|Written by||Matt Cameron|
|Directed by||Adrian Dellevergin|
|Presented by||Shaun Micallef|
|Voices of||Pete Smith|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Todd Abbott|
|Running time||approx 60 minutes (plus commercials)|
|Original network||Nine Network|
|Picture format||16:9 576i|
|Original release||12 May –|
4 August 2003
Micallef Tonight was a short-lived Aria Award-winning Australian variety show that aired on the Nine Network in 2003. It was hosted by comedian Shaun Micallef and also featured the talents of Francis Greenslade, Jason Geary, Livinia Nixon and Pete Smith.
Much like a typical variety show, each episode of Micallef Tonight featured a number of interviews with celebrities bookended by regular segments (such as "Shaun on his High Horse", which featured Micallef ranting against pop culture while straddling a gymnast vaulting horse) and a musical performance. However at times the show also delved into the realm of parody, such as introducing guest Jamie Durie with a long-winded opening only to dismiss him immediately afterwards since there was nothing left to discuss, and requesting that guest Alison Whyte hold an inflatable fish while Micallef himself danced on his desk, in an otherwise unrelated interview.
Other in-show shenanigans included stealing musical guest Delta Goodrem's shoes as she played the piano, deliberately leaving actress Melissa George, live via satellite from Hollywood, on hold for over five minutes (she had guest starred in a supersized episode of Friends earlier that night, effectively delaying the broadcast of Micallef Tonight by several minutes), and requesting singers insert random words in to their musical performances to prove they weren't lip-synching. Notable examples were David Campbell inserting the word "lamington" into his performance and Amiel inserting the word "dolphinarium".
Micallef would end each episode with the line "See you in the Monkey House Australia!" and the show would usually close with a musical performance from Greenslade that was never quite what the audience expected; such as a rendition of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" played on the guitar.
Micallef previously parodied the variety show format with 1998's The Micallef Program.
|01||12 May 2003||Barry Humphries, Kath & Kim, Jamie Durie, Dannii Minogue, Sigrid Thornton, $10.90 Chicken Parmigiana|
|02||19 May 2003||Gary Sweet, Bridie Carter, Gérard Depardieu, Shakaya|
|03||26 May 2003||Alison Whyte, Shane Warne, David Campbell|
|04||2 June 2003||Jimeoin, Melissa George, Erik Thomson, The Whitlams, Jose Feliciano, $10.90 Chicken Parmigiana|
|05||9 June 2003||Judith Lucy, Matt Welsh, Warren & Gavin (The Block), Percy Sledge, Kerri-Anne Kennerley|
|06||16 June 2003||Delta Goodrem, Ben Elton, George Gregan, Matt Welsh|
|07||23 June 2003||Caroline Craig, John McEnroe, Amiel, Shane Crawford, Rhonda Burchmore|
|08||30 June 2003||Dave Hughes, Anthony LaPaglia, Birtles Shorrock Goble,|
|09||7 July 2003||Craig David, Marcus Graham, Nicole Livingstone, David Bridie|
|10||14 July 2003||Mick Molloy, Bob Franklin, Judith Lucy, Amity Dry, Blair McDonough|
|11||21 July 2003||Michael McKean, Seann William Scott, Todd Woodbridge, Placebo, Simon Tedeschi, Dave Graney, Clare Moore, Bad Eggs Orchestra|
|12||28 July 2003||Clive James, Tony Martin, The Superjesus,|
|13||4 August 2003||Ricky Martin, Keith Urban, Dave O'Neil, The Dandy Warhols|
The series premiered on 12 May 2003 and thirteen episodes were aired. The first episode rated strongly and although ratings declined steadily thereafter, it was announced in June 2003 that the series would be extended for a further 20 weeks.
Episode 12 (28 July) included a segment involving a midget hassling random restaurant patrons; after it screened, guest Tony Martin pointed out that the last show he had been involved in which featured the same midget actor -- (The Mick Molloy Show) -- had been axed. In an example of history repeating itself, Micallef Tonight was cancelled the following week. In addition, on an earlier episode during a live cross to promote the movie Bad Eggs, a visibly intoxicated Mick Molloy warned Micallef to "watch (his) arse" when he learned that the show was on the Nine Network.
Micallef ended his series with an interview with Ricky Martin in which both he and Martin used an expletive on live television, then called channel Nine live on air to complain about the language used on his show. Ironically, the interview was pre-recorded in the previous week to fit in with Martin's schedule, a fact alluded to by both Micallef and comedian Dave O'Neil during the actual live segments of the episode.
At the conclusion of what ended up being the final show, Micallef said that band The Dandy Warhols would be on the next week's show. The camera cut to the band on stage, ready to perform. Micallef informed the band that it was the next week they were meant to be on.
Similarly to the equally short-lived The Mick Molloy Show (also shown on Nine), Micallef Tonight was ostensibly cancelled because of dwindling ratings, in this case against fellow comedian Andrew Denton's interview series Enough Rope. In a memorable parody, whilst Dannii Minogue was performing on Shaun's show, the camera cut to him only to see Shaun watching Andrew Denton's show (which aired simultaneously on another channel).
Critics also claimed that the show may have been too sophisticated for most audiences on the notoriously "mainstream" Nine Network, and was an acquired taste. Others have said that part of the axing was due to a segment which made fun of Alan Jones' morning message segment on the Australian Today show. The segment began with one video on screen then became two, then four, then eight, then sixteen, and so on until it reached dozens and although nothing said was comprehensible, they all ended at the same time with 'I'm Alan Jones'. This segment apparently angered Channel Nine owner Kerry Packer (who was also a close friend of Jones), and he ordered the show to be axed after less-than-impressive ratings for what turned out to be the final episode.
At the time of its airing, the show was critically acclaimed and became a cult favorite, even having followers internationally due to its irreverent humor and absurdity.
The Micallef Tonight show was released on DVD as a "best of" compilation, that included some un-aired material. The Expurgated Micallef Tonight: The Very Best of Shaun Micallef's Short-Lived but Brilliant Tonight Show was released through Shock on 26 November 2007. On 19 October 2008 the DVD release won an ARIA Award for best comedy release. The DVD included a commentary track on part of the contents, featuring Micallef and guest Tony Martin (who appeared in episode 12 and also in the un-aired pilot).
The DVD is also available as part of the DVD box set The Collected Shaun Micallef which was released in 2011 by Shock Records. The set features 10 discs, containing The Expurgated Micallef Tonight, The Incompleat Shaun Micallef (highlights of his work on Full Frontal) and all three seasons of The Micallef Program as well as a bonus audio CD His Generation.