Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun

Resistance is useless. Don't look for logic in Aussie trio's absurd new sketch show on Netflix.

Anarchic, absurdist, loud and very funny….

Welcome to Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun, a Californian bungalow where all bets are off between three housemates, Mark Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane.

Three Aussie hipster comedians, who have previously featured as part of ABC’s Fresh Blood and Google’s Skip Ahead initiatives. now have their own sketch series for Netflix.

Filmed in the US, no less, the sketches centre around their rental where comedy, song and physical humour are unleashed. There’s no real storyline per se, unless you count evicting a dishwasher and looking for pirate treasure as such, and many of the sketches collide with one another without resolution. None of that matters when you have already checked logic at the door and fly without a comedy safety net.

In the first episode the song “Everything’s a Drum” leads to a singing dishwasher thrown out on the street for not paying rent, followed by a parade of bizarre tenant interviews: everyone from Camouflage Santa to puppet Randy (sans Sammy J). Mark, Broden and Zachary are demented in equal measure and flit in and out of chameleon characters at breakneck speed. Resistance is useless…

Also in the first episode is a visit from not-Seinfeld, extreme names for wifi networks, Stray Man and a Family Feud parody. By episode two the nonsense ramps up to a “Morning Brown” song, vox pops gone wrong, South African Booty Hunters and an endless Ellen DeGeneres giveaway.

There’s no attempt to justify the Australians-in-LA premise, but nor does it matter. References to Four n Twenty Pies, Grant Denyer, footy and Car City Ringwood may go over the heads of a global audience, but work as a bit of an Easter Egg down under.

There are also a few guest cameos Ed Helms (The Hangover, The Office) who is also an exec producer, Weird Al Yankovic, Tawny Newsome (Space Force, Star Trek: Lower Decks), Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers, Flight of the Conchords), and Paul F. Tomkins (Bojack Horseman) -they all take a back seat to the seditious comedy in the foreground.

It’s also nicely shot and beautifully lit, whether breaking the fourth wall or slamming into it.

Keep up this kind of kaleidoscopic farce and Aunty Donna may well be the new Chris Lilley.

Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun is now screening on Netflix.

3 Responses

  1. Was really delighted how well existing sketches translated to this format. Hopefully it finds an audience in international markets and more seasons are commissioned. If it’s a success, wonder how ABC will be feeling, granted, they were probably right in not pursuing their Fresh Blood pilot ~ AD’s audience are probably far more *online* than Wednesdays at 9pm.

    Nice to continue to see Netflix commission absurdist comedy, following ‘I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson’

    Can see Cowdoy becoming this show’s Baby Yoda.

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