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.

Shaun spills on…

Shaun MicallefA little while ago, Shaun spoke (exclusively?) to this site about a number of things. Here’s a selection of the topics and Shaun’s responses:

Shaun was very happy with Mad As Hell season 3, felt it was a polished version of season 2. I asked if he’s become more comfortable with the show and he agreed, saying the show feels like it has more of an attitude about it, and that adding more writers has assisted in making it a bigger show. The third series was also allowed to use parliamentary footage, which made for some great zingers.

I congratulated him on reaching four seasons for MAH, equaling TAYG. He agreed it’s not something that happens often for him. Shaun nixed any chance of Talkin’ Bout Your Generation returning, saying it had ran its course; everyone has gone off and done their own thing with plenty of success. The show was a good mix of being a bit niche and nerdy, but with a bigger pond of content. Shaun says he stayed neutral on the generations, and didn’t pick on Josh because he was Gen Y  – it was because he was Josh.
Rosanne Barr did an international pilot version, but nothing came of it.

Mad As Hell S3E1: Micallef Tonight signWith the Micallef Tonight imagery and music appearing in Mad As Hell and Mr & Mrs Murder, I asked if 10 years made him more nostalgic about the show?
At the time, he couldn’t watch the episodes again, but would have another crack if the opportunity came around. He felt the New Year’s Eve special (on Channel 10 in 2009) demonstrated the concept had passed by, and couldn’t be revisited. The sign was rescued from Channel 9 when they sold their Bendigo Street studios; it looks good, and there is no where else to put it.

Other tid-bits he revealed:

  • Gary (McCaffrie, his writing partner) wrote the jokes for ABC’s New Year’s special; Shaun just delivered them when they couldn’t get anyone else. He wishes they kept some of those jokes for MAH!
  • He’s been asked on Q&A, but declined because he doesn’t really live and breath the news when MAH isn’t on. He watches the SBS news usually.
  • His pop culture isn’t really up to scratch; it stops at Blade Runner. For that reason he thinks he wouldn’t make a good panelist on Dirty Laundry Live (although was the after party host once)

More to reveal from our chat with Shaun!

Mad As Hell returns for season 4

Mad As Hell S3Ep10: Swimming poolsA fourth season of Mad As Hell has been confirmed for some time, but now we have a date: Wednesday September 24th, 8pm on ABC (no “1” this time). Like season three, it will run for 10 episodes. (or one and a half swimming pools)

It’s going to be a jam-packed end to the year for Shaun (and those who love Shaun’s work), with other work he’s been involved in likely to air, plus the launch of his book. More info to come!

More Fan Questions from Long-ago

Some time ago, we re-posted a Fan Q&A with Shaun from 1999, which had featured on the first known website dedicated to Mr Micallef.

Now, 14 years later, we post the other half, originally posted in 2000. No ground-breaking news obviously, but a nice little walk down the memory garden path. Even Gary got a question!

Chelsea asks:
What’s the writing process like for you? Do you see something ridiculous on a street corner and mentally convert it into a sketch, or is it more that you have to sit down at a desk, start with a character in a costume and put them through the motions of funny?

Shaun —
Bit of both I suppose. I’ll tend to write whether I have an idea or not. Usually something ends up on the page worth keeping. The best things though are the ideas that pop into your head fully formed and you just have to write them down. The second best ideas are those that pop out in conversation without really thinking about them – a line or a phrase will just fall out of your mouth and surprise the speaker as much as anyone else. Then you jot them down word for word and find a place to use them later.

Lindell asks:
Gary, do you have any ambitions as to comedy performance, or is the writing your best mode of expression? I’m very much a fan of your writing, any plans to write a book, novella, collection of recipes?

Gary —
Yes Lindell, I’d love to (as you say, and quite accurately) perform comedy but Shaun won’t allow it. He’s quite insecure and feels that if I were allowed to (as you say) perform on the show I would reserve my best material for me. Of course this is ridiculous. I would always give him my best material, leaving me to die in the arse. I have no plans to write anything else, and hope to return to my previous occupation of kitchen hand at the “Empress of India”, Payneham Rd. St Peters. But thank you for asking.

Mab asks:
Is Roz single??? :-) (Absolutely *lurve* the show! Can’t wait for season 3!!!)

Shaun —
I couldn’t possibly comment on that (the first bit). Glad you like the show and are looking forward to the third bit of it.

Cathy asks:
Hi Shaun – do you have a single favourite sketch or moment from the show that you think worked best, or that you most enjoyed doing/writing?

Shaun —
I really liked ‘Filthy Stinking Poms’, although it did rather turn out looking like the Royal Family, which we didn’t know about at the time. My favorite though would have to be Spiffington Manse.

Cancerboy asks:
How open are you guys to suggestions for jokes/sketches, etc? If somebody has written something that they think would suit the style of the show would you read it and seriously consider it?

Shaun —
Yeah, but generally we prefer our own stuff.

Gropogi asks:
How come we never get to see the final episode of Season 1?

Shaun —
Just bad luck Gropogi. The scheduling the first time around just dropped it from that week and the second time around it was dropped because of the Paralympics. It’s a pity too because it’s got some good stuff in it. Anyway a mystique will develop around it now and it will be remembered more fondly than it should.

Liv asks:
Hi Shaun and Gary, your show is the FUNNIEST thing I’ve ever seen!!! I was wondering, what kind of shows do you find yourselves watching on tv at the moment? Do you get into comedies or try to stay away from those, in case you accidentally copycat a particular gag/style?

Shaun —
Thanks Liv – I tend to avoid sketch comedy for the reason you suggested. We might pick up on something or get all paranoid about something that’s a bit similar to what we were planning to do (for example Rove had a joke on Monday which is a bit similar to one we were planning on doing next week – ah well…) Me? I like Frasier. Gary? He likes The Royale Family.

Sheryl asks:
What do you guys think of Stan Zemaneck and Beauty and the Beast? I’ve heard Stan bag your show on more than one occasion (presumably after your brilliant piss-take ‘Ali-Baba and his Forty Thieves’).

Shaun —
I thinked he bagged me on TV and radio before Ali Baba went to air. That’s his character I guess, to complain about such things. The show probably isn’t his cup of tea. A lot of people don’t like it.

Dale asks:
How did you get into the Harry Hears You commercials for Bankwest, Shaun?

Shaun —
Found out about them, eh? Just the usual Dale – the agent rang and said there was an ad up, I auditioned, did some improvised schtick, got the gig. I did the ads in one week. It was fun. No lines. Lots of ad libbing. We made it up as we went along. Like in the old silent film days.

Marguerite asks:
Will we ever see you do stand-up, or live theatresports or comedy Shaun? I think you’d be grouse!

Shaun —
I’m thinking of touring with a live show (avec Francis) in the second half of the year. [2001] It’s called “An Audience In Front Of Shaun Micallef and Francis Greenslade”. No doubt potential backers will dissuade me of this title. I used to do theatre sports but gave it up when a comedian called Geoff Kelso balled me out in front of about 100 other actors and told me to not give up my day job. I’ve never really recovered.

Brian Lee asks:
Although I am only 12 years old I am a great fan of your show. I was just wondering what is a normal day in the life of Shaun Micallef.

Shaun —
Tuesday is pretty much a normal day for me. Sometimes Thursday.

Tess asks:
I’m really looking forward to seeing your sit-com Welcher and Welcher Shaun, and wondered how you felt about the canned laughter that comes with the sit-com territory?

Shaun —
I can’t stand canned laughter. We don’t use it in the Micallef Program – if only one person laughed at a joke that’s what you hear.

Shaun working on a new sitcom…?

We fondly remember Welcher and Welcher, Shaun’s foray into the sitcom world, which had some brilliant moments (amongst a few awkward ones). So in very exciting news, Shaun let it slip in a recent chat that he was writing another sitcom!

This is what he told us:

“It’s about a boy who befriends a giant robot. The working title is: Amazing Flying Power Child and it stars myself and Rebecca Gibney.”

So, there it is, explained only the way Shaun could! It’s likely more (or anything) will be announced if and when Shaun gets a green light from the ABC to go to production. Something to hope for in 2015?!

Latest on “The President’s Desk”

Shaun and Francis at The Willy Lit FestDespite that fact that it won’t be available until October 6th, there’s been a bit more information recently on Shaun’s next book “The President’s Desk”. During a conversation last week, Shaun was kind enough to share some information about it with me, as well as appearing with Francis on stage at the Williamstown Literary Festival to delight the audience with a reading.

Shaun says it’s a book you can “dip-into”, with each chapter revolving around different American Presidents, with the desk being a central theme. He pointed out that just like people now days can watch a film in any order (with the power of time-shifted TV), so too can you read this book in any order. It’s a bit like a history book, with “some bits made up” to be more interesting.

A lot of the ideas in the book seem to have been hanging around for a while, with parts of the book having been “played out” with Kim Gyngell at the Festival 2 years ago, as well as some of it being published as part of Tony Martin’s former website.

Shaun prefers to only shop a book to publishers when it’s complete, for fear of promising something he later feels is a bit rubbish.

The real President’s Desk: The “Resolute” Desk

At the Willy Lit Fest, he read a part of the book pertaining to the last voyage of the HMS Resolute  (which later became the Resolute Desk, used by the President in the Oval Office) and the crew’s penchant for dugongs (or is that mermaids?). Francis countered with an excerpt from the chapter on Reagan, which seemed to be Shaun’s soapbox for how he felt about actors as people (ie. selling their whoredom)!

He didn’t have a copy of the finished book to show at the Fest (it’s being printed overseas), but he did produce a mini-replica, which was presented to the Hill family, who’d travelled from Newcastle to be in Williamstown!

The book also has a glossary of pro-nouns and a biography of Shawn Micallef (ie. the Canadian one who writes about architecture and spaces).

All in all, we can’t wait for October!

Credit where it’s due

You know that behind every great host and every great show, there’s a great cast and crew.

For season 3, Mad As Hell squeezed every moment out of its 28 minute timeslot, which meant that we never got to see the credit list – something we completionists hate!

And since the ABC failed to add it to their new, but less informative, website, here it is for you… The Mad As Hell Season 3 Credits:

Presented ByCredits from Mad As Hell

SHAUN MICALLEF

FRANCIS GREENSLADE
ROZ HAMMOND

AND

TOSH GREENSLADE
VERONICA MILSOM
EMILY TAHENY
STEPHEN HALL

Written By

SHAUN MICALLEF
GARY MCCAFFRIE
MICHAEL WARD
TONY MOCLAIR
ALASDAIR TREMBLAY-BIRCHALL
DAVID M. GREEN
SIMON TAYLOR

Read More