of teaching children not to judge a book by it’s cover, regardless of race, nationality, gender, religion, occupation, body art/piercings or size.

      We can educate children about nutrition and excercise whilst also teaching them not to be judgemental, can’t we?

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      03:21pm | 06/03/13

      “We can educate children about nutrition and excercise whilst also teaching them not to be judgemental, can’t we? “

      Err…no, not really. 

      “Eat greens etc…exercise to be healthy.”
      “What if I don’t?”
      “Well, you won’t be healthy.”
      “So that’s bad?”
      “So that person over there is bad?”
      “No, they’re not bad, they’re just not healthy.”
      “But you just said…”
      “Never mind what I just said.  Eat your vegetables.”

      You’re convincing kids that healthy is better, ergo, unhealthy is undesirable and worse.  Ergo, a judgement is made that the other person is worse and they are better, if they are healthy and the other unhealthy.

    • Nick says:

      06:21pm | 06/03/13

      What you’ve done is equate bad in the sense of undesireable to bad in the sense of wicked.  They’re different things.  Use it as a good learning experience for your kid.  And yourself by the sounds of it.

    • The Free says:

      10:33am | 06/03/13


      Fat people are not role models.  Healthy lifestyles, exercise and control rarely result in fat people.

      Fat people are the beacon of poor impulse control, not something to aspire to.

      Adele is a crass, swearing, smoking, overweight lady who can sing.  I don’t want my daughter looking to her as a role model.

      Woopdeedoo, she can sing.

    • difficult lemon says:

      10:44am | 06/03/13

      @Beiha “It p*sses me off no end when people look up to other celebrities as ‘role models’ for their children”

      Perhaps Rivers can be seen as a “moll model”?

    • Beiha says:

      11:01am | 06/03/13

      Hahaha yes, a “moll model”

    • Smidgeling says:

      11:06am | 06/03/13

      There is a word for it: Man-whore or player.

    • Markus says:

      03:01pm | 06/03/13

      There are many words for it. In fact given that English rarely has masculine and feminine equivalents of the same word as some languages do, the words are actually exactly the same as those used against women.

      That more women do not choose to shame slutty men and their whorish behaviour by using these words is not the fault of the English language. Perhaps if they spent more time shaming these sluts and less time competing with other women for their favour…?

    • Neil says:

      11:15am | 06/03/13

      Technically speaking a moll might be a woman who has sex with bad men, but in Australia it’s generally used to describe a mean spirited woman.

      I like Joan but I think she was out of line on this one.

    • K-Oz says:

      11:34am | 06/03/13

      Pot. Kettle. The shallowness of human existence…yawn.

    • Bruno says:

      11:42am | 06/03/13

      oh ffs

    • Timinane says:

      11:47am | 06/03/13

      Does the insult by Joan Rivers and clearly a group of commentators feel the same way deserve a sexist response? No.

      Adam Hills response was not sexist, he attacked the person themselves not her gender.

      I support Adam Hills in his attack

      I don’t support this warped view on beauty and weight where a person like Adele is called obese when she is more at a higher end of a healthy weight though everyone commenting on her weight is unlikely to have the medical knowledge or information to make any diagnosis.

    • jg says:

      12:10pm | 06/03/13


      Where’a Gillard on this?

    • Really? says:

      01:12pm | 06/03/13

      Better question:
      “Does a non-offensive stand-up comedy routine justify overblown, unjustified, hysterical claims of sexism?”

      No.  The answer is no.

    • Jasmine says:

      01:35pm | 06/03/13

      It was Kylie Mole, not Moll.

    • Luke says:

      02:46pm | 06/03/13

      I think the author is taking something genuinely small, way too seriously..
      I wish i had a platform to insult everyone and get articles lke this written on me which would only make me more famous…

    • Ben says:

      02:47pm | 06/03/13

      >>So it boils down to this: does a series of cheap fattist gags justify the use of a what still feels to me like an unnecessarily sexist one?<<

      Hmm. Let’s have a look at what Punch wrote a while back:

      “He’s a cretin, a hate-filled belligerent whose talent is in inverse proportion to his offensiveness. As Penbo pointed out yesterday, he’s a dead-set, rolled-gold, card-carrying dickhead.”

      Perhaps Punch should practise what it preaches.

    • Blimpo Bungo says:

      02:52pm | 06/03/13

      Ok.. I dislike Joan Rivers, I always have and what she said was extremely NOT funny….however, Adam’s profain and abusive swearing was far more degrading of a person… (in my view himself)....particularly on public/free to air TV…... and I hope his daughter doesn’t witness that sort of language.

    • Gordon says:

      03:51pm | 06/03/13

      I’m confused. When Adam Hills uses a bunch of other words to question Rivers character that’s fine and dandy but when he puts it into one word “moll” it’s sexist?

      Last time I looked sexism was assuming something (negative) just because of (female) gender. Hills wasn’t calling Rivers a moll because she’s female, he’s said it because she is a female who said mollish things.

      If you want to get worked up the “old” was a cheaper shot than the “moll”.

    • william says:

      05:32pm | 06/03/13

      sorry Wendy, I see where you’re coming from but don’t agree…

      the simple answer is no, a fattist comment does not justify a sexist one but, specifically, I think it’s a stretch to find sexism in Hills’ comments…

      you yourself noted that moll is an outdated term and that’s because modern usage has a completely different implied meaning that has nothing to do with being promiscuous…it has more of a ‘nasty piece of work’ connotation for the past few decades at least

      some terms are objectively unacceptable but others are more subjective and don’t deserve to be in the same league as those universally sexist, racist or homophobic terms…I think it’s dangerous when ‘slightly offensive’ terms get undue attention because it just takes the energy/attention away from the really grubby (though often insidiously under-the-radar…I’m looking at you T.Abbott), ones

      for example, men tend not to be gender-offended when male genitals are used pejoratively (e.g. d**khead) even though the female equivalent would (correctly) be considered highly misogynist…technically blokes have every right to complain about its use but I’m glad they don’t

      remember, it’s easy to find offence anywhere if you look hard enough but it just makes you and people around you, miserable…

      keep up the good work!!

    • pete says:

      06:59pm | 06/03/13

      Adam Hills is loved? He’s the homeless person’s Wil Anderson. Gee and he’s still making jokes about having one leg? Awwwwwwwesome.


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