Shaun’s Stairway to Heaven

Ganges at sunriseIn addition to his ABC shows, in 2015 SBS will also air Shaun Micallef’s Stairway to Heaven, a one-hour documentary where Shaun heads to India to immerse himself in the Hindu world of Gods, Gurus and the Ganges, on his quest for the meaning of life.

It was Shaun’s first trip to India and was filmed in June/July of this year. The show is produced by Artemis International, the same people behind “Who Do You Think You Are“, which was how the whole thing came about.

New sitcom in 2015: The Ex-PM

Shaun Micalled as "The Ex-PM"The name and details of Shaun’s new sitcom have been revealed: he will star and write “The Ex-PM” on ABC in 2015.

Andrew Dugdale, Australia’s third longest-serving Prime Minister, was a man who dined with presidents and kings, co-hosted world summits and changed the lives of millions of his fellow Australians. But since losing his grip on power, he now has far too much time on his hands and no one to waste it on. Described as a tale of redemption somewhere between House of Cards and One Foot in the Grave.

The show is a CJZ production in association with ABC TV, and will consist of 6 episodes.

We can’t wait!

It’s also been confirmed that Mad As Hell will return for an unprecedented (for Shaun) fifth season! Congratulations to everyone for a very successful show.

Mad as Hell in Studio 21

Behind the Madness

Post-credits shot from Mad as Hell S4E1Over the course of a few discussions with members of the cast and crew of Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, I’ve had some insight into how an episode comes together each week. So if you’ve ever wondered how a weekly TV satirical news show comes together – here goes!

All of the writers work mostly individually on their scripts and jokes, submitting them to Shaun, who works them all together to make a common “voice”. The cast get their scripts on Friday and sometimes Monday, with Shaun still editing scripts over the weekend. Monday is often used to shoot the pre-recorded/outdoor sketches.

Tuesday is a big day, with the rehearsals, then the live taping, with the audience arriving at 5:30pm, and filming soon after 6pm. It’s shot in Studio 31 at the ABC Studios in Elsternwick. The show is filmed roughly in the correct order as it would air on the TV, with taped pieces from the previous day (or week) being shown to the audience during cast or set changes. Usually more content is taped than required for the 28 minutes, to allow for flexibility with the pace of the show and adjustment to content, should news events of the following day dictate a change. So there is some content which never makes it to air.

After the taping, Shaun and Gary (McCaffrie, his writing partner) sit and compare notes on the show, and Shaun heads off to get the editing process started. This continues through on the Wednesday, with the finish touches put on before it airs at 8pm. All in the meantime, the writers have already begun on the content for next week.

There are many talented people who bring the show together each week, but it’s truly Shaun who acts as a lynch-pin to the whole process. Why wouldn’t he – it’s got his name on it!

Thanks to Anthony Morabito, David M. Green, Stephen Hall, Gary McCaffrie and of course Shaun – plus all the very friendly people who’ve shared their time with me.

Shaun on Live on Bowen with Host Simon Taylor

Shaun on Bowen

Tosh Greenslade on Live On Bowen

Live on Bowen is a comedy and variety show produced by RMITV which airs on community TV station C31 in Melbourne and throughout Australia and NZ. The show has always featured up and coming comedians and performers, and the current host is Simon Taylor, who is also a writer on Mad As Hell!

For the fifth season finale, Simon’s guests will be Shaun himself and Stephen Hall (Darius and various other characters).

The episode airs on Friday 7th November on C31 Melbourne at 8:30pm, on 31 Digital (Queensland) Wednesday 12th 9pm, WTV (Perth) on Wednesday 12th 9.30pm and Face Television – Sky Channel 083 (New Zealand) Sunday, 10pm. It will appear on 44 Adelaide later in the year, but Sydney you’re going to have to wait till it appears on YouTube.

Got a question to ask?

If you’ve got a question for one of the Mad as Hell cast or crew, this may be your opportunity!

Who is Veronica’s favourite character to play? Did Michael write the Kraken character for himself? Add it to the comments below and we’ll do our best to ask it. There’s of course no guarantee that anyone will be able to answer any of them, but there’s only one way to find out!

(Your question can also be for Shaun, obviously)

Thursday is a Date

Screengrab from Shaun in It's a DatePeter Helliar’s all-star comedy “It’s a Date” is returning for a second season. Each episode features two short stories about a couple (or attempted coupling), based on a theme such as “How Important Is Honesty On A First Date?”

Last season, Shaun was unable to participate as a cast member, but did pen a story for the episode “Does Age Matter?”

This season he appears opposite Rove and Adrienne Pickering in an episode “Is It OK To Date A Friend’s Ex?”: “Declan receives the go ahead from theatre performer Roland (Shaun) to date his ex-lover Tess.”
The season starts this Thursday 16th at 9pm on ABC, but Shaun’s episode is the 2nd, airing on the 23rd.

The President’s Desk out now

Shaun with my copy of the book

Finally, The President’s Desk is now available in all good, bad and indifferent bookshops.

Did you know that Woodrow Wilson was a Transvestite? FDR was killed on the orders of Churchill? Grover Cleveland almost married his own daughter? The White House was burned to the ground by Herbert Hoover? Bess Truman came from Outer Space?

Perhaps not, but if you like your history with a bit of spice, and a lot of humour, then this altered history of the American Presidency since the 1860’s, told through a piece of furniture – The Resolute Desk, is for you.

If not, look out of one of Shawn Micallef’s books, such as Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto.

 

All the Shaun you can find

Shaun watching TelevisionIt’s been a publicly quiet few months for Shaun, but as we head towards the end of the year, be prepared for an explosion of Micallef appearances:

  • Most Importantly: Mad As Hell is back from Wednesday at 8pm on ABC (or replayed on ABC2 or on iView) for 10 weeks
  • To ‘promote it’ (or not) Shaun will join
    • Matt and Alex on Triple J Tuesday mornings, probably sometime after 8am
    • Red Symonds on ABC 774 Melbourne breakfast, about 7:20am.
    • Both can be heard using the ABC Radio app for your Android/iPhone
  • It’s a Date starts on ABC on October 16th, with Shaun appearing in one of the episodes.
  • The President’s Desk, his book about the alt-history of the most powerful piece of furniture in the world, is available in the first week of October. To publicise it, he will be appearing at:

So now you know!

And Francis’s knee will be doing a regional tour of RSL clubs on the 31st of November.