Mad As Hell
Shaun Micallef delivers full- throttle news
Shaun Micallef quips that his satirical current- affairs program Mad as Hell is lingering “just this side of complacency” as it begins its new season on the ABC.
But anyone familiar with the multi- talented comedian’s distinctive style knows Micallef and his colleagues are anything but lazy when aiming for a laugh.
Even the Mad as Hell episode synopses found on your television’s electronic program guide have a dash of the madcap about them. “When Francis asks Shaun if he can change a word in one of the scripts, Shaun kills him” is one such rundown.
So what can viewers expect from Mad as Hell’s fourth season? Given the show prides itself on being up- to- theminute in tackling the topics of the week, Micallef is keeping mum on the specifics.
Shaun, has there been much happening around the world that has Mad as Hell rubbing its hands with glee?
We’re coming into this season quite confident. There’s a lot happening, and some of it is a challenge to make funny but we don’t feel obliged to deal with certain topics and then make jokes about them. A story is important to us if the jokes happen.
Our show is about making little things important rather than making big things unimportant. We sometimes have to justify the title of the show by me getting angry. But I’m a fairly mellow fellow. Very little worries me.
How do you feel Mad as Hell has changed or grown over the course of four seasons?
It has certainly grown and I think the day it stops growing is the day we’ll be over it. When it started off, we were looking at American nightly shows like Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s – they were the touchstone to me. But it’s a bit different because we’re on weekly – we had to be a little less relaxed.
We did toy with the idea of having real guests – in fact, we did it once and it wasn’t a bad conversation at all but it affected the pacing of the show and just didn’t sit well at all.
We’ve dropped a lot of the baubles and ornaments over time; we used to parody the presentation of the news but the show now has its own way of putting itself together.
You’re a busy fellow. Aside from Mad as Hell, you’ve got roles in films and TV series like It’s a Date on the horizon. And a book as well?
The book is called The President’s Desk, a comic history of American presidencies since 1854. It’s described as “history for people who can’t be bothered with accuracy”.