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Thank God for the Paramount Comedy Channel for bringing The Micallef Program to these comedy starved shores. In anticipation of the new series of the only homegrown comedy shows worth talking about (Spaced, Black Books), I thought I would give Micallef a try and see if those kind souls at Paramount were telling the whole truth about how good it was.
At first, I wasn't sure; but, after 20 seconds or so, I was laughing. By the time Spiffington Manse came on, I was on the floor, holding my sides in convulsions: this is one show that should definitely carry a public health warning!!!
Maybe it's because I'm so jaded with so-called comic talent here in Britain and Ireland, or maybe (and more likely), the standards of British TV comedy recently has (with very few exceptions) fallen alarmingly low, but Shaun Micallef is like a blast of fresh air on the scene. I would love to see his live show; I'm eager to see his work on the Aussie show, SeaChange; and I wish Paramount would show all three, original series uncut instead of a series of best of shows. Micallef combines all the best elements of Steve Coogan, Monty Python, The Fast Show, but puts his own spin on proceedings which makes even the most basic comic premises (the quiz show, the sarcastic interviewer, the cop documentary) refreshing.
Aided and abetted by a brilliant cast (Francis Greenslade, Roz Hammond, and Wayne Hope should all hold master classes in how to be funny over here), the viewer is spoiled for choice when trying to pick a favourite moment or performance. The telekinetic peasant woman; the Nazi encouraged to kayak off a building and die on "I Bloody Dare You"; the death of the Australian funeral industry; the blasphemous Fat-o-gram sketch; the AmWay selling gameshow host, and so on are all classics which deserve mention in the same breath as other classic comedy moments like The Dead Parrot Sketch, Fork Handles, and the little bit of car trouble Basil has in Fawlty Towers.
I've already ordered my Micallef video from the ABC online shop, and eagerly await any repeats and new material that Paramount (or any other channel) may have in store for us. If you have seen Shaun's show, you'll understand why I'm raving so much about it; if you haven't, then I can only feel sorry for you.
10 / 10
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