TV3 comedy mashup in a sweet spot
Where did the idea for Jono and Ben at Ten come from?
"No-one could tell the difference between The Jono Project and Wanna Ben, so we thought we'd just make it easier on the public of New Zealand and join forces.
"We were a little bit worried about the forced relationship, but it's actually been quite refreshing to bring the teams together and bounce ideas off one another.
"As for the format, we've probably gone as close to doing a chat show in New Zealand as you can. We're not like Rove; you can't rely on celebrities coming into the country every week. We also tried to take the best bits from all our previous shows Pulp Sport, Jono Project and Wanna Ben and then bring some new things into it, like setting it in the studio. That was a cool new thing for us to try to crack. It was a little bit daunting at first, but I think we're getting the hang of it now."
Was Guy Williams always part of the mix?
"He was part of Jono's baggage - the kid from the divorce that you have to bring along. He's great [don't tell him I said that]. He's a very funny guy but a very odd chap. I still haven't quite worked him out. He can be incredibly negative or positive, depending on the day, but as soon as you turn on the camera you know you're going to get gold, one way or another."
The other breakout stars of the show are Little Ben and Little Jono. Where did you find them?
"We actually auditioned for those roles and they were two standout kids. As part of the audition, they had to interview us. They were quite quick on the remarks and prepared to read the borderline questions we wrote for them."
You're in Christchurch this week to do some filming for the show. There'll be no repeat of Pulp Sport's infamous "McCaw is a cheat" banner?
"Yeah, you can't say anything about Canterbury's favourite son without getting your head smacked in. We were pretty lucky to get out of Christchurch alive that weekend."
Do you enjoy getting out of Auckland to film segments?
"Yeah, we do. I think people in Ponsonby Rd get jaded by yet another film crew in the way. We try to get out there as much as possible, because it's fun and we don't want to be seen as an Auckland show.
"It is not by choice that we live in Auckland; it's just when it comes to jobs, that's where we have to be."
On that note, is everyone else at Mediaworks on edge, worried about being pranked, whenever you and Jono are around the office?
"Yes, even just wandering around the building, I'm viewed with suspicion. I guess I should take it as a compliment.
"On the other hand, it does make it hard when you genuinely want to borrow something."
‘There's the physical toll on your own body. Ever worried about causing yourself a serious injury?
"I guess I have been kind of lucky, with just lots of bumps and bruises, mainly to my ego.
"I have a little kid now, so I thought I should really look at medical insurance, but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
"I said I worked on TV and they did a bit of research . . ."
■ Jono and Ben at Ten, 10pm, Friday, TV3.