Review of Mad As Hell

I don’t usually write a review for any of Shaun’s work – this is a fan site obviously, so there’s obviously going to be a bit of bias, for which I’m not ashamed. But so many have thrown in their two cents, why not me 🙂

The humour in Mad As Hell is pure Micallef, and was spot on. From the direct jokes like putting Julia Gillard against the wall to the beautifully subtle jokes like the new French president being not far enough to the left for Angela Merkel. The ensemble cast is great too, especially seeing Francis and Roz play their parts perfectly.

Shaun’s wardrobe and look were great. It may seem like an odd comment, but sometimes he can look… strange for strange’s sake.

There was an experiment in showing Shaun’s more serious personality with an interview, but it didn’t make the cut – it’s on YouTube if you want to see it – but hopefully they try something similar again, because it sure caught us off what we expected – in a positive way.

I felt the show was warmer than Newstopia – perhaps the audience were part of that. A few comments have been made over the “canned” laughter. I assure you it wasn’t canned – I was one of the people – but I do think it may have been a little over balanced in the audio mix.

I do feel that the show didn’t breath enough – I felt it rollercoasted through the topics too quickly that you could be enjoying the jokes but not realise the topic had changed. Micallef Program had more drawn out sketches; Newstopia was a little slower and also had ads to punctuate it. There was a lot to fit in to half an hour, but maybe some of it could be lost for the sake of a more balanced pace.

My impression of the theme music was that it felt a bit… weak, especially compared to some of the amazing themes Micallef’s shows have had previously.

But any negatives were tiny compared to the overall brilliance. All up, I think it’s one of the funniest shows on television in a long while, and I think it will only continue be a true standout.

Agree, disagree? Comment! 🙂

Recap: Mad As Hell, May 25th 2012

After much anticipation, it was the first episode of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell! This week’s episode was also available in mono.

Shaun began explaining how he wasn’t going to be as mad as the opening titles suggest, more of a conduit for what makes us mad. He doesn’t take sides – even his desk has no sides; if he could have it teetering on a fence as a metaphor, he would.

But what fucking got him mad this week is Craig Thomson. As reported, Mr Thompson put Julia Gillard against the wall – literally. And the question was posed – can prostitutes be classified as a “health service”? Julia Gillard couldn’t be drawn on it, but Mark Knight tried.

Shaun asked if opinons can be formed on the basis of what we see. Police shooting bullets into a car is certainly not a very good look, and neither is Au Sung Sui Ki missing the first day of the Burmese parliament – but she’s used to working from home.

Is Peter Slipper a vampire? Ventura Grosby thinks we need to wait for the evidence – if we see him turning into a bat, then he probably is.

Julia Gillard talks to us like we’re retarded, reports Atlanta Monkley. And maybe we are, but the leadership speculation hasn’t ended, and Kevin Rudd keeps bringing up the name of Kevin Rudd. Atlanta interviews two staffers in the Julia and Kevin camps, who disagree on who is saying what. Is that what they’re saying?

After some out of context vox pops, Carrington Mews, private detective, reported on the movements of Christopher Pyne the night he met with the man who alleges Peter Slipper sexually harassed him. Carrington wouldn’t speculate on what happened, but did speculate on what others would speculate.

Perception – Julia Gillard is put around children to make he look more friendly, just like Wayne Swann walking to the treasury makes him look like he knows about the economy.

Paramore Quilt spoke to Cecily Crumb about how politicians are positioned at press conferences. Tony Abbott was put in front of Anzac biscuits to counteract Julia Gillard being at lone pine. Cecily most loved her ‘Tony Takes The Cake’ idea when he was seen cutting a cake.

As Shaun summises, never trust anything on television.

During the break, we were ‘sold’ on the idea of the Carbon Tax package and a new political satire called Back Benched!

Shaun received a few thankyous – ACA and Today Tonight were very similar, and Andrew Bolt sent some unfashionable shoes. Kerry O’Brien’s ghost appeared to also wish good luck.

Shaun tried to interview one of 6 parliamentary members of the Queensland ALP, but after introducing all of the ministries he was shadow minister of, there was no time for the interview.

Clive Palmer wants to build a replica Titanic  – Shaun thinks he would make a great treasurer, he certainly know how to look after money.

How much does a Grecian urn?  Not much at the moment, but if they want to pull out of the Euro, they better get themselves a non minority government. Is it a conspiracy that Greece’s problems began after the release of Wog Boy 2: Kings of Mykonos?

Bethany Dogmueler is housing a refugee and gets $300 a week. He’s from Sudan, which is great as her first child was born a stationwagon.  She plans to adopt him and marry him later in order to keep getting government bonuses.

Before running out of time, Shaun got a massage and paid with a blank cabcharge, and reflected on the float of Facebook – worth more than the value of shares wiped from the Australian stock market in total. Yin and Yang.

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!

Latest on Mad As Hell

We’re only two weeks away from Mad As Hell, and we’re starting to get plenty of details.

In an interview with Time Out, Shaun admits that the show is a sort of spiritual evolution to Newstopia, which he’s wanted to return to since it ended 4 years ago. Some of the major differences will be the live audience, a more sketch show focus and national focus (rather than international), and it won’t be just a panel style show – Shaun’s sick of seeing them, enjoyable as they are.

It’s named so, because Shaun assumes the stories they pick as “big” are the ones the audience will be mad about, but will also give the best joke.

He also confirmed that TAYG is pretty much over; the run was good but the team has all moved on to other things, the the momentum would be difficult to rev up again.

We also know the show will be taped a few days before the Friday airing – similar to In Gordon Street Tonight – on a Wednesday evening. At this stage, there are 10 episodes lined up.

Finally, the official website is up!

Mad As Hell starts this month

We’ve been getting tidbits of what to expect from Mad as Hell.

It’s been announced as a half-hour weekly round-up, branding, inoculation and crutching of all the important news stories of the week. There will be reportage, analysis, discussion, argument and dissection of the week’s events and what’s making the world turn every which way.

So, the cast: not surprisingly, but very happily, Francis (Greenslade) is on board. Also from the Micallef P(r)ogram(me) days is Roz Hammond. Veronica Milsom, Emily Taheny and newbie Tosh Greenslade (related?) round out the ensemble.

The show will have a studio audience! (Ticket info here) As previously ‘guessed’, it will be shot at the ABC Studios in Elsternwick, Melbourne.

So tell your parents, friends, cat(s), re-animated corpse in the basement, and that long lost uncle who moved interstate but you still write a Christmas card for – it starts Friday May 25 at 8pm on ABC1.

Shaun in Gordon Street..

Quite often actually, as Shaun has produced a number of shows at the ABC Studios in Elsternwick. But in this case, he’ll be on the series final of Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight next Wednesday at 8:30pm on ABC.

We expect there to be some talk about Mad as Hell… yippee!

Shaun Micallef is Mad as Hell

No, not a statement of fact, but the title of Shaun’s new ABC show, announced for 2012.

The show is described as “a half-hour weekly round-up, branding, inoculation and crutching of all the important news stories”. It’s been a few years since Shaun’s been on the ABC. His show Newstopia, which will draw obvious comparisons, aired on SBS from 2007-8.

“So, what’s this show all about? A good question, if I do say so – and it’s exactly that sort of direct, no-nonsense questioning of even myself that’s going to make this show the must-see event television that’s been virtually killed off by Kyle and Jackie O’s A Night with the Stars.” says Shaun Micallef.

10 episodes will air, with dates still to be advised.

Talkin’ Bout Your Generation will still be returning to Channel 10 in 2012, with 10 episodes to be recorded and aired. Plenty of Micallef for next year!