How the end of Tonightly led to The Moth Effect
Tom Ballard's ABC comedy may have been short-lived, but it helped bring a new sketch series to life.
It was after he was watching Tom Ballard’s ABC Comedy show Tonightly that Nick Boshier (Bondi Hipsters, Soul Mates, Beached Az) teamed up with writer / comedian Jazz Twemlow.
“It was a brilliant sketch that went very, very viral. Jazz was both the interviewer and half a dozen characters. I thought ‘Holy shit, this guy’s a phenomenal actor and a great storyteller. A clean, precise writer.’ So from that we met and bonded on what we liked and thought we should mind-meld and see if we could create a show together.
The Sydney duo have now given birth to new Amazon Prime sketch comedy, The Moth Effect.
The 6 part series unashamedly dives into a world of absurd and silliness, taking its title from the idea that moths are distracted by bright, shiny lights…. as people we’re often drawn to the biggest, loudest spectacle, even if it’s bad for us.
Twemlow says rather than a specific backdrop on its universe, it is the tone of the show that links sketches.
“There’s not really any recurring characters or worlds that we keep coming back to. Which I think is part of the fun of it. We did 25 shoot days, and had to come up with 25 different worlds each time.
“It’s a partly philosophical, partly satirical perspective that ties the whole thing together.”
Produced by Bunya Entertainment, the series is directed by Craig Anderson (Double the Fist, Review with Myles Barlow, Laid, Black Comedy) and Gracie Otto (Under the Volcano, The Other Guy, Bump).
It also features a Who’s Who of performers in supporting or cameo roles, including Bryan Brown, Vincent D’Onofrio, David Wenham, Jack Thompson, Miranda Otto, Ben Lawson, Peter O’Brien, Kate Box, Zoe Terakes, Miranda Tapsell, Mark Humphries and Jake Ryan.
“We’re unbelievably lucky,” says Boshier. “I think we we’e trading in no small part due to Bunya’s goodwill and the stuff they’ve done through Sophia Zachariou, David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin.
“Their goodwill opened the door for us and fortunately our writing was able to back it up, I believe. If not that, it was just them throwing us a bone!”
The show is still filming sketches in order to remain up to date as close as possible. They will sit alongside completed sketches including Angry Attenborough, Jen and Berry’s, Jesus and his Manager and Star Wars Fan.
Twemlow, who hopes to dabble in directing should it proceed to further seasons, is grateful the short life span of Tonightly led to some positives.
“It was really finding its feet towards the end. But I think that’s also because there is an end. But would that have happened if not?
“It’s like The Matrix where he knocks over the vase because she tells him not to.
“Would the show have gotten better if we didn’t know it’ was getting canceled. Who knows?”
There may be a sketch in that idea yet….
The Moth Effect screens weekly on Amazon Prime Video from Friday July 20