Nice things: we just can’t say enough of them about Shaun Micallef. It’s not just that he (and his trusty regular cohorts, co-star Francis Greenslade and writers Gary McCaffrie and Michael Ward) are funny: he’s hard working too. Not for him vanishing for a few years in some behind-the-scenes gig or personal project no-one ever sees – he’s constantly churning out television shows (twenty episodes this year alone), with books and CDs and dozens of appearances everywhere else in between. Which is lucky, because at times it feels like he’s holding up the quality end of Australian comedy all on his lonesome.
There’s not a great deal new we can say at this stage about Mad as Hell, AKA the best comedy show on Australian television. Everything good we’ve said in the past seems to still apply – personally we’d probably prefer a few more sketches but with twenty episodes a year the interview format is clearly working just fine when it comes to giving the gags structure. And with a cast this strong just having them on-camera talking crap is good enough for us.
So for now, let’s just say we’re glad as Hell to have Mad as Hell back. If it feels just a little like Micallef’s skills would be better used elsewhere (news satire might be difficult to do, but it’s still entry level comedy and Micallef has proven multiple times that world-class sketch comedy and sitcoms are within his grasp), at least he’s doing us all a massive favour by keeping The Roast back on ABC2 where it can be safely ignored. Because all too soon Micallef will move on and the ABC, determined to have a regular news parody program no matter how low the level of quality, will bump The Roast up to prime time. And then where will we be?