Articles: Browse Category

REDEFINING history

Published:
01/10/2016
Author:
Think local

For a person who happily admits they've never been to the United States and most likely will never go there, a book about the history of the US seems an unlikely choice for Shaun Micallef.

Widely known throughout the country for his work in television, stage and radio, the comedian says his third book is a satirical "made up" history of the United States, based around presidents and their desks. It's crafted as only he could do.

On his biography, Shaun Micallef lists his literary genres as sketch comedy, surrealism, Dadaism, absurdism and political satire. Perhaps it's his combined Maltese and Irish heritage that contributes to his penchant for taking the mickey or not letting the facts ruin a good story.

"I was taught by the Marists in Adelaide," he tells an enthusiastic audience at Mosman Library. "I know the holes in my education; I've never been in America. Why sully a perfectly good book with the truth?" he smiles.

"I think I really have improved American history - even used Wikipedia to grace fanciful sedimentary layers in the novel. It's certainly an alternative history. It's a person's point of view and it doesn't have to be true," he says with cheeky disrespect.

Mr Micallef is adamant that the US presidents have benefited by his attempt to "reimagine them".

"I think the book is great - it's full of printed words and almost all of them are true," he remarks. Growing up in suburban Adelaide, Shaun MicaIlef says the family did not have a television in the house until he was 10 years old. In his teenage years, he became hooked on The Goon Show and Monty Python. While completing a law degree at Adelaide University he was frequently involved in comedy revues.

He worked as a solicitor for 10 years in Adelaide before deciding to move to Melbourne in 1993 to pursue a fulltime career in comedy.

Following appearances on Theatre Sports and The Big Gig, he was offered a job writing for the Jimeoin show and then writing and as a cast member for Full Frontal in 1994.

Success followed over the next decade with appearances in SeaChange, Through My Eyes, Offspring and in 2009 he began hosting the Ten Network's Talkin’ ’Bout Your Generation.

His rise in popularity has been consolidated with the hugely successful Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell. He says the show keeps him extremely busy.

"Scripts are edited on Sunday, gaps are left in case news breaks on the weekend, and filming is on Tuesday. Further editing and airing is on Wednesday on the ABC. On Thursday, I'm faced with a blank page again," he muses.

"I love all the characters in the show - I just can't believe they pay us to muck around that much," he laughs.

 

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