Newstopia – Shaun Micallefs Satirical News Show (SBS TV)

Don’t expect to see NEWStopia back on television. SBS has declined commissioning a 4th series instead choosing to fund 3 new short comedy series 🙁

Series 1 of Shaun Micallef’s Newstopia started broadcasting on SBS at 10pm on Wednesday nights starting October 10 2007. Series 2 followed swiftly afterwards in February 2008 and the final Series 3 aired in late 2008.

I especially enjoyed the fake ads for SBS programs eg: “Tyrants and their pets: Hitler’s poodle”. Watch the videos (at right) and see what you think.

If you didn’t watch the Inspektor Herring Special Episode of Shaun Micallef’s Newstopia in my opinion you missed the best comedy program on Australian TV in 2008

When promoting the first series in late 2007, Micallef told the Age “The conceit of the show is that Australia is the best possible place to judge the rest of the world because we have no control over it … But we’re desperately concerned about what the neighbours think of us.” Micallef works on the series with old friends Gary McCaffrie and Michael Ward as writers.

I was not impressed by the first episode, it was like a monotonous radio newsreader rather than Shawn’s usual quirky comedy style. However this improved as the series progressed. Nicholas Bell (The Games) played a strong supporting role.

Since his ill-fated show “Micallef Tonight” on Channel 9 in 2003, Shaun Micallef has worked as a radio host on Vega’s Melbourne breakfast show team and written a book called Smithereens.

Viewers can expect plenty of sarcastic comments and funny faces being pulled by Micallef and I personally hope the show will be similar to the Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

Micallef established himself as one of Australia’s most popular comedians while working on shows like “Full Frontal” and then in his own right in the surreal “The Micallef Program” (series 1), The Micallef Programme (series 2) and The Micallef Pogram (series 3) where he played a pompous TV host who:

  • Put down his guests like musician Tim Rogers
  • Participated in brief odd sketches like the annual claustrophobic association picnic where the picnickers are really far away from each other, and
  • Played Dracula in a classic sketch called Dracula makes a SeaChange produced with the theme music and actors of the hit ABC TV show Seachange (watch it below via Youtube by clicking on the PLAY button at the bottom left of the video box)

20 thoughts on “Newstopia – Shaun Micallefs Satirical News Show (SBS TV)”

  1. VERY disappointing and at times unwatchable (as with virtually all Australian “comedy” at the moment). Writing poor and pace v-e-r-y s-l-o-wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    I too was hoping for something like a Daily Show/Colbert Report (and so were the producers of NEWStopia, I’ll bet) but it’s nowhere close.

    Part of it must be resources (see what Comedy Central does for Colbert — and what an interesting talent Colbert is — at http://www.vanityfair.com/fame/features/2007/10/colbert200710 ).

    Part of it is having A List celebs and presidential candidates do silly, informal things and being super-quick to react and keep it going.

    Could you do that with Tony Abbott, say, and Home and Away “stars”?

    EDITOR: Thanks for the vanity fair article link, it was quite interesting. PS i’m a big fan of the Colbert Report

  2. I just watched the 4th episode of Newstopia and I think it’s improving, I especially liked the faked ads for SBS programs eg: “Hitler’s poodle” 🙂

  3. This show is hilarious, though maybe too subtle/intellectual for some. (Sorry Einstein). “And now for a staring competition with Stan Grant. [Stan] [Shaun] [Stan] [Shaun] [Stan] [Shaun’s eye’s cross absurdly] Man that Stan’s good”.

    I also caught a few episodes of Welcher and Welcher and can’t wait to see them all one day.

    EDITOR: I didn’t get to watch Welcher and Welcher because I was overseas at the time and I haven’t seen ABC TV repeat it yet. What was it like compared to Shaun’s other work?

  4. Until you all make a better television show, keep your petty opinions to yourself. The fact that you wish the show was more like others you have seen, proves that you are unwilling to accept change. Who wants the same boring old dribble all the time. If you don’t like the show, don’t watch it. Stop complaining just for the sake of it. It is easy to criticize others when you don’t have to say it to their face huh. Useless!

  5. One of the few decent comedy shows on Aussie TV at the moment. To be honest, its the ONLY decent comedy show on!

  6. This guy is a comic genius, a bit hit and miss, but you dont get that kind of-severely cerebral humor, and slapstick absurdity anywhere else, just doesn’t happen.
    The guy is a comic freak, it appears, one needs a sense of humor-any humor-to appreciate it.
    If you didnt get it, maybe your a little slow, micalleff is too clever for his own good, and not even in the usual way. Thats a GOOD thing.

    You either appreciate absurdity, or you dont-if you wanted to watch the usually excellent Daily show, great, but there is no comparison here, Stewart is a try hard in the arena, with budget and guaranteed audience, micalleff is the master on a shoestring-been doing it longer too, probably.

    Come on, could stewart do the pipe-schtick, and be funny? Hell no.

  7. Well said Mo. Newstopia is proof that a cult comedy series can still be made on a shoestring. If there’s a series 1 DVD consider me one of the first in line to buy it.

    If you want a good example of Australian comedy ruined by American production values, look at the recently-dragged-out-to-fill-the-writer’s-strike Good News Week. On second thoughts, don’t, as you may still have pleasant memories of the original.

    As well as the frequent 7-minute ad-breaks (giving it the well-deserved title of “Slowest Quiz Show in Australian Television History”), the audience is further insulted by the simply -vomitous- amount of cross-promotion shoehorned in for other Channel Ten shows. All the segments have been renamed to reference Ten-licensed reality TV programs, and a whole TWELVE MINUTES OF SHOW is devoted to wheeling out an American Celebrity Stooge for a farcical interview/gameshow segment with Paul McDermott that has nothing to do with GNW -at all-.

    Ah, had to get that off my chest. The attitude of “product placement and cross-promotion should pay for the show” really shits me to tears, and most of Channel Ten’s local productions have been forced into this mentality (e.g. Panel Christmas Wrap 2007, never thought I’d see the legendary Graham and The Colonel spruiking lawn furniture).

    EDITOR: thanks for your comments, you’ve definitely convinced me not to waste my time watching Good News Week

  8. Shaun – what can I say – you are one funny dude and sooooo underrated. Last week’s interview with the Dalai Lama was hysterical. Thanks, I now have a big wet patch on my couch!!

    My only criticism is the way your segments bleed into the ad breaks. I hate ads and fastforward thru them until I realised what was happening. I nearly missed “Amish & Handy” because of this. Work on it. Okay? Lovin’ your stuff

    EDITOR: Shaun adds in fake ads to tease SBS’s often obscure programs. I quite enjoy the fake ads they’re often the most funny part of the show.

  9. Dear Newstopia
    I am in shock because i just sat down to watch newstopia and it’s not on!!! Best show on the tele. Intelligent and funy and you don’t get that much anywhere these days in the media. Shaun is the most talented comic we have had in many years. Hope the show is back on soon.

    EDITOR: The same thing happened to me, I hadn’t checked the TV guide and set down at 10pm to find a different comedy program was on.

    I’ll post any news here if/when I hear about another series of Newstopia from my contact at SBS

  10. Welcome back ! Great to see the return of Newstopia and paricularly liked the Donald Bradman (yawn) piece.
    Still the best half hour on television. Keep it up.

  11. Great lighthearted satirical adult comedy.Please have another seriies.Perhaps you could show Mr Putin anc Mr Bang Bang entertaining their countrymen again.I hope sbs dosen’t axe your show and put a mindless european or US show on tv.Keep up the good work Shaun and crew.
    ps I think 6.95 for 1kg of grey hair is good value.

  12. Absolutely brilliant show!!!

    I caught it last night for the first time, only because I’m in the quadroped canine house, for an unknown reason with my Bipedal Female humanoid partner.

    I particulary love the type of humour represented and the off the wall advertisements. Where can I get one of those kitchens?? Does the futuristic, serious, superior man come with the kitchen to prevent my inlaws from visiting agian??

    I’d love to write for the show one day.

    Please keep it on the air, as I feel my Quadropedal canine house days are not over!!!

    Well done Shaun!

    Andrew Hetherington.

  13. Hi to the team at Newstopia.

    Well I watched you for the second time tonight and do enjoy your humour. I particularly enjoyed your Bunnings and ING advertisements with the Billy Connolly spoof! He almost took me back to 60’s and 70’s British humour!!!

    What I found really distracting though, was asynchronous by about half a sentence. Of course that’s SBS’s fault, not Newstopia’s.

  14. Newstopia team and I mean all the team – thanks for changing time slot from 10.30 to 10.00pm, never miss it now. Just about the best comedy half hour during the week – no it is since Very Small Business had it’s last episode. Can’t wait for next Wednesday. kEEP THE MOCK ad’S COMING!!

    EDITOR: Have you watched “Stupid Stupid Men” on ABC Wednesday nights? Wayne Hope from “Very Small Business” is one of the main characters and its a very funny series

  15. I’ve enjoyed Newstopia quite a lot, it’s undeniably inspired by the brilliant Chris Morris and his series On The Hour, The Day Today and Brasseye which, tragically, have been denied to Australian TV audiences (some of the humour, particularly in Brasseye is would really push the censors). In fact the resemblance is so stark some jokes are almost lifted word for word, particularly in the first series, since then it has begun to find its own voice.

  16. Newstopia is mad and crazy the way I like it you don’t know whats coming next, the comedy would only be understood by the true Aussie, keep it up.

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