The 100th episode of Jono and Ben airs tonight on TV3, so we asked the cast and writers to share their favourite sketches from the last 99 shows.
Robbie Magasiva in NeXt Actor, the segment involves us controlling a celebrity through an earpiece while they pretend to work in a store. The first one we did with Robbie Magasiva in Countdown proved we were onto a winning segment, especially as it involved us hiding away in a back store room while celebs looked like idiots to the general public. It’s gone pretty nuts online, or as viral as something can go in New Zealand anyway.
We managed to get ourselves on the famous red chair segment on Graham Norton in London. Jono lasted less than 10 seconds before getting flipped off the chair by Seth McFarlane from Family Guy, while I told a story about accidentally putting super glue in my granddad’s eye. I proved I was the winner for the Red Chair even if I am no longer popular with my family!
Personally the most I’ve laughed is when I spoke to Saeed Ghandhari, the kiwi who dreams of being the first man on Mars through a reality tv competition. Even watching it back two years later it’s hard to believe it was real. We talked about how great it would be to die on Mars, and how his wife wasn’t that keen on him dying on Mars. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever been a part of, which is saying a lot.
This is one of my favourite sketches I’ve been in. I came into the office the day after Adele dropped ‘Hello’ and Eli said “yo, we should parody this.” I wasn’t convinced at first – I thought maybe the song was too slow to make funny – but after watching the video on repeat for an hour I turned back to him and said “yeah, lets do this.” Once we decided it was about someone drunk calling, it flowed out rather quickly. I probably have a bit too much experience in this topic… And Eli has a bit too much past experience watching me.
By the afternoon it was approved and I was recording it in our voice booth. It wasn’t till I was about to record I thought… ‘oh shit, I actually have to try sing like effing Adele’. Luckily Jamie Lineham, who was recording it with me, coached me through it. After many goes at belting in our not so soundproof office, we had a track. Because we jumped on it so fast it, we were pretty much (as far as our internet sleuthing skills go) the first to parody ‘Hello’. This also started a long line of musical parodies for my segment in the show.
My favourite is probably F*** That Dad because it’s so wonderfully written and performed. I hate hip hop parodies when executed poorly but when done properly it can glorious. Props to Joseph and Rose for pulling off this Lonely Island-level track.
My favourite segment on Jono and Ben was the ‘Love Yourself’ parody that genius Nic Sampson wrote. Laura and I got to pretend that we were in a Parris Goebel video all day which was a dream come true. The brilliant Andy Robinson did a wonderful job directing it. Yvette Parson as Laura’s mum is just excellent. I ate so many Froot Loops that I started sweating and my hands went numb. All in all it was a wonderful day.
We have a pitch meeting every Monday morning, and Jamaine Ross and I both noticed in the news of the weekend that Melissa Davies blinks a lot during her interviews. Unfortunately the first time we noticed it she was reporting on some awful tragedy that would be so mean to poke fun at. So we started watching EVERY Melissa Davies cross for three months until she finally reported on one that would fit our idea. And boy did she deliver: 77 blinks in 30 seconds.
I think the reason this stood out for me is that it was pure observation with a very simple context and yet was just as funny as the great sketches and pranks we do on the show. Sometimes ideas just walk in the door fully-formed and it’s the greatest thing ever.
This sketch shows off just how incredibly talented our film crew are: they had to splice footage from the incredibly expensive 50 Shades trailer with new scenes shot at Auckland hotels featuring Jono and his mum. They pulled it off so effortlessly you would think our show had a budget! Everything is so beautiful shot and having National Treasure Rima Te Wiata as the flustered mum just elevated the joke to another level I reckon. Jono is also a highly underrated actor and I’m looking forward to his critically acclaimed late career turn when he starts playing serial killers.
The moment where we played this sketch, with Justin Bieber in the studio, was one of the tensest moments I’ve ever experienced in my life. Biebs had already been acting like a total legend – he opened his interview by giving Jono and Ben the fingers – and while we weren’t shooting he did pull-ups on the stairway on the side of the set.
When this parody started to play, he had the most disapproving look on his face. No one in the audience wanted to laugh because he wasn’t. About 1 minute in he laughed for the first time and the room relaxed. At the end he said it was “one of the funniest ones he’d seen.” Then he took photos with all the children in the audience and I was too afraid to ask for one.
Despite not exactly having a linear narrative on Jono and Ben (you don’t have to binge watch Seasons 1-5 to get what happening this week) I’ve loved our occasional commitment to a running joke. Over the years we have run into the ground various dumb gags such as “TVNZ broadcaster Peter Williams is an ageless vampire”, “Mark Richardson is dead”, and even “Jono’s best man at his wedding was a goat”. But we never to committed any comedic idea as much as we did to “Guy Williams slightly annoys Sonny Bill Williams in public.”
This is where it kind of peaked, where Guy flew with a cameraman for about 24 hours to Japan to hijack SBW’s press conference to sing badly at him. I remember using Google translate to read through Japanese press releases, trying to figure out where SBW would be. Someone else in the team managed to lie about who we were and get Guy access to the press conference. It was pretty early in the show’s life, and was the first thing we filmed in another country. I was so buzzed to see a production team of about 20 work so hard to to make the dumbest gag happen about 10,000 kms away from us.
I love this sketch solely because of Jono’s performance. He nailed being a Westie so much that I now question whether the Jono in real life is really him. Here are some other special mentions:
In season 3 we decided to make a music video for an original song every single week. It was absolute chaos. Our auto-tune guy has never worked harder. ‘Hands’ I’ve always been weirdly proud of. If there’s anything we did that I wish “went more viral,” it’s this Derulo-esque banger about being turned on by human hands.
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We did a retrospective episode for TV3’s 25th anniversary where we looked back at the history of the station. It ended up being way harder than we thought to get our hands on clips, so we just made up this bleak as hell 1989 episode of Jono and Ben. J&B’s legacy will obviously be the big ole pranks/when they eventually burn each others’ houses down in the name of television, but I’ll always have a soft spot for stuff like this – the result of Jono and Ben and the writing team trying to make each other laugh and fill a goddamn hour of television every single week.
The special 100th episode of Jono and Ben airs tonight on Tv3 at 7.30pm
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