The show must go on… but what if it doesn’t?

Bad news for anyone who likes political satire served with a dose of To chase movies and a dose of American East Coast humor. Shaun Micallef’s ABC show crazy as hell ceases to be after the current series airs. The big man, self-declared on Twitter that, as he will soon be turning 60, he felt it was time to give the hip young cats a try. This seems at first glance a rather conventional thing to do. More the lawyer he was than the interpreter he has become.

Personal disappointment aside at the demise of the best Aussie comedy show I’ve ever seen, it made me reflect on the difficulties and pressures associated with lifting the curtain on (at least) some of her career.

One of the impressive aspects of crazy as helland one of the main reasons for its success has been the brilliant ensemble cast that Micallef has assembled, most often featuring: Francis Greenslade, Roz Hammond, Veronica Milsom, Tosh Greenslade, Emily Taheny, Stephen Hall, Nicholas Bell, Molly Daniels, Ming-Zhu Hii, Michelle Brasier and Christie Whelan Browne.

Shaun Micallef will step down as host of Mad As Hell after the current season.

I’m sure it wouldn’t have been easy to tell the cast that the show in its current form is coming to an end. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if some of these talented actors had fears for their future. Having a relatively high profile is not a guarantee of future work, indeed, in my experience of working with artists and sportspeople, it can sometimes be a hindrance.

Others often assume they are well-connected and affluent, so they don’t need a helping hand. It might seem embarrassing (but it shouldn’t be) for any of us to ask for help, but for someone in the public eye it can be doubly so because it can feel that she somehow squandered a position that many envy.

Oddly, some cast buddies shrugged and pointed out that it’s far from an unusual experience to find yourself out of work when the show ends or your character is written out of the show.

Consider the recent disappearance of Neighbors, or stage shows – even the best of them come to an end. Of course, the longer the show lasts, ironically, the harder it can be for performers to adapt and move on. In that regard, it may not be different from most other jobs. We settle into routines and with that, if we’re not careful, complacency can set in.

We get out of practicing job search skills like auditions, applications, interviews, and networking. We are all at risk of being pigeonholed into roles we have held for a long time. This can be fine provided such roles are in demand and we appreciate them. This can be problematic if they are not or if we desire a change.

I guess there are talks about continuing the program in some form to keep the cast together. If correct, that seems very consistent with having the same cast for so long. Many retired business owners (at least the most decent ones) will recognize the desire to ensure that their staff and colleagues are treated well when they take their own departure. It’s a reminder that being in the spotlight can be a very insecure way to earn a living.

Jim Bright, FAPS is Professor of Education and Career Development at ACU and owns Bright and Associates, a career management consultancy. Send an e-mail to [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DrJimBright

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