So much to be mad about…

We’re drawing towards the final 1/4 of Season 8 of Mad As Hell, with the tenth episode airing tonight, and thirteen episodes all up.
But – not to despair! Shaun has confirmed that there will be another block of thirteen starting in September.
(Plus there’s eight episodes of TAYG coming mid-year, but more about that later…)
So there will be Shaun on Australian TV for 65% of the year! (as a minimum requirement it should be).

All those numbers got you confused?
Basically, there’s lots of good television to enjoy this year.

Mad As Hell returns January 31st

For the first time since 2015, Mad As Hell is returning at the start of the ratings year – January 31st – for its EIGHTH season! This will be the first at the new studios in Southbank, Melbourne, where the ABC has consolidated all its television and radio production in Victoria. But the whole team has moved across, so expect arguably the best satirical show on Australian TV to continue where it left off.

ABC, Wednesdays at 8:30pm from January 31st

The Ex-Ex-PM and the Ex-Studios

On Thursday night, we’ll be treated to a sort-of-Micallef double-header, with the finale of Series 2 of The Ex-PM on ABC at 8:30pm, where Dugdale goes head-to-head in a debate with his political rival.

Following it will be a special on the ABC Ripponlea studios, which closed this year, after being home to many classic TV shows for 50+ years. The last show to be filmed there, which will feature throughout the special, was Mad As Hell. Expect to see some behind the scenes footage and an interview with Shaun.

It’s a wrap for Season 7 of Mad As Hell.. but it will return!

The bookshelf from the Mad As Hell setIt seems like twelve weeks have flown past, but as we watch the last episode of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell tonight, the cast and crew will be holding their wrap party for what has been a fantastic season, and proof that it’s needed in Australia’s TV landscape.

But don’t despair… it will be back in 2018 for Season 8! Everyone I’ve spoken to the ABC can’t be more thrilled to have it back, and are excited to see it in ABC’s new Southbank studios next year. There’s a real sense of family and team about the show – the cast and crew really love working on it together, and Shaun admitted he still gets a lot of enjoyment from making it. So with a bit of luck we’ll see it in the early part of 2018.

End of an Era

With tonight being the penultimate episode of Series 7, that means there’s only one more episode (next week) of Mad As Hell for this year!

Coincidentally, by all accounts, next week’s taping of Mad As Hell will be the last thing to be recorded at the ABC Elsternwick studios, which have been the ABC’s main television facilities in Melbourne since 1956.

The studios have been the home of Countdown, The Big Gig, The Late Show, Recovery, countless others, and of course – The Micallef P(r)ogram(me), Newstopia and Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell.

Next year, the show will tape in new studios at the ABC Southbank site in Melbourne, where all ABC operations in Victoria have been consolidated. The move was anticipated earlier in the year, but the new studios have not been ready.

Speaking to some of the cast and crew, there is a feeling of melancholy over leaving the studios in Gordon Street, with the history (along with asbestos) being ingrained in the walls, and many people of the people still there having had worked in the building for over 30 years. Even for the Mad As Hell team, it’s been six years alone.

It’s a fitting thing that Shaun and his team, who currently carry the satirical torch for the ABC, should give it the final on-air send off.

You can read more about the studios in this news article.

Mad as Hell returns on Wednesday June 21 at 8.30pm

Mad As Hell S6Ep5: Smooth OperatorWhat more is there to say?

Okay, maybe the press release:

Mad as Hell returns to face a world that’s madder and badder than ever before; a world poised on the brink of a nuclear winter; where Europe is falling apart; where a President and a Supreme Leader are largely interchangeable, a Liberal Treasurer can deliver a Labor budget as if its normal and our raw sewage is spied on by the government for metadata; a world where we’re all running out of power, housing, money, time, climate, journalism, non-renewables, patience – and nothing makes sense anymore. Nothing that is, except Shaun Micallef’s weekly expert analysis of the Kafka-esque nightmare that our world has become.

Fewer ads than The Project; earlier than Heads Up with Chris Kenny; and a good twenty three and half hours shorter than the former ABC News 24, Mad as Hell returns on Wednesday June 21 at 8.30pm.

Oh, and in other news…
This website is seven years old today! Woohoo!

Mad As Hell Series 6 wrap-up

Mad As Hell S6Ep2: Snoring from MathiasYou still have a few days left to watch Mad As Hell Series 6 on ABC iView. I made a good attempt to write a re-cap of each episode, but you know, life….

Did you catch the funny EPG (the bit of information which shows on your digital TV) easter eggs again? Here’s the ones for every episode I didn’t get time to re-cap:

Episode 8
Investigating a string of murders in which the victims were all found bound in string, a detective wonders whether the deaths are the work of ‘the String Killer’. Unsure, he retires.

Episode 9
On the anniversary or his wife’s botched lobotomy, a lonely widower discovers that love has a funny way of turning up in the most unexpected places – like a toilet bowl, for example.

Episode 10
Biopic of Arun Singh, the Calcutta dust wrangler who taught Mother Teresa to box and, for a week in July 1963, was widely regarded as the handsomest man on Earth.

Episode 11
When a man accidentally runs over a gypsy’s head, she places a terrible curse on him: for an entire year, he will urinate through his nose (after a year, it’s back to the penis as normal).

Episode 12
Trapped underground, three miners keep their spirits up by playing songs to each other on harps. In a twist ending, it turns out the miners have been dead all along & they’re actually trapped underground in heaven.

Our 2016 Interview with Shaun

Mad As Hell S6Ep5: TV HottiesShaun has once again given us some of his valuable time after filming an episode of Mad As Hell recently to answer all our burning questions:


Has this season of Mad As Hell felt more frenetic because of the election which was impending and then imploded?

Tonight (episode 9) felt a lot stranger, because of what happened on Saturday (election) night. We had to put ourselves in a time machine and go ahead three days and think “what’s going to happen on Wednesday?” (They actually taped two openings due to the uncertainty of the election result at the time.)
Before we started, we thought this would be an interesting challenge, as we’ve never actually had to make a show during an election campaign; there was the faux election campaign of 2013 which seemed to go on all year. But this one was announced on the Sunday before we went to air. We anticipated there would be a lot more late writing on a Tuesday, but that hasn’t happened, and the election hasn’t altered the way we approach it at all, but it has focused us on more domestic and election topics, so the shows by the nature, when the election’s not on, tend to be about a range of topics. This season seems to be about 60% about the election, each show. I don’t think it’s made any different to way we do it, just the content.

Who do you think would be the best Prime Minister for comedy’s sake?

I have a suspicion that the next time we see a conservative PM in this country it will be Scott Morrison and he’ll be great. There’s just a confidence and an uncompromising quality about him that would be very valuable to us. I hope Malcolm does well and manages to hold it all together, but I think the next one’s going to be ScoMo.
On the Labor side, I hope Bill Shorten stays with us forever, but I’d like to see Tanya Plibersek or it might be Mark Dreyfuss. I think him against ScoMo might be really interesting.

Do you feel any obligation to bring out the crowd favourites like the Zinger or the Kraken, or only if the flow feels right?

If it feels right. I think we’ve learned that sometimes we write things for characters because we like the character, but we just edit them out, because there’s no reason for the character to be there. The characters are always a delivery system for a joke, rather than the joke in itself. Having said that there we quite a few characters who didn’t have nothing to do with anything tonight.

Francis was all made up as Bobo just…

..to not be there, and leave, yes. Sometimes it’s nice to burn these things to have them and not use, rather than them having nothing to do and having them hang around for too long.

What makes you want to perform a character yourself instead of having the ensemble perform it, such as Cardinal Nosey?

I get sick of sitting behind the desk, and want to play with the rest of them.

[Roz yells] They’re all Rollie!

[Replies, with a smile] No they’re not. Roz thinks all the characters I do sound like Rollie, a character I did in the Micallef Program. Bill Duthie is basically Rollie, just basically an idiot. He was an earnest older man, unaware of his surrounds, and Roz has rightly picked me as simply doing that character in a variety of different voices. Sometimes not even that.

So speaking of characters, why did you choose The Odd Couple to perform with the MTC?

It’s a good play, very good piece of writing. There were three vehicles that I thought would be suitable for Francis and I. One was Sleuth by Antony Shaffer, The Sunshine Boys and The Odd Couple, both by Neil Simon. Amazingly, it was thought we were too young for The Sunshine Boys, so we might do that in a few years, so The Odd Couple was the one we picked.

Will this be set in the 60’s as original written?

I think 1965 was when it originally went to Broadway, and that’s where we’ll set it. There’s something about no mobile phones, there’s something about the attitude towards marriage and women that is best set in the period, otherwise you have to apologise for it and explain it away.

For the casting, you told the audience tonight that weren’t really fussed which role you played and left it up to the director?

I was hoping it would be Felix (the tidy one), so I’m pleased about that. I would have been happy to have played Oscar (the messy one), that would have been more of a challenge.

Francis says you’re the neater one, closer to Felix in real life.

I think maybe that’s true, but I think Francis could have more easily played both. I think Oscar would have been a bit harder for me, so it’s worked out well.

(One option was also to swap roles every night, but that was decidedly too much of a challenge.)

You’ve finished filming the three new Stairway to Heaven specials?

Yes, they’ll be on in August.

How was it with these compared to the first one-off? Did you go in looking for something different?

No it’s the same (quest), because I don’t think I got the answer. I got part of an answer, but I felt less pushed this time, because I had three chances to find the answer. We did get there, we did find out what it was. Luckily in the last episode!

Previously we’ve talking about how people all around the world still love Mr and Mrs Murder, and how the dialog between the characters was so natural. We also spoke about how your nickname for Nicola came about but Mike want’s to know about her’s for you, Chaka-khan?

I came up with Charlie to call her Fizzy, and Kat came up with Nicole to call him Chaka-khan. I guess that comes from Charlie, and it amused Kat. It just sounded close enough and like a pet name. I remember Kat laughing a lot, we were both amused by the characters.

And Mad As Hell is back next year?

I’m not sure if I’m meant to announce it, but yes, we’re back mid next-year. I get to say “see you next year” at the end of the last episode, which I can’t usually.

Will this be your last season at Gordon Street (which is due to close, and where Shaun has filmed most of his shows)?

I think we’re here next year, one more season.


Stay tuned for our interview with Francis!

Recap: Mad As Hell, June 22nd 2016

A time-travelling scientist accidentally steps on a butterfly in the distant past. When he returns to 2016, he discovers to his horror that his tiny action has altered the future – he’s married to a butterfly!

Mad As Hell S6Ep7: Unnamed audience personShaun was mad as hell for the first time this series, because pre-polling has begun and it’s like opening your Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. What kind of person wouldn’t want to wait as long as possible to delay their political gratification? What kind of world are we living in where a 92 year old person could use the excuse that “they wouldn’t be able to walk up the hill to the school on election day” as a reason to prepoll? One unnamed audience member (Francis) says he used that exact reason, but admitted it was because he was sick of the whole campaign, the lies, the spin and the hi-vis vests.

Forty percent of people disapprove of Turnbull, and forty percent disapprove of Shorten – so what of the other 20%? Turnbull is confident the undecided will re-elect his government, but admits it’s their decision – regretfully, the government can’t re-elect itself. Shorten wouldn’t be so arrogant to say they would win, although is that more delusion than arrogance?

Mad As Hell S6Ep7: TurnbullShaun thinks highly of Mr Turnbull, equally doesn’t mind Mr Shorten either, and has a soft spot for the lovable eccentrics, like John Maddigan. It’s us, the voter, who are the issue, because we’ve given up listening and most of us don’t know enough about everything there is – omnignorance. If the voters could tell the politicians what they want to hear them say, it would certainly help the situation, and the new segment Demagogglebox is the answer, where our opinion is . If only we can pay enough attention while dual screening on our mobile phones. #WhatEvs

Mad As Hell S6Ep7: SpokesgollumPreferences will play the biggest role in who gets elected, but what can we make of them when The Greens preference a candidate who has protested every Mardi Gras over a progressive one? Spokesgollum Corriander Tuesday (Emily) is of two minds on the subject, admitting The Greens have changed their mind, but the “tricksy media” is “making nasty wicked conclusions.” Jacqui Lambie isn’t doing any preference deals, and Dolly Norman (Roz) says that Jacqui just does whatever she likes, putting all the workers, families, veterans and students of Tasmania first, making it very crowded in top priority position.

Later in the week, Enid Swink is battling a witch hunt, personal tragedy, and some pretty terrible dialogue, in an ABC drama completely unlike anything with Marta Dusseldorp.

Mad As Hell S6Ep7: Caspar on DemigoggleboxWhat about the delectable inland fruit meat of regional Australia – do they just have Barnaby Joyce looking out for them? Scott Morrison prophesied a Labor/Greens alliance might have anyone in a list of hypothetical unrealistic names standing up for the bush, but Caspar Jonquil is upset – ranting a bunch of baseless ideas and disconnected theories is his thing!

Media Sasquatch casts an eye on Bob Katter’s ad, which is more like a film: Katter plays himself, unconvincingly, squabbling over a “Australia For Sale” sign with the Labor and Liberal parties, until he shoots both of them dead. It’s daring, it’s bleak, and it’s a triumph, and it’s opening the Cairns, not Cannes, Film Festival.

The Liberals have been working on their own ad, one filled with the techno beats of DJ ScoMo and selling the message of the”greening of Labor”, but it’s “in your face” style is likely to lead to the browning of underpants. Bill could only counteract it with a Zinger, and not a good one.

Like a Bill Shorten Zinger, the NBN is something most Australian’s haven’t got, and to stop the it getting constipated, Labor think the project needs more fiber. To argue against this additional spending, Turnbull tried his own zinger – “Shortenonomics” – but it failed.

In an online video, Vote Compass mixed-up the most right-leaning, and most left-leaning electorates, and Shaun can only think it’s because either a magnet got too close to the compass, or because the Fact Check unit has been closed. It must be the latter, since even recent news bulletins have quoted “Prime Minister Derryn Hinch and his wife Scarlett Johansson”.

Later in the week: Howard is spending more time on Menzies. (literally)

Fancying himself a Kingmaker, Shaun has his eyes on Bert Van Manen, who might find himself as PM in 6 months of so. He has media savvy, being able to green-screen himself inside and outside the parliament in exactly the same suit, has the charisma of Luke McGreggor and political nous of Atilla the Hun – certainly one to watch.

Mad As Hell S6Ep7: Bill DuthieBill Duthie has the “Wisdom of the Elders”, although on the subject of former PMs, he has his Whitlam confused with his Chifley and his Holt. This election, Bill is supporting Tony Abbott, a rare politician who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “ousted.” Bill refuses to read the book about Abbott and Peta Credlin, since it’s full of scurrilous lies – he prefers listening to the audio book. He’s even kept a piece of the table Joe Hockey broke on the night of the party vote, which he keeps in a cupboard next to Harold Holt’s skeleton.

Finally, all the parties have been appealing to the migrant communities ahead of the election. Richard DiNatale goes as far to say that it is the migrant communities who have forged this nation – Shaun thinks it’s a brilliant forgery, since it’s got everyone fooled.