Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe

Baristas of comedy Aunty Donna serve up fresh ideas and nonsense-on-toast in their new ABC comedy.

BYO reuseable laughter when you enter Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe, a madcap new comedy from the troupe who first hit TV screens as part of ABC’s Fresh Blood initiative in 2015.

Since that debut the trio have garnered an international fanbase from comedy tours and a Netflix series, Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun. Their humour hurls itself at you, without explanation, and we are better for it.

Mark Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane are now baristas of comedy running their hipster Morning Brown cafe, a trendy overpriced destination for inner-city Melburnians in an over-crowded market. There’s avo on toast, cafe merchandise, dairy-free milk of the platypus, and mags with hot goss on Bec & Lleyton Hewitt.

What’s missing are cool customers, or really any to speak of. So Mark, Broden & Zach, forever playing anarchic, heightened versions of themselves, embark on a new mission to attract them, as explained to new teen employee Stephanie (Gaby Seow).

But their induction falls short of anything a HR department would approve of, detouring into all manner of surreal multiple characters, musical numbers, cameos, and cockamamie comedy. Inspired by social media clips of cafes with trendy hooks, the boys workshop ideas to attract clientele: Robot waiters? Cafes with cats? Staff insulting customers?

As workplace comedies go, absurdist jokes come thick and fast, eclipsed by the next punchline barely before the last has settled. Director Max Miller and writer Sam Lingham keep the ball in the air, having worked long-term with Aunty Donna.

Resistence is futile, check your logic at the door and go with the cameos from such folk as Nazeem Hussain and Stephen Oliver as a hilarious Pied Piper. Supporting cast also include Sally-Anne Upton as the boy’s landlord, Michelle Brasier as a regular customer and Vidya Rajan as The Nameless One, described as ‘more of an off putting spectre than a human being.’

Other episodes will feature Richard Roxburgh (as Rake), Pia Miranda, Shaun Micallef, Miranda Tapsell, Tony Martin, Melanie Bracewell & Sam Pang.

It all makes for an entertaining nonsense, that reminds us why ABC Comedy still leads the genre, backing original voices and risky ideas rather than replicating traditional tropes.

9pm Wednesday on ABC.

9 Responses

  1. I really want the show to succeed but felt it was a series of set pieces which, while humorous, were repetitive. Future episodes require more anarchic ‘Young Ones’ style interactions with customers, health inspectors etc.

  2. Watched ep 1 out of a mix of first episode curiosity and sheer laziness. Not impressed. I realise that — seemingly — puts me in the minority. Barely cracked a smile. Won’t be rushing to see ep 2.

      1. Attack of the hipster dufuses-I only last 20 mins before losing interest and switching channels-also wont be back-it must have lost a large part of the lead in audience judging by the ratings numbers listed here.

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