The running joke on Friday nights, at least on TV3, is that nobody watches anything after 7 Days. But the jokes on them: I watch TV3 after 7 Days finishes, and what I've seen for the last few weeks is Jono & Ben At Ten upstaging its lead-in.
Sure, Jono & Ben At Ten is derivative of plenty of other comedy shows and sources. JABAT's hosts, Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce, even admitted as much in their first episode back this year, pointing at TV2's Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Failure To Do Anything Remotely Funny, from which the Kiwi duo adapted a couple of recurring features.
But, damn it, derivative or not, Jono & Ben At Ten is funny. Here are five moments I loved from Friday's episode.
The burger I'll be eating is ...
The pair hone in on The X Factor NZ and spoof the talent show's habit of having host Dominic Bowden take long pauses before announcing who is safe and who is going home. The first instance on JABAT was the best: Jono turns to a server at Burger Fuel and announces "the burger that will be making its way to my stomach for lunch is," followed by Ben playing that intense pause music from The X Factor through a boom box as both stand awkwardly at the counter. Actually, the whole segment was just brilliant - from Ben playing a montage of his time pausing to choose a coffee, to a Zoolander-esque pause-off between Jono and Bowden. What is with those massive pauses anyway? As Ben points out, without the pauses, the series would probably be finished already. And it isn't just The X Factor NZ - every talent show does it. So annoying!
Dirty Lancing: The Lance Armstrong Musical
In a recurring feature, Jono and Ben make short sketch videos around a specific theme in a segment called Jono Vs Ben, with the winner being decided through votes on Facebook. Jono decided to spoof Dirty Dancing as a love story between cyclist Lance Armstrong and a syringe full of drugs, played by 7 Days host Jeremy Corbett. The segment was so ridiculous it ended up being belly-laugh funny. It helps that Corbett's performance as a syringe was better than all of The Radio.
I'll have what he's having
Guy Williams' segments mostly involve the comedian forcing his way into awkward situations, and it has never been as funny as it was Friday when he re-enacted famous scenes from Hollywood movies in public places. My favourite: Williams takes off his shirt and uses the boombox from earlier to play Unchained Melody, before sidling up to an unsuspecting woman in a pottery class to re-enact the infamous scene from Ghost. Williams also took on the upside-down kiss from Spiderman and the diner scene from When Harry Met Sally. I rewound the whole segment and watched it twice. And seeing it sent up like this proved just how silly the original scenes are. Plus, Guy Williams with no shirt ... rrrrrrreow.
The X Factor spin-off shows
I'll admit: I'm not a huge fan of JABAT making so many references to The X Factor - it occasionally plays like a cheap way to promote the talent contest. But it worked when the pair suggested spin-off shows like Agent Anna Wilson and Moor-house Moor-Castle. And I think it worked because it was inadvertently self-deprecating. By having The X Factor stars blissfully unaware of the shows being parodied, it exaggerated the idea that Jono and Ben aren't the target demo for The X Factor, and that the pair are almost of an earlier age of media; Jono's show on The Rock FM and Ben's glory days on Pulp Sport belong to the parents of most X Factor contestants.
What's on the other channel?
I'll admit that I've always wondered what would happen if someone changed the channel in a packed bar during an All Blacks test. Well, I finally got my answer when Guy Williams was forcibly removed from The Kingslander for turning off the projector and suggesting everyone would get square-eyes for staring at the telly for too long. Genius.
Okay, just one more highlight ...
I didn't think Ben's musicals sketch was great, but I did like the titles - Dead Cats starring Gareth Morgan made me laugh, while the sneaky mention of Brian Tamaki Superstar toward the end of the bit got a laugh, too.
Are you enjoying Jono & Ben At Ten as much as I am? What were your favourite moments from Friday's episode? Or from the season so far?