Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell

I’ve watched a few episodes of this ABC news spoof, and I’m wondering: what is he mad as hell about? Is it political hypocrisy? Useless news media? Or is he just peeved that his writers aren’t as good as Jon Stewart’s?The show itself consists of Micallef cracking wise about news events, engaging in fake interviews with people bearing ludicrous names, and going off in peculiar directions. Some of the sketches are comic genius, others just leave you going “bwuh” and wondering why anyone bothered. It’s all a bit hit and miss.

The main draw to the series is, of course, Shaun Micallef. It does have to be said that he has a lot of charisma. I’m pretty sure that he could set up his own political party from deadbeats, ex-cons and people who listen nonstop to Shannon Noll, and he’d be a shoe-in for Prime Minister; mind you, the current Australian political landscape consists of one group that make evil decisions and carry them out competently, and one that makes good decisions and execute them as poorly as Nearly Headless Nick was, meaning that I’m pretty sure a full-time mime artist could reach high office if he put in the effort. And certainly, for my money, more Micallef is always welcome – but it’s a bit hard to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

I mean, it’s not too bad as comedy series go. The silly names are a bit of a letdown, but it does fill a bit of the gap the ABC left when they stopped having the Daily Show shipped over. Ultimately, sadly, that’s the problem: consciously or unconsciously, it really is trying to be the Daily Show, maybe with a bit of the Colbert Report mixed in, and as good as Micallef is, he’s not quite that good. Even the funny sketches lack that essential stick-in-the-mind quality of, say, Monty Python, or even Thank God You’re Here (on which Micallef was a frequent participant), meaning that you laugh a bit and then totally forget everything about them – and I can remember a number of Garfield comics from fifteen years ago, so that’s a bad sign.

Final score: seven hoots out of ten. I don’t mind getting a bit as an incidental bonus for being overly cautious when taping QI, but I’m not feeling particularly eager to watch it consistently.

– OSM out


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