Eagle Boys Pizza. Footy. Four N twenty cakes. Grant Denyer. “Stupid sausage.” Dogging ya pals. These words may not mean anything to you – unless you are Australian or are reading this after looking Aunt Donna’s great old house of fun.
The new Netflix comedy series is the lovably dark, filthy baby of beloved Australian comedy trio Aunty Donna, produced in LA late last year with a team that included executive producer Ed Helms and guest stars such as Paul F. Tompkins . Comedy bang bangScott Aukerman and Weird Al Yankovic. The basic premise is that Mark (Mark Bonanno), Zach (Zachary Ruane) and Broden (Broden Kelly) live and go on adventures together in one house, interviewing potential roommates and training them for the Olympics, the house for a visit from the Queen prepare and be sent on interdimensional espionage missions.
Some of the sketches come from their chaotic stage shows, like the key opening number “Everything’s A Drum” and their surreal interpretation Family disputes (moderated in Australia by the aforementioned Denyer, a toothy, non-threatening television goblin who is loved by mothers). There are also plenty of references for fans of her podcast and various YouTube series (The Creaky Door, The Cowdoy, Lord Whoopie).
The comedy absurdity isn’t particularly Australian itself – fans of Mr Show with Bob and David and Monty Pythons Flying Circus will be amazed by the non-consequences, the non-existent fourth wall, and the disposable moments aggressively driven into the ground. The trio once described their live shows as “” and they deliver a good chunk of their lines in the very pronounced cadence of a kindergarten teacher trying to explain a game. superior Pee-Wees Schauspielhaus with a touch of Flight of the conchords, but with a lot more jokes about sperm, a growing pile of bodies in the garbage outside, and a really inspired graphic spread of mimicked sex. The comical sensitivity is deeply silly and childish in the joyful tradition of the seventh grade clown. Butt and poop your pants are on funnyand they’re all the funnier here because the guys are Australians and say “bums” and “feces” instead.
That’s all to say that if you need to bathe in a comedy that isn’t based on tired Trump impressions or gloomy hilarious observations about how fucked 2020 was, ADBOHOF is just the ticket. But it tickles me even more that fans of for example Comedy bang bang might prepare, only to be confronted with wildly specific references to Australian culture that will soar majestically like a bald eagle over the heads of American viewers.
“It became a game for us, how many Australian references can we put on this show before the Netflix executives betray us,” Kelly told Mashable in one of the few direct responses I get in a 40- from the trio could. Minute zoom call. “And they never did.”
“There are more esoteric Australian references than ever before,” says Bonanno. “There’s shit in there that doesn’t even appeal to me as an Australian.”
One of the least obscure icons for a cameo is the humble meat pie, the one-year supply of which is part of a prize package Jerry Seinfeld (played by) offers the boys Dead PoolKaran Soni) because he’s the funniest ever. (It makes more sense, or maybe less, in context. It doesn’t really matter.) Mouth-brewed ground beef and gravy fill a puff pastry shell that is hand-held and eaten at sporting events or bent over the gutter. The end of a night is as Australian as it is Apple pie is American, but not surprisingly difficult to find in LA
“Our American art department had to get Four ‘N Twenty [brand] Cake sent from Australia, ”explains Kelly. “That’s why they look so manky, because they were frozen and crated across the ocean, because we wrote a stupid little thing.”
When Americans pay attention to Australia – whether it’s half the country that’s on fire or just a local kid who is doing well in Hollywood – people get a little overly excited. Seeing meat pies or commercial TV references on an internationally distributed and star-recommended sketch comedy show is exactly the opposite of that feeling: instead of the American gaze that lifts a humble Aussie onto the world stage, Aunt Donna’s references point to the Hoodoo Gurus and the now defunct mobile phone trading center Crazy John is America’s face.
Australian cultural identity is often shaped by two related forces of collective cynicism: cultural upheaval, the belief that we are inherently embarrassing, sticky, and inferior to the rest of the world, and poppy seed syndrome, the urge to be angry cut successful Aussies. It is both heartwarming and deeply funny to see icons of Australian mediocrity hitting the suburbs House of funPunchlines. Ruane’s awkward, screeching delivery of “THREE TOYOTA COROLLAS ?!” makes the “Ellen” sketch funny on its own, but there’s a special extra layer for anyone who knows that every car that appeared on Australian television between 1988 and 2002 was given away, appeared to be a Toyota Corolla.
“We used to go to Scotland [to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival] and we would change our references, ”says Kelly. “We had Scottish friends and we went through all the references and said, ‘What’s the equivalent of that?’ You know, Vegemite to Marmite, Grant Denyer to a pile of shit. “(That joke is quickly being dimmed by all three for fear of the wrath of Denyer’s legions of fans.)
“After a couple of years we found that people to like if they don’t understand, ”continues Kelly. “We’re the exotic from overseas – you can talk about it [morning TV host] Karl Stefanovic. And they say, “It’s so exotic and bizarre.” When you refer to Karl Stefanovic, it’s like sipping rum out of a pineapple or a coconut. That’s what it feels like ”
However, Aunt Donna’s attraction is universal. One of her best sketches, “Pud,” takes the familiar charade of last Christmas dinner and flips it over, the camera coming uncomfortably close as the boys repeat variations of “Cheeky Pud”. Voices that deepen into unearthly timbres and eyes that bulge. It’s the kind of sketch that digs its way into your lexicon immediately and pops up whenever the situation calls for it – as it turns out on the set of Amazon The young. Series leaders Jack Quaid and Anthony Starr each appear in one House of fun sketch; Quaid – a
– even recorded a theme song for Bonanno’s Twitch channel and appears to be responsible for his co-stars playing the trio.
I've been the biggest fan of @AuntyDonnaBoys for quite some time now. They're sketch comedy royalty. So the fact that I got to write a fun theme song for Mark Bonanno's @Twitch channel was a dream come true. Check it out. #AuntyDonna https://t.co/sm6SeyT1Kz— Jack Quaid (@JackQuaid92) September 17, 2020
“Homelander told us [Starr] and Jack Quaid – that’s their name, “says Kelly,” Karl Urban and Erin [Moriarty] and all actors always quote one of our sketches, ‘Pud’, on set. ”
“The picture of everyone on the set of The young Quoting ‘pud’ was almost too much for me, ”says Ruane. “That’s so stupid. This is a stupid thing. ”
Aunt Donna’s great old house of fun is now streamed on Netflix.
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