Micallef with the SSO

This weekend, the Sydney Symphony is performing the music of US composer John Williams, and Shaun will be presenting it – although he promises to be ”sitting very quietly on a stool”.

John Williams is perhaps best known for composing the score for the Star Wars films, which earned him one of his five Oscars, as well as Jaws, the Harry Potter movies and Jurassic Park.

In an article with The Age/SMH, Shaun also admits he is an “acquired taste” (which makes it all the more better), always changing roles or scripts to suit himself; and reveals that the favourite of his TV show themes is “The Micallef Programme” (which makes a great ringtone).

Our Interview with Shaun: Part 2

And now… the finale of our fan-asked interview with Shaun (first part here):

Now, the less serious questions

You once said that Pikachu was Don Bradman’s favorite Pokemon, but what is your favorite Pokemon? (Asked by Jeremy)

Very keen on Squirtle.

Your socks have featured in many a television interview, often minutely, but consistently. Is this intentional? (Asked by Beth)

I was a big fan of Jerry Lewis when I was a kid and he was very keen on showing his socks. It’s my homage to the Master.

Is Milo Kerrigan influenced by a character off ‘Blazing Saddles’, and does your face get sore playing him? (Asked by Beccie)

Mongo, you mean? No, I hadn’t thought of him when we came up with Milo. He was, again, probably a Jerry Lewis homage (if not outright theft). If you look at The Family Jewels (1965) he plays a character called Uncle Bugsy and Milo is a bit like him. Jerry also play a boxer in Sailor Beware (1952) and does a voice very similar to ‘Slapsie Maxie’ Rosenblum who was a real boxer who became an actor – Milo’s voice sounds like this impression. I also threw in some Harpo Marx and a bit of Frankenstein’s monster (Boris Karloff).

Would you want to do David McGhan again in the future? (Asked by Sam)

I think David McGhan was absorbed into the presenter character I used to host The Micallef Program; combined with another character I played in Full Frontal called Phillip Quist. There’s not much use for him now unless we revive the ‘bad acting’ David McGhan for something. In fact, we did use him again for our New Years Eve Special in 2009. We did a special Roger Explosion reunion sketch – but it was a bit long and we never put it to air. It was supposed to be released by SHOCK as an extra with the NYE Special in a new box set of collected DVDs – but I hear they’re not going to do that anymore. Anyway here’s the script:

THE RETURN OF ROGER EXPLOSION

EXT. IMPRESSIVE OLD PUBLIC BUILDING.

MINISTER V/O
Yes, Prime Minister I’ll get right on it.

C/T INT. A WELL APPOINTED BOOK-LINED OFFICE

THE MINISTER HANGS UP HER PHONE, CONCERNED. A WORRIED ADMIRAL LOOKS ON.

ADMIRAL
What is it, Ma’am?

MINISTER
I don’t know, Admiral. But whatever it is it’s going to need an agent who can handle himself in a shooting war.

ADMIRAL
Tricky. It’s the holidays. Unless—

MINISTER
Don’t be ridiculous. That dinosaur’s retired and good riddance to him.

EXPLOSION O.S.
I hear the cold war is hotting up again.

ROGER EXPLOSION IS REVEALED LEANING IN THE DOORWAY.

MINISTER
Explosion – but how could you have–

EXPLOSION
(HOLDING UP A WALKIE TALKIE) CB radio, hidden mikes. This is one dinosaur that’s not staying extinct. And I’m him.

ADMIRAL
Good show.

EXPLOSION
You haven’t changed a bit, Ethel. Still as beautiful as ever.

MINISTER
Ethel was my mother, Explosion.

ADMIRAL
(WITH A LAUGH) Oh Explosion, you’re incorrigible.

EXPLOSION
Incorrigable – but no fool.

EXPLOSION PUNCHES THE ADMIRAL IN THE MOUTH AND QUICKLY UNSHEATHS THE ADMIRAL’S SWORD AS HE FALLS TO THE GROUND. HE STANDS OVER HIM, FOOT ON HIS CHEST.

MINISTER
Great Caesar’s Ghost, Explosion. What’s your game?

EXPLOSION
Squash, Minister. And that’s just what I’ve done to whoever this is’s plans.

THE MINISTER STEPS FORWARD BUT…

ADMIRAL
Don’t try anything, Minister, this sword’s real pointy.

EXPLOSION
I’ve known Admiral Koenig for thirty years and I’d recognise his laugh anywhere – and what came out of your mouth then certainly wasn’t it.

ADMIRAL
I’m not Admiral Koenig, I’m his Uncle.

CHASTENED, EXPLOSION LET’S THE SWORD DROP. HE COLLAPSES IN A CHAIR, BEATEN.

EXPLOSION
Maybe I do belong in a museum.

ADMIRAL
A museum of heroes.

MINISTER
He’s right Explosion. We need you.

EXPLOSION
(RALLYING) If it’s me you need, then I’m your man.

MINISTER
Ever heard of the Millennium bug?

EXPLOSION
(GESTURING TO THE BOOKS) The encyclopedias’d tell you it’s a small caterpillar shaped insect with many legs, but we know different, eh Admiral?

ADMIRAL
Exactly. (PLONKING DOWN A REPORT ON THE DESK) Back in ’99 it threatened to cause a global computer meltdown by making them all switch back to 1901 on New Years Eve–

EXPLOSION
And owing to the absence of it not occurring, it didn’t happen. Yeah, I read the papers.

MINISTER
Well, it’s back. At 12.00 pm midnight tomorrow evening on New Years Eve night all the computers on earth will go back in time to 1901.

ADMIRAL
Thousands of documents erased.

EXPLOSION
Who? Tell me who!

MINISTER
Bhutto.

EXPLOSION
But–

ADMIRAL
Yes, he exploded in a hyperbaric chamber fifteen years ago…but they say his ghost haunts the haunted lighthouse on Haunt Island.

MINISTER
(HANDING HIM A GUN) Explosion, you’ve got 24 hours.

EXPLOSION
Minister, I need more time.

MINISTER
All right – 25 hours.

ENTER HAWKINS, THE CIVIL SERVANT, WITH A TRAY OF TEA THINGS.

HAWKINS
Spot of tea anybody?

EXPLOSION
Fuck your tea, Hawkins. I’ve got a millipede to snare.

C/T ROGER RACING ALONG IN A HIGH-POWERED ROCKET CAR.

C/T A LIGHTHOUSE AS SEEN THROUGH A TELESCOPE.

EXPLOSION V/O
Have made visual contact with Haunted Lighthouse…

SWISH PAN TO LONG SHOT OF BHUTTO IN A ROWBOAT, HAVING JUST LANDED ON THE SHORE.

EXPLOSION V/O
Suspect appears to be aboard a boat-like object…

C/T TO EXPLOSION HIDING BEHIND SOME ROCKS AT THE BEACH. GE LOWERS HIS BINOCULARS AND SPEAKS INTO HIS WALKIE-TALKIE.

C/T THE MINISTER BACK IN HER OFFICE, ON THE PHONE.

MINISTER
Hold your position, Explosion, and wait for back-up.

BACK AT THE BEACH ROGER SEES SOMETHING.

C/T BHUTTO CARRYING A SMALL CLASSIC MAC COMPUTER FROM THE BOAT.

EXPLOSION
Negatory on that one Momma Bear, I’m movin’ out.

BACK AT THE OFFICE.

MINISTER
Don’t be a fool, Explosion– (BUT SHE’S BEEN CUT OFF) Explosion?

BACK AT THE BEACH THE IS AN ELABORATELY CHOREOGRAPHED FIGHT. BHUTTO IS GETTING THE BETTER OF ROGER BUT THEN HE CONVENIENTLY FINDS AN AXE ON A NEARBY ROCK AND HURLS IT…

…AND BHUTTO, AXE EMBEDED IN HIS BACK, FALLS DOWN DEAD.

ROGER, BREATHLESSLY RAISES HIS WALKIE-TALKIE TO HIS LIPS.

EXPLOSION
Bhutto’s ghost destroyed. Over and out.

BHUTTO’S GHOST O.S.
Are you sure that’s Bhutto’s ghost, Explosion?

BHUTTO’S GHOST STANDS NONCHALANTLY BY.

EXPLOSION
Bhutto! But then–

BHUTTO’S GHOST
Exactly. Take off his wig.

EXPLOSION
(HAVING DONE SO) Admiral Keonig’s Uncle.

BHUTTO’S GHOST
And my son.

EXPLOSION
But why did you help me, your sworn enemy?

BHUTTO’S GHOST
Why does anyone do anything?

ROGER FORGETS HIS LINE.

BHUTTO’S GHOST
No, it is I who should be thanking you. Now I am free of this place and will haunt this world no more.

HE FADES.

C/T BACK TO THE EXTERIOR OF THE BIG OLD PUBLIC BUILDING.

MINISTER V/O
Congratulations, Explosion. Axing Bhutto’s son to death with pure genius.

C/T OFFICE. THE MINISTER AND ROGER HAVE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE. A BOTTLE OF DOM PERRIGNON SITS IN AN ICE BUCKET ON THE DESK TOGETHER WITH THE SLUMPED CORPSE OF THE ADMIRAL, AXE STILL BURIED IN HIS BACK.

MINISTER
Cheers!

EXPLOSION
Save your toast until midnight, Minister. Only then will we be sure the Millenium Bug has not sent us all back to 1901.

THE GRANDFATHER CLOCK IN THE CORNER OF THE ROOM BEGINS TO CHIME.

EXPLOSION
And if all is well, Minister, will you do me the honour of marrying me? (HE SHOWS HER A RING)

MINISTER
But Explosion…I’m your daughter.

EXPLOSION
The honeymoon is in Hobart.

THE 12TH CHIME SOUNDS.

MINISTER
Midnight and all is well. (GIDDY WITH RELIEF) Of course I’ll marry you Roger..

ENTER HAWKINS DRESSED IN 19TH CENTURY CLOTHING

HAWKINS
I’m off, everyone–

EXPLOSION
Hawkins, I–

HAWKINS
—to a New Year’s Eve fancy dress Party.

LOL OUT.

END

Our thanks again to Shaun for answering our questions.

Our Interview with Shaun: Part 1

To celebrate one year of this very website being in existence, we plucked up the courage to ask Mr Shaun Micallef Esq if he would answer some questions from his fans. Delightfully, he agreed – and the rest, as they say, is a blog post…

Thank you Shaun for taking the time to answer some questions from your fans.

Thanks Stuart. And thanks for running the site.

First – the serious questions

You’ve been successful at TV, radio, film, stage, writing (books and screenplays) – what have you enjoyed doing the most or are most keen to do in the future?

I think I’m a TV comedian first and foremost; I’m most at home there because it uses all the things I can do comedy-wise (writing, producing, acting, presenting – even a little directing).

Radio I found difficult because of the commercial expectations – not in terms of results so much, because TV is also ratings driven, but in terms of the structure and conventions of on-air presentation. But it gave me a chance to do some interesting writing and voice work as well is loosening me up a bit and adlibbing more – this, in turn, helped me with Thank God You’re Here and, ultimately, the show I’m doing now.

Stage is important because it’s a connection with a real audience (studio audiences are not quite the same as they’ve been primed – with a stage audience, you have to truly earn the response you get). Any comic timing I have is because I did University Revue and cabaret. I try and make sure I do something on stage every now and then so that whatever skills I have don’t get flabby.

Film I haven’t done a lot of – and when I have, it’s been only as an actor. I’m still learning and haven’t quite got the hang of it yet.

Writing is a hard slog (well, it is for me) but I find it that because I enjoy performing my own stuff most of all, I must do it. There’s also a special satisfaction that I get when I get a laugh for a joke that I have not only performed, but written.

I also enjoy collaborating (usually as a performer) in other people’s projects.

Good Evening was such a brilliant show. Would you consider returning to the stage, and would you want to do your own material? (Asked by Sia and Beth)

Yes, definitely. I few years ago I returned to the stage (with Glynn Nicholas) and did some shows in Perth and Adelaide. It was my own stuff (and a mime piece co-developed with Glynn) and it worked very well. The pieces I did were old pieces from The Micallef Program, Full Frontal and a couple of pieces back from my days in University revue. Only the mime piece was new. Then I tried a show called Boeing Boeing, an old French farce. I enjoyed doing it but it wasn’t quite right, so I made sure the next show I did would be sketch comedy – which is what I think I do best. Cook and Moore’s material is the best sketch material you can get, in my view. The next stage show I do will be my own material.

Recently, plans were revealed for you to pilot a variety show for Channel 10. Can you share any of your hopes or plans for this show?

I spoke too soon. Unfortunately this show is now not going to happen.

Have you considered writing with Gary McCaffrie and Michael Ward again – potentially for your new show? (Asked by PicklePepperPiper)

Gary and Michael both write for TAYG. They were going to write on the variety show. If they’re keen, they will be working on whatever it is I do after TAYG.

We’ve delighted in seeing more of the absurd on TAYG – has this been a conscious move by yourself?

Not conscious, but inevitable. As I got more and more involved in the creation of the games, I think it has got more absurd. When the show started, my creative contribution was the transitional stuff. There was a sense that I was having to ‘cope’ with the conventions of a celebrity panel show. We played on that; I was a reluctant émigré from ABC/SBS to the world of commercial frippery. But we tired of that pretty quickly – and I think the audience would have too if we’d kept it up.  As time has gone by, the show has become more and more ‘my own’. The game producers are thinking up odd things and I’ve learned more about how a celebrity panel show works.

What’s been your weirdest fan experience? (Asked by Julie)

I was once approached by a Scandanavian couple who said they enjoyed watching Welcher and Welcher back home in Finland.

What are your thoughts on your non-commercially available work (such as Newstopia, Vega broadcasts) being shared by fans, in the same spirit as the old comedy albums? (Asked by Jennifer)

I don’t think Newstopia will ever be released on DVD, which is a pity because I think it’s my best work. I’m more than happy for people to share what they’ve got.

Do you have any current plans for more DVD releases, such as Newstopia? (Asked by Robert)

Fremantle Media (who own the rights to Newstopia) have told me they don’t want to release it on DVD. I don’t think it’s financially worth their while. If they changed their mind, I’d be a little reluctant to let it go out in an unedited form; I think a lot of it wouldn’t make any sense now (because so much of the material was topical) so I’d want to do a job on it as I did with Micallef Tonight. But that costs money (edit suites, etc) and that makes it unappealing business-wise. That’s why Welcher and Welcher doesn’t have a commentary track.

Personally, I never really wanted anything to come out on DVD (except maybe the Micallef Program). Full Frontal was not, in my view, good enough and Newstopia and Micallef Tonight were, as I said, too of the moment. Welcher and Welcher I was never sure about.

My involvement with some of the DVD releases has been more to do with ‘damage control than anything else’. I hate the idea of being the keeper of my own flame. Better to forget the past and get excited about the next thing.

What are your thoughts on comedy/variety TV in the UK compared to Australia? (Asked by Luke)

I think the UK audience is so big that a cult act can do quite well over there. Over here it’s a bit harder.

I must admit I don’t watch a lot of comedy anymore. I’m too threatened by it if it’s funny and annoyed by it if it isn’t.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion, or part 2 as it’s also called!