More than your average trivia game show host, Shaun Micallef drives the laughs and risk- taking on Talkin’ ’ Bout Your
Generation. A former lawyer, this supersmart comedian ‘‘ hates’’ pop culture, formula TV and thinks Tonight shows are dead. But later this year he’ll reinvent his own for the ABC, writes Holy Byrnes
Q. The dynamic between you and the three captains – Amanda Keller, Charlie Pickering and Josh Thomas – is key. Is that well- rehearsed? A. It’s not rehearsed at all. It’s an organic relationship, like a family. We recorded our first show of the year last week. If that’s anything to go by, there’s going to be a lot more teasing. Q. What’s the extent of your input in the show? A. Having to throw to breaks and introducing games can be bland, so I rewrite that sort of stuff to suit me. Then over the years that has permeated into the games and the show has ended up quite odd. Q. The show is driven largely by pop culture. Is that an interest of yours? A. I hate it. It is a launch point. But if that was the be all and end all of the content, I think it would be dull. I use it as a touchstone then try to move it on to more interesting things than just talking about Kim Kardashian. Q. Do you think the audience responds to your risk- taking because we’re served so much formulaic programming? A. I think that’s right. I can’t stand watching those format shows that have been beaten into shape before they come over here. You do get a sense that some producer from the US is looking over the shoulder of the makers saying, ‘‘ Put the music here, you need this now, you need that sort of character’’. Every series is the same. Q. What can you tell us about your new ABC show, Shaun Micallef is Mad As Hell? A. It’s probably a bit of a stab at the sort of program you get when you watch Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. I really love those shows. To be honest, I think Tonight shows are dead. But those two shows represent what that type of show has turned into and the way to go.