Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun review – a difficult-to-classify comedy series

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 11, 2020 (Last updated: February 13, 2024)
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Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun review – a difficult-to-classify comedy series


Who knows what to make of Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun? But that kind of difficult-to-classify surreality is the selling point of this oddball Netflix comedy series.

There’s something very New Media about Aunty Donna, the absurdist Australian comedy troupe who met in drama school, cut their teeth on live stages and then leapt from a mega-popular YouTube channel to the mainstream on Netflix with their new, difficult-to-define comedy series Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun.

Moments ago, I mentioned in another review that one of the benefits of Netflix is how it platforms niche content for a global audience – that remains very true here, with Aunty Donna’s surrealist fusion of sitcom and sketch show that is like a lot of things but couldn’t be reasonably compared to any. If there was anywhere this kind of product could exist aside from Netflix, it’s YouTube, where it already exists in a sense. The path from one to the other is typical of our new always-online media culture, where a video shared on Reddit can catch the eye of big-deal U.S. producers, and a thoroughly weird group of Australian nonconformists could be given a global opportunity.

Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun isn’t something that suits the word “refined”, but it’s certainly the result of iteration after a Stateside live tour and lots of tweaking pitches for the benefit of production companies. It retains an essential underlying madness and creative freedom but boasts the benefits of Netflix’s deep pockets and access to talent. There has always been – and will forever remain – a market for gonzo silliness, but there isn’t always a platform for it, especially not in the halcyon days of network television dominance and a stifling studio system. This is no longer the case, and with the level of freedom afforded by a market-dominating entity like Netflix, Aunty Donna is able to divide a truly global audience with their own peculiar brand of madness and idiosyncrasy.

There is a substantial portion of Netflix’s audience that will hate this series, but you have to admire its commitment both to its own identity and to breaking down expectations around what comedy should look and feel like. By design, it isn’t for everyone, but thanks to the world we live in, everyone can get to see it if they want to – and wherever you stand on Aunty Donna, you have to agree that’s the way it should be.

Netflix, TV Reviews
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