All news is good news
COMEDIAN Shaun Micallef admits he’s reviving a tried and successful format with fresh faces and new ideas for ABC series Mad as Hell.
The Talkin’ ’Bout Your Generation host returns to his old stomping ground at Aunty with a sketchcomedy show disguised as a news review program.
Mad as Hell will have a similar theme to SBS’S Newstopia says Micallef, who fronted it for three seasons. Newstopia was cancelled after its filming schedule clashed with Network Ten’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, which Micallef had just joined.
But Micallef, 50, says his four years on Generation is a big advantage for his new venture. He says viewers may recognise similarities, in style and tempo, between Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation and Mad as Hell – and it won’t be by coincidence.
‘‘I always thought Newstopia was unfinished business. Rather than do Newstopia again, I thought why don’t we reinvent it again and bring all the lessons I had learned from Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation to this new project,’’ he says.
‘‘Things like the sort of abandonment and lack of discipline that Generation had – I would love to see on this program.’’
Micallef has recruited some familiar faces and not-so-familiar faces for Mad as Hell.
He has again teamed up with Francis Greenslade, who appeared on Generation, and comic Roz Hammond, who was a regular on Newstopia.
The x-factor, says Micallef, is working with Veronica Milsom ( Hungry Beast, Triple J), Emily Taheny ( Comedy Inc., The Chaser’s War on Everything) and stage actor Tosh Greenslade.
‘‘Veronica, Emily and Tosh – I have never worked with before and it’s exciting to work with fresh new people,’’ Micallef says.
‘‘Even though it’s billed as a news show, they are not going to be sitting there giving me their opinion because quite frankly no one wants to hear my opinion or the cast’s opinion on anything.
‘‘ Mad as Hell is a sketch program presented from the hub of a newsroom . . . and the material will be fed by what’s happening that week in the news.’’
It’s proving to be a big year for Micallef. Besides starting Mad as Hell, he was recently cast alongside Kat Stewart, from Underbelly and Offspring, to star in the Mystery Murder series Mr and Mrs Murder.
Production for the 13-part series begins in Melbourne in September.
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