Mark Samual Bonanno, Zachery Ruane: ‘Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun’
“It’s upsettingly silly,” declares Mark Samual Bonanno about the sketch comedy series “Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun.” Zachery Ruane from the show adds, “If you have had a tough day, if you have had to think a lot, or you are stressed about the world, we are trying to be something that is the opposite of that.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
The Netflix sketch series is created by the Australian absurdist comedy group “Aunty Donna.” Bonanno, Ruane and Broden Kelly are the members that star in the series. Director Max Miller,composer Tom Armstrong and producer Sam Lingham complete the group. They first garnered attention through viral comedy videos on YouTube. Ruane explains, “We’ve been doing sketch together as an ensemble for nearly 10 years. When we got to this show, we’d done two pilots, a lot of online stuff and created and toured with five or six live shows. Bonanno says the series is “the silliest thing we have ever made.”
“House of Fun’s” sketch comedy is based on the group’s ‘sandbox’ approach. Bonanno reveals, “The idea of creating sketch in a sandbox originally came from only having a weekend and $1000 we put in ourselves. We could only really do something that was shot in a single room. The web series ‘1999’ (2015) was the first time we were given a decent amount of money to make something. Rather than make four sketches that all had different locations, we figured we could make 10 if we did them all in one office. We had to milk and mine that single location until it was down to its bare bones. It’s exciting to put yourself in that box because you come up with ideas that you wouldn’t come up with if you didn’t.” Ruane adds, “in most sketch comedy you jump around lots of different places. Most of the sketches we do has a small group of characters interacting in that one place.”
Each episode of “Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun” also has it’s sketches centered around a particular theme with a connected opening and closing. Ruane says, “We try to tie the sketches together in kind of a gut way. Do something that feels like a plot in every way but intellectual. Something that gives you a feeling of structured sitcom, but the weirdest structured sitcom you’ve seen in your whole life.”