Shaun is back on the television in 2024!

Some great news in the last week, as the Australian television networks announce their shows for 2024, we get news that Shaun will be back on our screens after being absent for most of 2023 (and pretty much since the end of Mad As Hell).

Firstly on SBS: Shaun Micallef’s Origin Odyssey, where Shaun will travel abroad with some of Australia’s leading comedians to explore their cultural roots in. Shaun describes it as “Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery but with a budget”.

And on the ABC: Shaun Micallef’s Unnamed Project. Ok, so we don’t know much about this one, except that it’s NOT Mad As Hell with a new set, it’s a brand new show. As Shaun put it: “Suffice to say, it will not feature cooking, home renovations, marriage, singing, sport, RBT units, dogs, wilderness survival, quiz questions, news clips, stock footage, wearing masks, border security, amazing races, Lego, sitting on a panel or being marooned on an island in your underwear.” Possibly a bit more of a variety or chat show format, but we’ll have to see.

So we have to wait a bit longer before we see these, but a lot to look forward to next year! Very happy news!

Up for a Logie

It’s been very quiet on the Shaun front since his book tour and Mad As Hell both finished up last year, apart from a couple of cameo appearances in the Roast of Paul Hogan and Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe.

As a last hurrah for Mad As Hell, the Australian TV awards – “The Logies” – have nominated both the show and Shaun for a few awards:

  • Shaun for Most Popular Personality (the Gold Logie)
  • Shaun for Most Popular Presenter (the Bert Newton award)
  • Mad As Hell for Most Popular Comedy Program
  • Mad As Hell for Most Outstanding Comedy Program

To my memory, this seems like the highest number of Shaun related nominations in one year. It’s going to be a hard slog to win any of the “Popular” awards, but the Most Outstanding Comedy Program looks a reasonable chance. It’s the category that The Micallef P(r)ogram(me) won 20 years ago and Mad As Hell won in 2016.

Either way, it’s a nice nod to a show which was nearly perfect in every way and is now sorely missed.

Tripping into an autobiography

Over the years, Shaun has written books that have touched on facets of his life. For the first time he’s put it all together in an autobiography: Tripping Over Myself, a Memoir of a Life in Comedy.

There’s also a book tour around Australia where you can see Shaun in conversation with various people about the book and his career.

The book is available from the 5th October.

I’ve read so much about Shaun’s career, I’m looking forward to reading it from Shaun’s experience, probably with a few non-sequiturs and garden path sentences thrown in!

Although I can’t help feeling the release of this book, combined with the wrapping of Mad As Hell, is a full stop (or pause) to his on-camera career – I really hope I’m wrong about that…

One final season of Mad As Hell

In very happy news, Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell is back for a 15th season on Wednesday 20th July at 8:40pm (pushed back because of Gruen, but this nicely allows Shaun fans time to switch from the Brain Eisteddfod on Channel 10 which finishes 8:30pm ish). A new government, and a new set of politicians to poke fun at.

But all good things must come to an end too, and Shaun has confirmed on Twitter than this will be the last season. He has advised it was his decision: “After 11 years and 15 seasons, I just felt it was time for someone younger to take advantage of the resources and opportunities on offer. I’m turning 60 in a week for fuck’s sake.”

When we spoke to Shaun earlier this year, he seemed optimistic about more episodes after this year, but some time away from the show must have changed his mind. We can’t say we’re not sad here at SMO-HQ, but understand Shaun’s reasoning. We just hope he’s not planning a full transition to a behind the scenes role (like Andrew Denton), because it’s the “Shaun-ness” of the show that really makes it our favourite program on TV.

Brain Eisteddfod starts July 20

We now know that Shaun Micallef’s Brain Eisteddfod will premiere on July 20 on Channel 10 (and all the associated catch-up locations) at 7:30pm.

The new quiz show is a blend of Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation and the old University Challenge style shows, with teams of Year 11 High School students pitted against each other to determine who has the biggest brains.

Shaun wanted to feature Year 11 students because he felt they were under-represented on TV, and jumped at the chance to demonstrate that ‘intelligent life’ exists on the planet.

It’s expected to be a little less zany than TAYG, but still with a good dose of Shaun’s humour. See the preview below:

Plenty more for 2022

With the final episode of Season 14 of Mad As Hell this week, what else will Shaun be up to for the year?

Firstly, there will be another season of Mad As Hell this year, starting from August – the election will be done and, no matter the result, Shaun and the team will have some new form of Government to poke fun at.

There’s also a new show this year – Shaun Micallef’s Brain Eisteddfod! It’s a quiz show, a little less zany than Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, pitting Year 11 students against each other, University Challenge style. He’s pretty excited to give a platform for a group he feels is under-represented on TV. It will shoot in the next few months and also air around August on Channel 10.

And an autobiography! I was pleasantly surprised to hear Shaun had been working on one, and expects it to be published later this year. We’re probably going to get a tone as seen in “Who Do You Think You Are” and “On the Sauce”. It should make for an interesting read.

Mad for Season 14

Finally (and thankfully) we have a new season of Mad As Hell – the fourteenth to be exact – starting this Wednesday 2nd February 2022 at 8:30pm (ish).

It always feels like a waste when there’s so much political nonsense going on and the show is on hiatus, but on the plus side there’s plenty to catch up on.

And if our Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) calls the election four weeks earlier than the latest date he can, Mad As Hell will be on the air to cover it, so we should be in for a Kraken good time.

Last but not least, when this season does wrap up, it will be the 10th anniversary of the show… more on that later.

More Tales from the Forest

Happily Ever Afterwards book cover

A few years ago, Shaun penned a book aimed at early-teenage kids (or “tweens” as some people say), based on the way he used to twist his telling of fairytales to his kids when they were younger. It was smart and fun, and a little less mind-bending than some of Shaun’s other books.

Now, Tales from a Tall Forest has a sequel: Happily Ever Afterwards

The Queen of Tancred and her royal retinue are on a mission: to ensure all the citizens of Tancred are happy. But that’s a lot harder than it sounds – especially when the Happiness Tour accidentally stumbles into the neighbouring region of Hamelin. Oops. Soon, Queen Mathilde smells a rat. A whole kingdom of them, in fact … because Hamelin has been overrun with rodents. Why is a rat on the throne? Where are all of Hamelin’s children?

Like the previous book, it’s been illustrated throughout, but by a different illustrator. It is due to be released September 29th, and can be pre-ordered online. Sadly, with the current COVID situation, it doesn’t look like we’ll see any book signings.

Lucky 13 for Mad As Hell!

The thirteenth series of Mad As Hell began last Wednesday – and are we very glad for that! It’s the ninth year for the show, and we’re expecting 12 episodes. Six! Other Random Numbers!

All the cast has returned, so we can just crack on an enjoy it. 

It’s back again without an audience due to COVID restrictions – but it nearly had one… New restrictions were introduced by the Victorian government at 6pm, just 30 minutes before the first episode was about to be taped WITH an audience. It would have been a huge letdown for that audience, but strangely enough, the lack of audience hasn’t really taken away from the show in the last season and a bit… it might be a bit of a shock when those laughs return.

Usual time slot of 8:30pm Wednesdays, or watch on iView. You may need a login now to watch online (as sent up by Tosh’s parody of Charlie Pickering’s ad about it in episode one of season 13).

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.