Australia’s silliest duffers, Aunty Donna, are currently conquering the world with their new Netflix special, Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun.
We don’t really do reviews here at Holding Steadfast anymore, but when I saw this pop up on Netflix, I knew I was going to have to dust off my thesaurus and my pretentious ‘reviewer’ glasses, and write this one up. If you haven’t heard of Aunty Donna before, well then brace yourself… you are going to hear a lot about them in the coming months.
Aunty Donna are an absurd sketch comedy group from Melbourne, Australia, who have developed a cult following over the last 8+ years due to their relentless pursuit to put out hilarious content, and their truly amazing live performances. Actually, I’m not even sure that the word ‘absurd’ really covers what the boys do. The material is friggin off-the-rails batshit donkey-dick crazy, and silly; you can’t describe them without calling them silly. The team consists of writers/performers Mark Bonanno, Broden Kelly and Zach Ruane, along with director/writer Sam Lingham, filmmaker Max Miller and composer Tom Armstrong. That’s about as much as I’ll go into their background, because I really want to get to the show itself.
When I first heard that Aunty Donna had scored a Netflix show – and was to film it in the US – I was unsure how it would play out. Would they be given free reign to engage in their usual silly stuff, or would an American network take a giant dump on their creativity and kill the spark? As far as I could see, they were given complete free reign to take their comedy as far as they could, with absolutely stunning results. The show itself doesn’t really have a running narrative, nor is it presented like a traditional sketch show. Each episode is essentially a very loose concept, that just bounces from one insane skit to another. Mark, Broden and Zach play themselves, as well as an array of wacky little cameo characters who all interreact with the main characters, often with very subtle and clever ‘tricks of the trade’ allowing the actors to play two characters in the one scene. And by clever tricks, I mean… well, sometimes it’s just a blank-faced mannequin.
I’m trying hard not to include too many spoilers here (although, how the hell could I even spoil this material?), but there are a few specific sketches I’d like to mention. Episode 1 opens up with one of the boy’s most famous sketches, the song “everything’s a drum!” I’ve seen this done probably four or five times now, but despite this skit being easily 5+ years old, they managed to find a level of freshness and newness in it that takes it to whole other level, and it’s such a powerful way to get this series going. The other sketch that has to be mentioned is the Ellen DeGeneres sketch, which I’ve just realised I don’t have the vocabulary to describe to you just how funny and absolutely outrageous it is. These are but two skits, in what is a barrage of funny from start to finish.
One of the things that makes me very ‘chuffed’ as an Australian (and specifically a Melbournian), are the countless amounts of obscure local references that would mean absolutely nothing to 95% of the audience watching. Crazy John’s Mobile, Car City Ringwood and the prizes from Lou’s Handball (Aquila shoes! They made an Aquila shoes reference!) are just some of the local delights to be found here. The silly songs, the silly faces, the over exaggerated characters, the hilarious running gags, the absurd use of cameos, the fart jokes and the dick jokes, are only beaten by the barrage of clever poo jokes. (Seriously, I’m not sure any show in history has ever used the word ‘poo’ so often.)
The world is inundated with content at the moment, and it’s hard to find something that stands out from the crowd. But I have no doubt that Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun would stand out among any crowd, at any time. I honestly thought that Four Seasons Landscaping was going to be the funniest thing to happen in 2020, but then this came along.
Get around this show, it’s funny, silly and it’s from some Melbourne boys. What’s not to like?
Haven’t you boys done well?
Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun is currently streaming on Netflix, check out the trailer here:
EDITORS NOTE: We don’t really do reviews on Holding Steadfast anymore, but you can still access our archive here.
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