Looking forward to: Shaun Micallef's Newstopia

Shaun Micallef is a bit of a hero of mine - brilliant and hilarious and seemingly a genuinely decent person, he's been doing tv comedy in various capacities in Australia for more than 10 years.

This is why I was pretty happy this morning to read that he has a new news satire/review programme starting on SBS next Wednesday called Newstopia. The prospect of Micallef in some kind of Jon (The Daily Show) Stewart role gets the mind a-boggling.

There's a pretty decent interview with him about it in The Age today - here are a couple of quotes of note:
Firstly about the show -
Enter Newstopia. Screening every Wednesday after Anton Enus' World News Australia, the half-hour satire will take aim at politicians and other bigwigs, and at the way we see ourselves on the world stage. Are we part of Asia? The 51st state of the US? Or do we still cling to the apron strings of Mother England?

"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," Micallef says. "But we're desperately concerned about what the neighbours think of us."

His thoughts on John Howard (Oz Prime Minister, not his Seachange co-star) are an indicator of his insight:
"I've met him a couple of times and found him to be a man of enormous charm," he says. "His greatest strength is that everyone seemed to underestimate him. You can see how Kerry O'Brien's attitude towards him has changed over the past 10 years. He's getting on quite well with Howard now and even having a laugh. He understands he'll never break down that impenetrable wall. But if you get a crack, you've scored a point."

Not that he endorses Howard's spin-laden sound bites. "He's extremely conscious of how his words will read in the paper the next day. It's like he's always got one eye on that history book, on that series of biographies, which is not a great way to live. He's like a dad who watches his kids play through the viewfinder of a Handycam instead of engaging in the moment. But he's survived as a politician partly because he is so careful."

His work on his ABC programme - The Micallef Program is probably his best, here are just a couple of examples if you're wondering what the fuss is about