Mad As Hell

Shaun Mi­callef de­liv­ers full- throt­tle news

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - Mad as Hell, Wed­nes­day, ABC at 8pm

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”.

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