Series: Shaun Micallefs Mad As Hell
"Thank you, Verity.""Shaun Micallef's Mad As Hell" (2012 - Present) is something of an Australian version of The Daily Show, except it airs weekly, and has a limited season run. Hosted by Shaun Micallef, it features many hilarious and bizarre characters who help him dissect the news and current events of the week.
—Shaun Micallef, to various characters in the first season.
Shaun Micallef's Mad As Hell provides examples of the following tropes:
- The Ahnold: Darius Horsham, complete with Shout-Out aplenty to Arnie's movies.
- Animal Motifs: Dolly Norman, whose hairstyle, voice, position as adviser to Senator Jackie Lambie and first name are clearly intended to make the viewer think of a sheep.
- Awesome McCoolname: Almost every single character has one of these, although they're perhaps more straight-up bizarre than awesome.
- Ian Orbspider is a great example.
- Back for the Finale: Veronica Milsom left the cast after series 4, but returned in the last episode of series 5 as herself in a behind the scenes sketch.Veronica: (after Shaun fires Roz) Hey, this should be a happy occasion.Emily: Shut up Veronica, you weren't even in this series!
- Bait-and-Switch Comparison: A variant: Shaun brings up a report stating that Tony Abbott has been speaking 100 words a minute slower than before the last election, and comparing his speech to that of a puppet.Shaun: Is our nation's leader really like a slow talking marionette? Let's have a comparison.(Cut to a clip of incoherent rambling from Mortimer Snerd, taken from what appears to be Fun and Fancy Free. Cut back to Shaun.)Shaun: Well, that footage was from before the election, and I do have to say that Mr. Abbott was a little difficult to understand, even back then.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Zizagged in one odd moment in series 2. Shaun turns to consult Vomitoria Catchment, only to find Roz Hammond, who has forgotten to change into her. While he waits for her to get back, Shaun has a brief chat with Jenifred Stoles as if the cameras weren't on them. The strange part is that Veronica Milsom stays in character as Jennifred, a high school-aged work experience girl, even while acknowledging that Vomitoria is a character played by Roz. Also, later in the same scene, Jennifred says that Clancy Lanyard would back her up if she was here, and Roz momentarily breaks character to ask Shaun if she should change into her.
- When Des-Lazlo Clusterbuck of the Nullarbor Mountaineering Co-Operative appears in the studio to talk about the issue of human waste on Mount Everest, Shaun interrupts and questions his (perfectly normal) outfit, asking, "Have you never seen a sketch comedy show?" Jump Cut to Des-Lazlo in a full mountain climbing outfit. "Thank you."
- Catch-22 Dilemma: Rosemary Kipflers states that the government won't open an investigation into the allegations that asylum seekers were injured by navy servicemen because the claims are unsubstantiated (no matter how many of them there are), and that for them to be substantiated there would need to be an investigation.
- Corpsing: Shaun is frequently seen smirking at a guest's (or his own) joke and occasionally bursts out laughing in the middle of one (see the clip under Bait And Switch Comparison above).
- Crazy Survivalist: A segment about Craig Javello, who had been preparing for the Mayan Doomsday for fifteen years, yet has made no plans regarding his mostly perishable food supplies, has built a fireplace in his (rather flimsy) bunker with no chimney ("The council wouldn't approve it") and hasn't thought about how he plans to keep his kindle recharged once the electricity goes out.Shaun: A postscript to that story, within an hour of entering his bunker for the test, Craig Javello was rushed to hospital suffering from botulism, smoke inhalation, rabies, bullet wounds and dysentery. He is not expected to survive. I guess the old days of the old-fashioned monthly wall calenders are numbered. Pretty pointless if they weren't, I guess.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Shaun comments on Tony Abbott's tendency to be needlessly specific (eg, "Lower taxes, not higher taxes", and "to look after people who are doing the right thing, and not the wrong thing").Shaun: Are we actually seeing the lower taxes and the lower tarriffs the Prime Minister has promised?Bain-Marie Spasm: Well Shaun, the Prime Minister is a man, not woman, of his word, who is more than happy, not sad or miserable, to stand up, not sit or lie down or kneel or squat, for what he believes in, not out. Now, he is doing his, not her or it's or our or their level, not uneven, best, not worst, to keep, not throw out, all his pre-election commitments, not promises, and fix Labor's mess, not miracle or accomplishment or boon or triumph, together with the treasurer Mr. Hockey, not Einstein.Shaun: Thank you very much for your time Ms Spasm.Bain-Marie: It was my pleasure, not pain or discomfort or disease.
Shaun: Two whole women in cabinet now, that should shut some of Mr. Abbott's critics up, shouldn't it?Dean Oops: You'd certainly like to think so, Shaun. It's a massive injection of female talent. People might not realise, but it's actually a 100% increase. And to put that into perspective, that's a doubling of the female representation in cabinet. There's now twice as many as there were last year, and to give that some sort of context, if that same increase occurred next year, there'd be an unbelievable four women in cabinet.Shaun: Dizzying numbers. Has he gone too far, do you think? Two women?Dean Oops: It's possibly an overcorrection.
- This exchange, after the appointment of Susan Ley to the LNP Cabinet
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the first couple of episodes, there were legitimate interviews, one with Masha Gessen about her book on Vladimir Putin, the other with Rachel Perkins on the ABC telemovie Mabo. Since then, the show has only had satirical content.
- Epic Fail: Shaun talks with Panadeine Clump about claims that Clive Palmer's "walk doesn't match his talk", hence his increasing unpopularity with Palmer United supporters. First Panadeine analyses a clip of Clive's walk and states that if his talk were to match his walk, it would sound more like a duck quacking.Shaun: What if he went the other way, though, and changed his walk to match the way he currently talks?Panadeine: Well, pretty much like this.(''Cut to a surveillance camera clip of a girl tripping over two barstools before crashing through a window.)
- Exact Words: Shaun brings up Alan Jones' "apology" for stating that Julia Gillard's father died of shame: "A person like me shouldn't have made that comment anywhere." Shaun interprets it as "not actually him, just a person like him." Later in the scene, he brings up a clip of Jones using the Boston Marathon Bombings to segue into a rant about the numbers of foreign students in Australia.Shaun: Now, a lot of people might think that to speculate on the politics of bomb makers in another country with no evidence at all and then yoke it onto an argument against accepting foreign students into this country, particularly in the leadup to an election, is wrong-headed, stupid and irresponsible, and not the sort of thing we should expect from a professional broadcaster. Well, these people need to be reminded that Alan Jones is not actually a professional broadcaster. He's someone like a professional broadcaster.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Nearly once an episode in the third season, usually involving Shaun doing something strange or otherwise something utterly irrelevant.
- Fun with Acronyms: In late 2014, Senator Jackie Lambie left the Palmer United Party and announced she would be voting with other like-minded Independents, whom she dubbed the Coalition of Common Sense.Shaun Who are in the Coalition of Common Sense, and how do they differ from other coalitions, like the Willing, the Concerned and the Liberal National Parties?Dolly: Shaun, the Coalition of Common Sense likes to be known by its acronym, COCS. Jackie and Independents like Nick Xenophon and John Madigan and Ricky Muir are COCS, Shaun, and it's their job to block legislation that hurts Australia. COC-blocker if you will.
- Elaine Feelings gives an explanation of mining industrial jargon such as "fly in, fly out" workers (FIFO), "helicopter in, helicopter out" (HIHO, "who are traditionally shorter miners"), "cab it in, cab it out" (CICO, pronounced "sicko"), "Train it in, train it out" (TITO, which may also apply "if you're the first Yugoslavian president") and "Escalator in, escalator immediately out" (EIEIO). Elaine also brings up DIDO, which Shaun guesses incorrectly means, "Drive in, drive out".
- Gag Dub: Done with a single word - Shaun takes numerous clips of Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne talking about their plan for the future of Australia while posing with a pamphlet entitled, "Our plan", and mocks them by dubbing over each use of the word "plan" with "pamphlet".Tony Abbott: I don't think people are really that interested in the polls. I think what they want is aShaun's voice: pamphlet.
- Genre Savvy: In the second season finale, "Ordinary-Australians-2-The-Max" Dianne and Brian escaped a Piano Drop, pointing out as such... only to be run over by a train that happened to be passing through the studio.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:Damien Scranton: I will say one thing, Tony Abbott is right on one count.Shaun: He's a right what?
- Hurricane of Puns: An interview with Vice Rear Cabin Boy Sir Bobo Gargle about Crimean military dolphins. Highlights include Gargle comparing a combat dolphin to a Navy SEAL ("except cuter"), claiming that the Russians might be worried about the anti-seccessionist protestors making molotov cocktails out of the more bottle-nosed dolphins, and stating that the ADF would never use dolphins for military porpoises.Gargle: They can kill a man at twenty leagues, using blades attached to their fins, and even to their tails.Shaun: (pointing at Gargle's diagram of a dolphin with blades attached) Tails, wouldn't you call that a fluke?Gargle: No, just good planning.
- Implausible Deniability: Played with when Bobo Gargle refuses to confirm or deny that he's currently speaking with Shaun, for reasons of operational security.Shaun: Vice Rear Admiral, thanks for your time, if in fact you did give it to us.Bobo: It may or may not have been my pleasure Shaun.
- I Resemble That Remark:Shaun: What do you say though to people who say "girly-man" is sexist?Darius: I say they are being crybaby pussies and they should grow a pair!
- Large Ham: Stephen Hall as Darius Horsham ("Shaun you're being an economic girly-man!"). Francis Greenslade as Vice Rear Cabin Boy Bobo Gargle ("RELEASE THE KRAKEN!")
Darius: Come with us if you want to live! Live in a country that has not sucked you into a black hole of hemmorhaging debt. But, if it bleeds, we can kill it! By blasting it with ice, Shaun! An economic freeze is coming! Prepare for a bitter harvest - winter has come at last!
- Chewing the Scenery: Darius's standout moment is in the "Excise Or Tax" scene, which clearly breaks Shaun:
- Layman's Terms: Shaun uses a clip of Finance Minister Matthias Cormann trying to explain "in plain English" what the fuel excise indexation means. "Mind you, plain English isn't his first language."
- Literal-Minded: Mick Onk, who Shaun interviews to try and figure out the symbolism of carrying a puppet of Tony Abbott wearing a blindfold at a protest of Abbott's climate change policy (or lack thereof).Shaun: I'm interested in the message behind your protest, namely, if Mr. Abbott is, as you portray him, a puppet, who is controlling him?Mick: Me and Dirk.Shaun: No, symbolically, though, who is controlling Mr. Abbott?Mick: Oh. Big business?Shaun: Okay, and so, is it big business that's put the blindfold on him?Mick: Nah, me and Dirk.
- Long List: In response to Prime Minister Tony Abbott calling Opposition Leader Bill Shorten "The Doctor Goebbels of economic policy":Shaun: I mean, for a start, it didn't make any sense, did it? I mean, Doctor Goebbels had nothing to do with economic policy. And if it didn't have to make any sense, there are plenty of other less offensive members of the medical profession Mr. Abbott could have likened Mr. Shorten to, which wouldn't have caused such a brouhaha, if you'll excuse my French. There's Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Kissinger, Dr. Kervorkian, Dr. Crippen, Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Edelsten, Dr. Zaius, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Lecter, Dr. Karl, Dr Karl, Dr. Octavius, Dr Pepper, Dr. Ming's Herbal Weight-Loss Tea and of course Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, to name but sixteen. Now, in a perfect world, of course, the reference could have made sense too, the name of the doctor reflecting, in some way, Labor's approach to handling the economy when they were in power. Doctor Dolittle, perhaps.
- No Indoor Voice: Casper Jonquil's schtick.
- Overly Long Gag: After commenting on Tony Abbott's repetitive, stuttering speech pattern, Shaun cuts to Alan Parsons, who argues that what you say is more important than how long it takes - which takes him over two minutes to get out, thanks to him imitating Abbott's speech. "Mr. Parsons, thanks for our time."
- Running Gag: Something the show runs on. Aside from the aforementioned "Thank you, Verity," there are:
Bobo: It's not for the faint-hearted to police our sovereign borders.Shaun: And if it gets to frightening for you?Bobo: Well then, I police, THE KRAKEN!(The Kraken burts out and promptly gets taken away by Customs and Border Protection)
- Frequent Piano Drops, especially on Caspar Jonquil.
- Vice-Rear Cabin Boy Bobo Gargle releasing the Kraken - a man in a green octopus outfit who jumps out of a cupboard accompanied by Toni Basil's "Mickey". In series four, the Kraken starts showing up by mistake, in response to vaguely similar sounding words (or just the word "release"). Bobo starts exploiting this in series five:
Shaun: Here's the Prime Minister on rival news parody Wake Up defending the secrecy on Operation Sovereign Borders.Shaun: Well, this news desk is normally devoted to the fair and balanced reporting of the week's events. I don't sit in it to push my views down your throat. That sort of pig-headed editorializing sickens me, and if you want that you should tune into Larry Emdur on The Morning Show.Shaun: (after cutting to what he claimed would be Tony Abbott "in action on the Parliamentary floor" - which was instead Abbott commenting on a recent surfing trip.) I apologise, that was the Channel 10 morning show Wake Up. Mind you, I don't really see why i should apologise for it, they're the ones putting it to air.
- Shaun regularly insults Adelaide... even though its his home town.
- When a guest leaves the studio, the camera will follow them out into the street, all the way home, and often beyond, for several minutes.
- Shaun regularly mocks breakfast television shows, such as Seven's Sunrise (which, let's face it, are truly awful), often while mocking his own show.
Shaun: Now, Andrew's a good friend. We were both "educated" at Adelaide University, we both work for the ABC and Channel Ten, and we both host pretend news and current affairs shows.Shaun: (after showing a clip of Tony Abbott's slow, puppet-like delivery on The Bolt Report) Yeah, look, it sounds very slow, it sounds like he's talking to an idiot.
- Andrew Bolt is sometimes mentioned, usually with a snarky quip about Adelaide or Bolt's show being akin to a bad joke being thrown in (Bolt and Micallef both having attended The University of Adelaide).
- Any time Shaun brings up a politician or other public figure, an image of a vaguely similar looking fictional character or other public figure will appear next to him. For example, Prime Minister Tony Abbott as Voldemort◊ or Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as an Oompa Loompa◊. Usually Shaun will Double Take and call to someone to fix it (usually with an unflattering picture that will somewhat justify the "mistake"), but sometimes he doesn't seem to notice. One standout example is when then-Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos is represented by Jason Alexander, George Brandis, John Howard, Adam Richard, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vincent Price (as Egghead)) and a potato with a face drawn on it before finally getting it right - yet later in the same scene John Howard is represented by The Hood and Shaun doesn't see any difference.
- Using "Olympic-size Swimming Pool" as a unit of measurement (and not just for liquid capacity) which started after a news show compared George Brandis's book case to one.
- Darius Horsham, spokesman of Australia's finance minister Matthias Cormann, referencing Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and frequently calling Shaun an "economic girly-man".
- Shaun falling asleep after listening to Cormann talk, no matter how briefly.
- Ian Orbspider being struck by lightning and Stripped to the Bone.
- Shaun beating up Flornoy Quimbie after he claims credit for a particularly annoying advertising campaign.
- Shaun giving Bill Shorten's "zingers" the Mundane Made Awesome treatment.
- Shaun sending out Calotto hams to viewers and public figures. "Calotto, the great taste of ham."
- Shaun lapsing into a House of Cards (US) style aside when talking about Senator Jackie Lambie. In one case he uses quotes from the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer.
- Numerous jokes involving stock clips, with little to no context:
- Christopher Pyne's infamous soundbite regarding David Gonski's report on education funding, "This is a Conski, not a Gonski."
- A stock shot of Tony Abbott rolling what appears to be a bocce ball down a tube onto a table, usually presented as something bizarre and inexplicable out of context.
- John Madigan's "Submarines are the spaceships of the ocean" outburst on Q&A.
- SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin saying "penises", again with no context whatsoever.
- Satire: The entire show.
- Self-Deprecation: After Shaun asks Vice Rear Cabin Boy Bobo Gargle for anything he can tell him about the Coalition's asylum seeker policy (which was being kept secret for fear of giving people smugglers the heads-up).Gargle: Are we being observed at the moment?Shaun: Well, My Kitchen Rules is back on, so probably not.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: In every episode while at the news desk, Shaun has worn the same three piece suit, shirt and tie. For the first few episodes, he also wore glasses, arguably adding to his sharp outfit.
- Shaggy Dog Story: In one episode, Shaun interviews the Chief Scientographer from Fortescue Metals. Words cannot begin to describe it.
- Mainly to other Micallef works:
- The Panda from Talkin' 'bout Your Generation makes occasional appearances.
- The line "Have you got some identification?", verbatim from The Micallef Program.
- As of the third season, the Micallef Tonight logo is now a set piece and the Micallef Tonight theme music closed out the first three episodes, and as of the fourth season, the Tyrrel Corp. chair that Shaun sat on in later seasons of Talkin' 'bout Your Generationwas a set piece in the background.
- A quick screen grab from Newstopia made an appearance at one point.
- Occasionally, Shaun would trot out a quick High Horse gag from Micallef Tonight, to the delight of the studio audience.
- The fourth episode of season 3 had a couple to non-Micallef works:
- Owing to the Russia\Ukraine issues, the opening titles were replaced with a parody of the Dad's Army opening entitled Vlad's Army.
- One of the segments featured Francis as Department of Health Representative William Wonka, dressed a la Gene Wilder from the film, including lines verbatim from the film.
- A reporter in the background played by Francis Greenslade reacts when Shaun mentions "winners and losers", calling it a very popular show.
- One episode has a guest go off on a tangent about gardening taken verbatim from Being There, along with Shaun's response.
- Mainly to other Micallef works:
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: Shaun regularly jumps on strange analogies from politicians, especially when they contain malapropisms (such as Clive Palmer's reference to a "courier pigeon"), inaccurate pop cultural references or Mixed Metaphors:Senator Jackie Lambie: (quoted) "Clive Palmer can no longer sit on the fence [...] I'm not going to stand around and watch Clive Palmer backflipping."Shaun: Can you backflip from a seated position on a fence?Dolly: ...What, now?
Sandy Appleby: Do you know that only 3% of the ASX 200 have female company directors? The current ratio of women on boards stands at just 14%.Shaun: Well perhaps if they stood on boards they wouldn't need to stand on each other to reach the glass ceiling.Sandy: Do you mean that literally or metaphorically?Shaun: I have no idea.
- Another standout example, at the end of a long and literal discussion of the expression, "glass ceiling".
- Sophisticated as Hell: At the start of the first episode, Shaun spends the first minute trying to explain that, despite the show's title, he has no agenda and doesn't take sides, illustrated by his position in the middle of a round table with a yin-yang symbol on it. "If we could have afforded it, I would have had this yin-yang table teetering on a fence, as a metaphor for what this show's all about, a perfectly balanced non-judgmental state of wisdom and enlightenment. Beat. Mind you, one thing that really got me (Sound Effect Bleep)ing mad this week was Craig Thomson."
- Small Reference Pools: Discussed a number of times in "Learning About Life Through the Prism of Pop Culture", when Shaun starts an analogy before questioning who in the audience will understand it.Shaun: Gina Rinehart's rise to power is very much like the great film Citizen Kane. Gina Rinehart is Charles Foster Kane, who inherits a multi-million dollar mining fortune and thinks it would be "fun" to run a newspaper. But things go bad when Kane/Gina tries to meddle in politics - How many people have seen Citizen Kane? Hands up? (beat) Not enough. I need a more popular cultural reference. Uh... Gina Rinehart is like Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet. Seth/Gina inherits a fortune from a multi-millionaire father, who wants to run a newspaper but has a secret agenda to get rid of the Russian Mafia. No, that doesn't work, does it.. Equating the Russian mafia with the anti-mining lobby doesn't make any sense. Although that would make a great headline in The Age. I reckon Ross Gittins would do it. Of course, he'd have to do it in a New Zealand accent. Anyway, forget about that, I got one. Gina Rinehart's takeover bid for Fairfax is like the film version of Rock of Ages: a terrible idea.
- Stop Saying That!:Shaun: Is your point that Mr. Abbott has blinded himself to these climate change facts, or has someone else done it? Ie, who put the blindfold on Mr. Abbott? And if you say "Me and Dirk" I will arrange to have you injured.Mick: ...Someone else did it?Shaun: Alright, well presumably whoever controls him.Mick: Yeah, me and Dirk.
- Take That: A lot.
- Oddly, it's mainly towards other ABC programs - fake ABC advertisements are shown during the program, poking fun at numerous other programs on the network.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Ian Orbspider is struck by lightning (and thus Stripped to the Bone) most episodes. Initially this happens at the end of his scenes, with Orbspider Tempting Fate in one way or another, but in later series, the skeleton continues carrying on the interview.
- Unfortunate Names: A few of the guest characters have these.
- Vomitoria Catchment, the 'political Bloggista', is a perfect example.
- Unishment: Played for laughs when Heinrich Mc Ng explains why Jackie Lambie was banned from attending meetings that she hadn't been coming to anyway.Shaun: In retrospect, do you think it was wise not only to demote Ms. Lambie but suspend her from attending any Palmer United meetings?Heinrich: We had no choice, Shaun. She hadn't attended the last three party meetings.Shaun: Yes, but do you think preventing her from coming to the meetings she wasn't coming to was the most effective form of punishment?Heinrich: If she wasn't going to come to the meetings we weren't going to let her stand by and not come to them.Dolly: She wasn't coming to them, just 'cause, she wasn't coming to them. Not 'cause you told her not to.Heinrich: No she wasn't!Dolly: Yes she was! Not! Coming to them! Idiot!Heinrich: No, she wasn't not coming to them because she wasn't coming to them, she wasn't coming to them because we said she couldn't.Dolly: You can't stop her coming if she's not coming! What are you stopping?Heinrich: ...Well we did! And you're an idiot!
- Who's on First?: A conversation between Shaun and Chinese affiliate Clavis Sinica reagarding when Preimer Wen Jiabao would be leaving, and who would be replacing President Hu Jintao. Offscreen, it apparently takes Shaun an hour and 47 minutes to figure out the source of this confusion, while the full interview take five hours due to some other confusion.