Preview of Mad As Hell

I was privileged to be at the taping of the first ever episode of Mad As Hell, and am pleased to share some details – in summary, it was very funny, clever and exceeded all expectations.

Spoilers ahead!

After arriving at the ABC Studios in Gordon Street (aka. ‘the dream factory’), we waited outside, before waiting in the canteen, before finally making it to the studio. We got seats in the front row!

Here’s the set:

Shaun looked great in a three-piece suit and red tie, throwing in his glasses for good measure. (Sorry I didn’t get any other photos)

The show is delivered a little bit in the style of Newstopia, throwing to pre-recorded topical news pieces which were more in the style of a skit than Newstopia. He also interviewed the cast as different characters. But Shaun seemed more personal than in his SBS show, perhaps the TAYG experience rubbing off on him.

There was the welcome return of the faked ads, including a series about Kevin Rudd in a sitcom about his backbench antics – reminded me of this fantastic sketch from The Micallef P(r)ogram(me) days.

A very different side was an almost straight interview with the author of Putin – The Man Without A Face, which I found truly engrossing. Shaun admitted to us that it was a little bit of a new direction, a bit experimental, so hopefully you get to see it.

It was all shot fairly sequentially, and took just under two hours. A few re-takes, but the crew didn’t muck around. The writing crew was confirmed as almost the same as Newstopia: Gary McCaffrie, Michael Ward, Stephen Hall and Tony Moclair.

The cast was all excellent, each getting about 3-5 minutes screen time.

Shaun was very friendly, and interacted with the audience the most I’ve ever seen. By the end he started to mock Michael Pope, who was again the warm up guy, rolling his eyes with his strange suggestions about the background fish and other things.

A great night, I’m looking forward to seeing the final product on Friday at 8pm. Anyone else who went, feel free to add your favourite moments!

5 thoughts to “Preview of Mad As Hell”

  1. I loved it, it’s what you’d expect Newstopia to be on the ABC with an audience. Everything felt like great quality – better than the first season of Newstopia and more like the second and third seasons. And yeah, he’s more relaxed and personal which was great too.

    Love the opening titles! Nicely menacing.

  2. That Parliament sketch is one of my favourites of all time!! The sketches we were shown at the end (especially the ‘lessons learned from old people’ one) I think were also reminiscent of the Micallef Programme. I’m excited to see how it looks condensed into half an hour.

  3. I agree. His interview with Masha Gessen was incredible, mainly it’s because this is pretty much the first time we see Shaun without hiding behind a character or any kind of shtick. It’s just him. No wonder he sounded a little apprehensive introducing the segment! It paid off beautifully, and I hope we see more of it.

    As I was leaving, I heard one of the audience members say “I thought they were real fish!”. Nice to see the show attracting the intellectual crowd.

  4. That interview mustn’t have been in the show, I don’t think I saw it. But I’m guessing he was a bit like he was at the Williamstown Literary Festival, he kind of just goes straight and it’s the real Shaun, much like he is when you meet him.
    I hope he does more of that kind of thing on Mad as Hell, it will open up many more facets to his diamond personality.

  5. No, it wasn’t in there. They might be holding it back for a future episode, as we were shown a lot more than what aired.

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