SHAUN Micallef always thought a quiz show host to be the lowest form of life in television until someone pointed out to him that Groucho Marx did You Bet Your Life.
“I thought if it was good enough for Groucho, it was good enough for me,” Micallef said.
“I don’t do it so much now but if you watch the early episodes of Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, I am just doing Groucho; walking and talking like him. I think I channelled him a bit because it was my way of coping and then eventually I found my own voice after a couple of seasons.
“I have never had any real foresight on what I’d be doing next in this business. So when I was doing Milo on Full Frontal or whatever it was, I was living from day to day and never thought anything would lead to anything.”
The original Channel 10 TV series that celebrated three generations through a competition of questions and games went on a six-year hiatus before Channel 9 revamped it this year with a new generation category (Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z) and new team captains (Robyn Butler, Andy Lee and Laurence Boxhall).
There was also meant to be a new host but when Micallef was asked to help with captain auditions (by the same production company making Micallef’s Mad As Hell) he had too much fun.
“Even though I wouldn’t have considered it otherwise, this is different enough to warrant doing again and I don’t feel like I’m trying to repeat myself,” baby boomer Micallef said.
“I do spend a lot of the time just sitting there laughing at what’s going on, which is very unprofessional of me but I’m genuinely amused by what everyone else is doing.
“Not too much depends on it and that’s fun to watch because cooking that flan is so serious on Channel 10 and people are weeping at the very prospect of what this will mean for them. This is deliberately not serious and I think it’s a nice antidote.”
Filmed at Docklands Studios Melbourne, the father of three Gen Zs has been reunited with comedy partner Butler (Micallef Tonight, Welcher and Welcher) and Lee after guesting on Hamish and Andy while he is getting to know Boxhall who is studying at NIDA.
He said his lack of pop culture knowledge meant he had no input with the questions but did sometimes generate segment titles and game ideas.
“I tend to have a pass over the script if there are things I have to do and might rejig it, but often that’s chucked out on the night as we’re going,” Micallef said.
“People work hard to write 10 questions and then sometimes they’re never used because it hasn’t gone as planned. We just save it for next season.”
Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation airs on Channel 9, Mondays at 7.30pm.
“My middle boy is doing Year 12 so it’s a very serious year for him and he’ll watch the repeat on Saturday at 7pm. We encourage that but we encourage everyone else to watch it on Mondays at 7.30pm, otherwise the ratings don’t count,” he said.