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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Morris

Aunty Donna's Top 15 Sketches - RANKED

This past week students and absurdist comedy fans everywhere rejoiced as Aunty Donna were finally brought up to the big boys’ table (and yes, that pun was intended!) thanks to the release of their Netflix original comedy series Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun. For those unfamiliar, Aunty Donna is a sketch comedy group from Australia featuring Mark Bonanno, Broden Kelly and Zachary Ruane as writer/performers, whilst writer/director Sam Lingham, filmmaker/director Max Miller and composer/writer Tom Armstrong work behind the scenes most of the time. They’ve had huge success with their live touring performances globally, from Edinburgh and London to North America, as well as multiple sketch series’ on Youtube and a self-titled comedy album. Ooh, haven’t they done well?

But chances are, you knew all that.

Chances are you’re already between re-watches of Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun and don’t need convincing to watch it because you know how to enjoy life and have a good time without the need to have snooty 20-somethings on the internet tell you what to do through listicles that live and die by an unseen algorithm. Except now you look even deeper and find that this isn't even an established website but a personal one, and that every click here fuels someone's ego like a drop in the ocean. Chances are this isn't how you saw your day going...

Well good, because this isn’t a list that’s trying to convince you. Oh no no no, this is a list attempting to rank the group’s 15 best online sketches to prove, once and for all, whether Cumsults makes the cut.

But wait! I hear you shout; comedy is a subjective artform and therefore is free from broad rankings and comparison with others of its kind! That’s very true. One man’s Mr. Bull is another man’s Roll Call and even though you may have developed an affinity for Mr. Bull and continuously bother the boys themselves about the character’s future after cutting up a dog’s bed to make homemade hoofs in order to cosplay as the character during Halloween of 2016 (and many times since) you shouldn’t let your preferences get in the way.

That’s why we’re going to be ranking the sketches based on five distinct criteria. Ones that seem to be thematically (and somewhat tenuously) linked between all of the boys’ work:

1) Quotability – part of what makes Aunty Donna sit comfortably in the same league as previous ‘alternative comedy’ masters is their inherent ability to sneak into the everyday vernacular of their fans. This goes hand in hand with re-watchability, too.

2) Irreverence – just because they’re absurdist doesn’t mean that each sketch comes from a place of nonsensical lunacy. No, instead irreverence can come from either concept or the characters’ reactions to their situations. The boys are pretty good performers so expect them to perform highly here.

3) Can I make friends to it? – It’s an age-old question for sure, but an important one. Will I be able to make friends to the sketch in question?

4) Is Adrian Dean in it? – Now a hotshot doctor after leaving the group, I often wonder when watching and re-watching sketches if he’s in them. This criteria will solve that one for sure.

5) Parody – My mum doesn’t really understand the strange and weird comedy so many young people out there enjoy right now, but she loves a good parody because there’s something to hold on to. Could I therefore show this to her without her judging me whilst avoiding the topic of asking me about my sexuality?

Please not that these criteria are, again, personally chosen and therefore won’t resemble your experience with Aunty Donna’s work. Please remember these are just for sketches too. No podcast episodes, interview appearances or live annual award shows that I think are also hilarious. Just sketches. God, how many times do I even have to fucking say it?

Just for the sake of fairness, I’m also excluding Always Room for Christmas Pud because of its ridiculous popularity. It’s not even close. It surpasses every criteria with flying colours. Even Adrian Dean’s in it (I assume he plays the role of the pud in question, I’ve been unable to get an answer on this).

With all that out of the way it's time to get on with the list! So sit back with a muggachini (maybe some focaccia), tuck yourself up nice and warm in the kiln and don't forget to bother Joe Kosky as we dive into the top 15 Aunty Donna sketches!

15) Bikie Wars

Everybody knows Bikie Wars, in fact, it was close to getting excluded much like Christmas Pud. This cheeky musical ode to biker gang members promoting gun safety was played in schools across Australia, thus ending the growing friction between Adelaide and Gold Coast. Thanks, Aunty Donna!

Quotability – 5/5

Irreverence – 4/5

Can I make friends to it? – 3/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Yes, he plays the titular ‘Bikie War’

Parody – 2/5 (Mum fell asleep)

14) Man Grieves Over Dead Wife. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

It was a brave choice for Aunty Donna to produce a biographical drama on the life on John Chapman, whose wife died from an allergic reaction to Indian takeaway. It was even more brave of them to include the polarising pun-based-grieving that Chapman became hounded by the media for. Not many people would present the whole story in such a way, and it’s a testament to the group’s integrity that they didn’t shy away from the more risqué parts of the story. That Dr. Cum was fucking out of order though…

Quotability – 4/5

Irreverence – 1/5 (It’s biographical)

Can I make friends to it? – 3/5?

Is Adrian Dean in it? – at about 0:36 I think I can see him. It looks like Mark but it’s definitely Adrian.

Parody - ?/5 (My mum wouldn’t watch because the Chapman case was close to her heart)

13) Cresps

Cresps is difficult because it exists online as part of a two-parter. The first is a wonderful jaunty tale about four boys eating crisps. The second doesn’t exist. I repeat: DO NOT WATCH THE SECOND PART OF THIS SKETCH. ONLY THE SEGMENT WITH CRISPS IS PART OF THIS LIST. I WILL FIND OUT WHERE YOU LIVE. I HAVE THAT POWER.

Quotability – 5/5 (crisps)

Irreverence – 5/5

Can I make friends to it? – 4/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Unfortunately, this is one of the first sketches shot after his departure so no.

Parody – 0/5 (My mum doesn’t like crisps)

12) Haven’t You Done Well 6: $30 Bottle of Wine – Trendy Ep05

The biggest budget for an Aunty Donna sketch thus far. Mark and Zach’s reckless spending aside, this entry in their Haven’t You Done Well series deals with the likes of immortality, the Australian political climate, and regret from sticking that fucking cake in your mouth.

Quotability – 2/5 (Not many of us could afford a $30 bottle of wine)

Irreverence – 5/5 (The audacity of spending that much on wine)

Can I make friends to it? – 5/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Are you a fucking idiot? Of course he is. He’s right there.

Parody – 4/5 (Great parody)

11) Charlie’s Salami – Ripper Aussie Summer Ep03

This sketch is very good. Here in the UK however it’s important to remember that *** means something completely different in Australia. The fact that the boys clearly put ***** up alongside the word *** dictates that they’re in no way talking about *** in the derogatory fashion. This should be made abundantly clear. *** is funny.

Quotability – 5/5 (Just don’t say it here)

Irreverence – 0/5 (I’ve yet to taste Charlie’s Salami so can’t comment)

Can I make friends to it? – 2/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – He has a cameo, yes.

Parody – 2/5 (Mum laughed at the word *** and I got concerned)

10) Tony The Tea Towel Man – Aunty Donna’s Rumpus Room! Ep07

Aunty Donna is hardly ever subtle, but Tony the Tea Towel Man offers just the one joke, expertly told, offered in a hushed tone to the point where you may even miss it among the strength of the performances. When Tea Towel door-to-door salesman Tony is talking about a ‘beautiful floral design’ he in fact holds up a monochrome chequered tea towel! It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment that will definitely go down in the boys’ history!

Quotability – 3/5

Irreverence – 0/5 (We all use tea towels)

Can I make friends to it? – 5/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Not this time.

Parody – 5/5 (Mum uses tea towels a lot ‘hey, get outta the kitchen, mum!’)

9) A Cheeky Tea Break – 1999 Ep07

It’s unfortunate that Aunty Donna’s 1999 webseries did so poorly, it was really quite something. I can’t believe it’s their lowest-viewed series. Hey. Do you guys remember Wrong Turn starring Eliza Dushku? You know the 2003 cannibal mutant horror film? Do you know there’s seven of them now? That’s insane. Of course, like most horror franchises they went straight to DVD after the original but I hear there’s some merit to the series as a whole. I might have to look into it…

Quotability – 5/5

Irreverence – 0/5 (Too cheeky)

Can I make friends to it? – 2/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Yes. He does the mo-cap for Ned Kelly, Australia’s most notorious Bush Ranger. He holds up banks and seeks revenge for his ma, locked away in a prison cell.

Parody – 05/ (In Britain, this is exactly how we drink tea)

8) Jambalam: Exciting New App! – BEST CONTENT EVER!!1! Ep01

Hot off the grill this unique and targeted takedown of both start-up companies and the emergence of vegan dietary options lead the boys to one of their best creations yet – a new visionary app entitled Jambalam.

Quotability – 0/5 (I can’t find the app)

Irreverence – 0/5 (Did it get taken down?)

Can I make friends to it? – 0/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – One word. Jambalam (yes).

Parody – 0/5 (Like I said I’ve tried everything. Still can’t find it. I don’t wanna say they were lying, but-)

7) CHUFFED (DAD SONG) – Music Video #1 / Aunty Donna – The Album

The first single and music video off their self-titled debut comedy album in 2018, Chuffed builds off of the pre-existing tendency for Broden to assume the masculine ‘dad’ character of the group thanks to his appearance and deep, booming voice. From there it lists a number of common associations with dad culture, humorously putting them to a rap beat that such dads would typically disapprove of.

Quotability – 5/5

Irreverence – 3/5 (Dads)

Can I make friends to it? – 4/5

Is Adrian Dead in it? – Were you even watching? Yes.

Parody – 5/5 (Mum really enjoyed this one. Says ‘why can’t there be more like this and less screaming ones?’)

6) The School Nurse: A Special Report

Michelle Brasier’s just one of the boys. But this time she’s a school nurse. There’s a lot of leeway for high-concept, short character work here, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the boys recreate the scenario for some kind of streaming platform when given a larger budget…

Quotability – 5/5

Irreverence – 5/5 (In my school the nurse didn’t look like Michelle, so this is all new to me)

Can I make friends to it? – 3/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Several times.

Parody – 4/5 (During this one mum went to make a cup of tea so I had to assume she’d like it)

5) Social Media IRL

I don’t like this one. It scares me. And Sam is in it 10 times. That’s a lot of Sams.

Quotability - ?/5

Irreverence – 0/5 (If anything it’s TOO relatable)

Can I make friends to it? – 2/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Yes, and Sam is in it 10 times.

Parody – 2/5 (Piczo is the most accurate one)

4) Wild Bear Attack

After experimenting with absurd improvised comedy, the boys dipped their toe into animal wrangling briefly. I’m not sure exactly how they got the bear to act like this, but it’s the most I’ve ever been turned on by a bear since Disney’s Brother Bear in 2003 – which was released just six months after Wrong Turn starring Eliza Dushku. What a year for cinema that was. I hope Eliza Dushku is still getting steady work.

Quotability – 2/5 (The bear needs subtitles)

Irreverence – 0/5 (Due to his death, this is Mark’s final appearance in Aunty Donna)

Can I make friends to it? – 5/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Oh yes, and what a meaty role he plays.

Parody – 1/5 (Mum looked me dead in the eyes and asked when I was going to get a job)

3) Breakfast Goat

Hearing the evolution of this idea was a treat for fans of The Aunty Donna Podcast (Powered by Patreon). After lamenting the genesis of the idea there, the boys then tested it out via shadow puppetry but, upon losing their abilities to cast shadows after their 27th birthdays that plan had to be scrapped too. You wouldn’t have thought such an idea would go through rigorous testing would you? Well, that’s because you’re an idiot. This is Breakfast Goat.

Quotability – 5/5 (I say ‘hello’ all the time)

Irreverence – 3/5

Can I make friends to it? – 5/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – I don’t want to assume but I think that’s him as the titular goat.

Parody – 5/5 (Mum left.)

2) Ellen (or: A Parody of the Television Show Ellen) – Live at the Enmore Ep01

So you think that Aunty Donna just do filmed sketches do you? Well you obviously didn’t read the introduction chapter, fucko! This sketch manages to be an amalgamation of each and every element I associate with Aunty Donna, wrapped in a clean package that leaves newcomers wanting more.

Quotability – 5/5 (I call myself Ellen DeGeneres all the time)

Irreverence – 5/5

Can I make friends to it? – 5/5

Is Adrian Dean in it? – Yes, it’s live so he has to be.

Parody – 5/5 (It’s IN the title, dumbass)

Ooh isn’t this exciting? We’re so close to number one already! Well before we do that unfortunately we do have a DISHONORABLE mention (like the ones in those negative Watchmojo lists)…

DISHONORABLE MENTION – Subway Crisis Meeting re. Jared Fogle

This isn’t an Aunty Donna boys sketch. It’s clearly an episode of The West Wing and some leftist propaganda rushed together to cover up the fact that Subway paid a known paedophile over $10 million whilst he was their spokesperson. This kind of content swapping I just won’t stand for. To advertise this hard-hitting journalism as a comedy sketch is a lie. And Aunty Donna, I expected better of you. You’ve let me down. The integrity which you’ve built up over the previous fourteen sketches would have been enough for you to have me on board for the rest of my years on this Earth and yet? Here I am, now doubting myself because you guys couldn’t keep it in your fucking pants. I’m surprised you’re still working. And if I had my way you’d have been sent away a long time ago. Just like the way Subway’s spokesperson managed to dodge prison time for so long after being paid over $10 million between 2000 and 2015.

And now for the best ever sketch from those glorious, wonderful, magnificent boys…

1) Mr. Moustache Man

If you had to ask me which sketch featured perfect performances from every member of the group? It’d be Mr. Moustache Man. Zach, Broden and Mark are on top form in front of the camera. Sam’s writing has never been sharper. Max’s cinematography is top notch and Tom’s unique musical cues bring it all together. I very much look forward to Big Ol’ House of Fun’s spinoff focusing on the character’s store in Carrum Downs

Quotability – 5/5

Irreverence – 5/5

Can I make friends to it? – 5/5

Is Adrian Dead in it? – Yes, as the French Mademoiselle

Parody – 5/5 (I have trouble growing moustaches so this is right up my alley)

And that's about it!

Special thanks to my mum for helping me with (most) of these. Remember they are all just opinion, but in a way, isn't opinion also fact? And don't I look like the type of person who knows what he's talking about?

Aunty Donna's Big Ol' House of Fun is now available to stream on Netflix. It's fucking great.

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Always remember to take 10 minutes out of your day to keep up to date with the news that doesn't get sent directly to your phone. Keep yourselves armed in conversation against idiocy.

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Thank you for reading, everyone.

Stay safe.

See you next week.


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