Shaun on this season of Mad As

With season 10 of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell wrapping up, I spoke to Shaun a few weeks ago about how it was going and what lies ahead for the future.

Ten seasons and a 100+ episodes – are you still enjoying Mad As Hell and would you do another 10?
I always talk to Gary (McCaffrie) immediately afterwards, and now he’s in Tasmania so I just ring him; he watches a feed from the studio. He just moved there, so is writing from home. He used to work in the office next to me, but it doesn’t feel much different, we might miss the lunch. Because he’s not driving any more, he’s working – we get another three sketches out of him! As long as he wants to do (Mad As Hell), I’m pretty happy doing it. As he said to me last year, “this is the perfect show for us”, which is no surprise because it was constructed by us. It’s pretty good, and I can’t think that in my remaining life in television, we’ll find something that is better. As long as they want it, and as long as Gary wants to do it… If the cast and crew wanted to go off and do their own thing, as they do from time to time, we’re able to bring new people in, and we’ve had Christie (Wheelan-Browne) hit the ground running. And that’s good, because everyone steps up with someone new there. There will come a time when the audience say “that’s enough, let’s not hear from someone who’s 60 years old.” (“Don’t be like that!” I replied)

There have been a few cast changes this season: you mentioned Christie, plus Roz has departed and Francis has been in and out.
Francis did the first live night, and he did some later ones, but he otherwise hasn’t been available because of the play he’s been in. But he has made himself available to do some field pieces. If you didn’t look too closely, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Just as Roz being absent for the latter part of the season. Roz isn’t going to come back, she’s decided it’s time to take advantage of some new opportunities which she deserves. It’s perfectly understandable she wants to flex her dramatic muscles. I do it myself, go off and do a few things between seasons. You’ll see Laurence (Boxhall) appearing in the Curiosity Cul-de-sac sketches. He’s in the play with Francis, so when I saw the show, I caught up with Laurence and I wrote up a little piece for him.

Christie you had worked with in The Odd Couple, how did you meet Michelle (Brazier)?
I was seeing some Aunty Donna stuff, and she had featured a bit in their stuff, and I noticed how good she was. Then she happened to be doing a show at the Comedy Festival called QANDA (a send up of Q&A) with Emily, and it all seemed to work as a sort of audition. We asked if she was interested, and she was, and she also hit the ground running. She had to go away for Edinburgh fringe, but in the last 2 weeks we have everyone, so it will be an old-school full-sized cast.

Are you hopeful the show will be back next year?
Always hopeful, but we’ve had an indication – it will be back.

And will you be able to bring all the cast along?
I think everyone is up for it.

25 years in one book

Shaun’s latest book has hit the shelves: Mad As Hell And Back, an anthology of sketches from Full Frontal, The Micallef P(r)ogram(me), Newstopia and, of course, Mad As Hell.

It’s co-written with Shaun’s writing partner Gary McCaffrie, and the two introduce each section of the book (grouped by program) with a story about how they got to that point, sparing back and forth.

I was very happy to get my hands on my copy, it’s a celebration of some of Shaun and Gary’s best sketches in 370 pages. Sure it’s really for die-hard fans, but why would you want to be anything else?

The ABC of repeating an episode

It was a very strange week last week, enough to make Shaun himself actually Mad As Hell. (Well, slightly)

If you didn’t notice, the ABC played the wrong episode of “Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell”. Instead of episode four, recorded the previous night to air Wednesday 17th at 8:32pm-ish, we got episode three, originally aired the previous Wednesday.

As the ABC (with all broadcast TV networks) have outsourced the actual playback/transmission of their feed to a company called MediaHub, there was no one at ABC Melbourne to correct the issue, and no one to rectify the mistake before it aired across timezones in SA and then WA. So the whole thing played out as if it was new, except for an apology crawler message.

The blame was placed on a tech at ABC, who, after it was supplied by Shaun’s team, mislabeled the episode in delivering it to MediaHub.

The result was Mad As Hell appeared on screens four times in a week (one additional Thursday night airing), and the Wednesday night repeat still ended up rating #1 in it’s timeslot.

At least Shaun and Leigh Sales got to have some fun with it.

Double the Shaun for one night only

Wednesday is shaping as a double Shaun night, with the finale of series 2 (or 6, depending how you count) of Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation on Channel 9 at 7:30pm, then straight over to the ABC at 8:30pm (ish) for the start of series 10 of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell.

On TAYG, we’re getting the first fancy dress theme since the show moved to Channel 9. And Mad As Hell, expect “same government, fresh hell”… but also, two new cast members: Christie Whelan Browne and Michelle Brasier will appear at different times during the season. It’s a healthy 13 episode season too.

Finally… time to be Mad As Hell again!

“This is an illness, take some time off till you can write a headline without a pun in it.”

While we have been very much enjoying the sheer absurdity of Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, we’re delighted that the place where Shaun really flexes his chops, Mad As Hell, is back in less than a month, Wednesday 26th June at 8:30pm on ABC.
And it’s Season 10. Freak me sideways!

Yes, the ABC missed an opportunity to let the show air during the federal election, but now that we know exactly who is running the asylum, you can expect some laser focused satire.. so that we can all yell “something, something, I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Ten years since we first Your Gen-ened

On the 5th May 2009, Shaun made his biggest splash into the mainstream zeitgeist by first hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, joining the original cast of Amanda Keller, Charlie Pickering and Josh Thomas for four glorious seasons, which got zanier as it went on, eventually even spawning a book!

And, sure, there was a hiatus between the original (2009-2012) and the reboot (which returned last year, but splitting hairs aside – happy 10 years to TAYG!

Shaun and Charlie reminisced on the anniversary over Twitter (both of whom obviously have ABC news based comedy shows at various times of the year)….

TAYG is back for another round this Wednesday

You don’t need a the time machine – the second season of the rebooted Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation is on Channel 9 from 7:30pm this Wednesday.

Shaun will again be joined by Robyn Butler, Andy Lee and Laurence Boxhall as X, Y and Z team captains.

I was lucky enough to be in the audience for one of the episodes, and it certainly feels more freeform than even last season (think ‘As Quick As’ being timed against a competitive hot-dog eater). If you enjoy your Micallef humour with a spot of odd, then strap in!

Feeling bookish

Did everyone finish reading through Shaun’s uncollected plays over summer? For those die hard fans, maybe you noticed:

– “The Great War and How it Got That Way” was originally featured as a cold open sketch in Mad As Hell

– “Visiting Rites” appeared as “(A Visit)” on Shaun’s His Generation album

– While most of the introductions were tongue-in-cheek, there was a very raw quality to the introduction of “Marx Will Be Deducted” which touched on his casting in the play Boeing Boeing

In other book talk, Shaun hinted recently that he’s working on another book, roughly based around the story of the Pied Piper. Tentatively titled “Rescuing Hamlin’s Children”, it’s aimed at the same readers who enjoyed Tales from a Tall Forest.

Talkin’ ‘Bout another round

TAYG will be back for 2019! After a come back last year on a new network, with new team captains (but thankfully the same host) Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation (MK2) will return to our screens for Series 2 later in the year. Filming is happening during February and March.

The quiz show battles celebrities from different generations against each other, with questions and physical challenges, to decide who is the greatest generation (of the week).

In the meantime, you can watch Series 1 online.