Hey, the cast are in the opening credits now! Micallef doesn’t have the beard he was sporting in all the promos! There’s the Micallef Tonight sign! And a bunch of political observations that are actually funny! Yes, Mad as Hell is back and it continues to be good. Oh sure, there are always quibbles to be made – the ten minutes on border protection was more clever than laugh-out-loud, though as always there were a bunch of good lines and concepts in there – but if you make a show with the line “featuring a who’s that of Australian talent”, you’re always going to get the thumbs up from us.
It does, of course, raise the question of why there isn’t more Mad as Hell, especially as Micallef isn’t also doing Mr & Mrs Murder this year. Maybe there’ll be a load more episodes this season; maybe there’ll be a second season later in the year. It’s still not enough. There’s an argument that too many episodes might dilute the quality, but we’re clearly looking at a well-honed comedy machine by series three and considering the strength of this first episode it certainly doesn’t feel like they couldn’t handle a few extra weeks of work.
Because seriously: Mad As Hell is the kind of show Australia should have on the air pretty much all year round. Well, if we still cling to that idea that political satire is A Good Thing. It’d be nice to see other people trying their hand at political comedy at the moment, but considering the number of folk trying to tell us The Roast isn’t crap with a straight face – tests have shown telling lame jokes while wearing a suit does not instantly turn said lame jokes into “satire” – we’re not entirely sure everyone out there can tell the difference between decent political comedy with something to say and a one joke idea that goes nowhere much past “oooh, Abbott’s not much chop, is he?”
We’re not saying Mad as Hell is genius-level brilliance that will outlast Western Civilisation itself or anything; we are saying that, as a show able to make fun of Australian society without dumbing it all down to “Abbott wears speedos” levels, it should be on our screens as often as possible. Especially as its rivals are a bit thin on the ground at the moment: The Chaser increasingly do their best work in other areas, Gruen is a show based entirely around the profit motive and Wednesday Night Fever was shit.
In short: Mad as Hell is smart, funny, and makes jokes about Million Dollar Hot Seat. Good luck finding that anywhere else on Australian television.
They’ve commissioned a second season for this year already, and have dreams to make it daily:
It’s at times a little patchy but when it’s good it’s better than anything else on Tv at the moment. My only criticism is that they sometimes spend a little too long at the desk without a guest but they are writing a researched half hour show with a small team every week and it wouldn’t be easy. They are just as good as the daily show with none of the resources.
Roy and HG had an average first episode but have had a few great moments since. Not the heights of the dream but I suspect their schtick has worn a little thin and perhaps they don’t have the resources. The fact they are doing it from Melbourne probably makes a difference.
Mad as Hell is the only show I look forward to at the moment. The writing is at times truly suburb. Putting the League of Gentleman picture up for Paul Howes is one of the funniest things I’ve seen this year.
Mad as Hell is great and the clever thing for the abc would be to get rid of a lot of the other wannabe ‘satire’ shows at this point and direct more funding to Mad. It clearly deserves to be on every night. If the abc wants their Jon Steward they should take note that Comedy Central didn’t constantly try to create more political satire shows to compete with Jon. When they found him they saw he was a winner and they directed their energies into him. Who wants 10 weak satire shows? Just have one good one. So yes I agree, the abc should be giving Mad as Hell all it’s got right now because even if it does fail, and it might, it’s still their best shot.
And with a straight face I couldn’t tell you that the roast is crap, becase the roast is so much more. It’s unctuous, self-satisfied, corny, shitty, and it’s been on the air for who knows how many years now without any improvement. And it’s back for another year!