The PlayStation VR 2, otherwise known as the PS VR2, is out. It’s a nifty piece of tech that my housemate-bestie-wives and I have been enjoying greatly, something that we have in common with Aunty Donna’s Broden Kelly.
For those somehow unaware, Aunty Donna is an Australian comedy troupe created by comedians Kelly, Zachary Ruane, and Mark Bonanno. Their work ranges from live sketch comedy shows that have toured around the country, to a variety of sketch comedy programs on YouTube (1999, Trendy, Glennridge Secondary College), Netflix (Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun), and most recently ABC iView (Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe).
Something else that the boys have done recently is an ad for PlayStation. To be specific, Aunty Donna did a sketch for the PS VR2 where they gave the headset a go and were a bit silly and goofy about it. You can check out the sketch below.
The entire thing feels very tongue-in-cheek, but I ended up getting the opportunity to sit down (again) with one-third of the group, Broden Kelly, who seemed to really be enjoying himself in the video. We talked about his experience with the PS VR2 (which it turns out he was actually playing and not just pretending to play), what he liked about Horizon: Call of the Mountain, how Rove McManus felt about their new show Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe, and the beauty of region-specific movie cameos.
Were you actually playing the PS VR2? How’d you like it?
Broden: I was! I’ve not had much VR experience at all, and I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is for me,’ but I put on the thing, and it made me feel like I was living in the future. Every element of it has been deftly considered, like the sound around it, the moving, I was so impressed by it.
As you know, in the video, Zach is wearing a fake one and I’m wearing a real one. And I was just so grateful for that because sometimes TV shoots can be quite laborious, and you know, drag out. I literally just spent the whole day climbing mountains and fishing-
Full disclosure, at this point I heard my doorbell ring and I knew for a fact that it was the delivery man sending me a package. After the many harrowing experiences I’ve had with Australia Post and the countless SORRY WE MISSED YOU slips I’ve received, I knew I had to run. The following has been kept in for transparency.
I’m so sorry. I’ll be right back. Someone’s just knocked on my door. I’m fairly certain it’s a delivery driver.
A short break occurred, with Broden noticing a cat in the background of my video. He says, “There’s a cat there”. I then returned to the call with the package in my hand and threw it onto the bed to deal with later.
Broden: What did you get delivered?
I paused for a moment, wondering whether or not I should be honest. After a second of consideration, I decided to just tell the truth.
Yeah, a whole bag of them. The underpants I like are only sold at Costco, and so I found these online and was like, “I better order the closest ones I can to them in the same brand”. So it’s gonna be like a test of whether or not these ones are good.
Broden: That’s great! I’m happy.
If that reasoning made little to no sense, I totally get it. Basically, CostCo has these very specific Puma-branded underpants that are very comfortable. Unfortunately, I no longer have an active CostCo membership and I can’t seem to find those specific underpants anywhere else. However, I found ones that looked like them on the Puma website. They’re not the same, and they’re not as good. The test failed. Back to scheduled programming.
Broden: Sure. So TV shoots can sometimes be a bit boring and slow, but I genuinely just spent the whole day in this immersive world going around with a bow and arrow shooting things, climbing and eating, you can eat apples. So I had the best time. I genuinely was playing it all day. And then someone’s like, hey, we finished and I took it off and went home. But I had the best time doing it.
So you were playing Horizon: Call of the Mountain, right?
I also played a bit of it, I ate some apples and I hit some gong. What would you say was your favorite part of the demo that you tried?
Broden: Legitimately having a bow and arrow. The whole experience of the bow and arrow like, when you reach behind, you have to get an arrow and line it up and everything. I thought was so cool. I genuinely thought it was awesome. At one point, I think you have to fight some sort of robot machine with bow and arrows. And yeah, I had the best time with that.
So that was your first experience with a VR headset?
Broden: It was. I liked the option that you can sit down while doing it as well. Because like you can either have this full on experience where you’re really in the world, which is what I did for most of it and it was really cool. But it was cool to learn as well that there’s options where you can sit and it’s sort of adaptable to whatever situation you’re working in. If you’ve got a bit of room you can pivot around, you don’t need to be able to do it in 360 necessarily. I had a good time that day.
And so you’re also fresh off of your TV show Aunty Donna’s Coffee Cafe, which has already been getting some good tee-hee’s and ha-ha’s from the general public. What made you guys choose Melbourne as the city of coffee?
Broden: Well, we’re all from Melbourne. In our very early days when we had no money, we used to book out library meeting spaces to rehearse in and used to only have to pay $15 to rehearse in them. And we kind of ruined it for everyone else trying to do this because we would just be screaming and throwing chairs in these meeting rooms.
These were all in very trendy areas like Fitzroy and Collingwood, so every place that we’d be going out for would be cafes in Fitzroy and Collingwood. And so we’d often be sitting there and some pretentious waiter would serve us or there’d be something funny happening. So it’s very intrinsically linked to our Donna DNA.
In fact, where the Coffee Cafe is, the facade of the cafe is on Rose Street in Fitzroy, and it’s really really close to where our first ever rehearsal was. Everything we try and do, we try and have come from truth. We’re very connected to that area.
And often, one of the big criticisms of Aunty Donna is that we look like three very distinct different kinds of hipsters from Melbourne. Recently the One Nation Party made a video that they sort of suggested that we were unfunny and typical hipsters. I don’t consider myself a hipster by any stretch, but we thought we may as well lean into it.
Yeah, fair enough. And how’s the general reception been to the show so far? Has Rove seen it? Does he like it?
Broden: It’s been really, really positive. Australia’s come out to bat for us and watched it all. And a lot of people are watching it on iView, which is really, really exciting. It’s bringing a lot of young people to the ABC, which is something that we were hoping would be the case. So that was really nice to do.
Rove did a share the other day, it feels like he was just watching it at home and saw his name dropped. We’ve known Rove for a really long time and grew up watching Rove. So the fact that we can mention his name, and then he’s at home watching, is very cool. We find a lot of people who we liked growing up now kind of know who we are, which is really, really nice.
And how’s the response been to your appearance in Dungeons & Dragons as well?
Broden: Well, speaking generally, there’s a lot of Dungeons & Dragons fans in Australia. And we as a group aren’t the biggest D&D fans, though we have played before. But we are in that kind of nerd culture, I guess, so it was a real bragging rights to all our D&D nerd friends that we could say we’re in a movie, but we actually have no idea what the real details are. Most people were really really happy.
I wasn’t sure how D&D fans would receive the movie but I think they loved how niche it was and how much fan service it plays to so everyone was pretty happy. A lot of people didn’t really realize it was us, to be honest. They were like, ‘I don’t think you were in the one we saw’, and we go, ‘No no no, we’re in there. We’re just voices and we’re pretending to be British.’ So they may well have just gotten British people to do it and we could have just walked around and said we were in it.
Was it like an Australian exclusive type thing, like your guys’ voices were in the Australian version?
Broden: Yeah. We are in the Australian-only release of Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves. So it’s only the special people in Australia who watch it at the movies or on Paramount+ get to hear us in it.
Yeah, because I remember… I know this is incredibly niche, but very specifically, the animated movie Shark Tale had Tracy Grimshaw, exclusively for the Australian release.
Broden: And Rove in Finding Nemo.
And Rove in Finding Nemo! That’s right!
Broden: and Hamish Blake in Wreck-It Ralph 2. And I think there’s a few others.
Is this your Mastermind topic?
Broden: Yeah, it could be, couldn’t it? “Australian cameos for the Australian-only release of movies as a way to help promote the film in that region”. That’s kind of why we did it, because we love that that used to happen all the time in the 2000s. So we thought, ‘Well, it’s cool to be in a movie, but it’s also cool to be in that lineage of local cameos.’
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