Double trouble for new late night comedy show

By Scott Kara

Cheeky chaps Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce have paired up for a new comedy show. Scott Kara tracked them down for a chat (eventually).

Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce say they've tried to broaden the scope of their new show but it still promises silliness. Photo / Supplied
Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce say they've tried to broaden the scope of their new show but it still promises silliness. Photo / Supplied

Television pranksters Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce have joined forces to create a more mature and thoughtful show. Well, kind of.

Because the pair are still promising the silliness and cheekiness they have made their names with in recent years doing their own shows The Jono Project and Wanna-BEn.

"But," says Boyce, "we are getting a bit older now, and it is nice to try to broaden things out a bit so you don't feel like the sad guy who's still doing the same things he was doing when he was 18 or something."

Even so, you get the feeling Jono and Ben at Ten (10pm, Fridays, TV3) is made in the same trademark DIY and fun-loving - some might even say shambolic - way their previous shows have been.

For starters, the instructions about where to meet up with them for this interview are, quite frankly, hopeless. And we mean that in the nicest possible way because they are likeable blokes.

The first text message says they are shooting in Waterview at 10am on Wednesday.

The next communication, on the morning of the interview reads: Oakley Esplanade. Turns out it isn't. But then another text comes through: Head to Waterview Downs (just up the road).

TimeOut finally tracks the pair down, along with their three-man film crew, in a clearing along Oakley Creek walkway. Pryor is standing knee deep in the middle of the freezing cold stream taking big sloppy gulps of brown liquid from a plastic cup.

There's a beatbox playing an instrumental version of How Bizarre as he sings the ridiculous yet rather catchy line: "Forced to drink my urine despite standing in a stream."

Boyce is standing on the river bank looking on, smiling and piping up with the occasional suggestion. He tells me Pryor is playing adventurer Bear Grylls for a sketch about reality shows that will also involve Susan Boyle, Donald Trump and others.

After 15-or-so minutes, Pryor wades out of the stream, his feet looking a little blue and bruised from the cold, but he's beaming. "Even though you've just seen me drinking wee in the river, we're trying to make the show more grown up and fresher," he laughs.

Pryor and Boyce are very similar. You'd imagine they might both have been class clowns at school and in more recent years each of them has made a successful living out of funny, prank-pulling television.

So you're getting on okay then?

"Yep, we are mate. But then we have to say that don't we?", smiles Pryor.

"It is a bit like an arranged marriage isn't it?" adds Boyce.

TV3 first proposed they get together to create a series 18 months ago, but with new seasons of their respective shows already up and running they put it off until this year.

"It seemed like the right time to join up, and it's probably a good thing because everyone gets the two shows mixed up any way.

"I get accused of being the fake pilot all the time," says Pryor, referring to Boyce's stunt in September last year when he faked being a pilot and breached security at Auckland Airport.

It landed him in court where he and his accomplices pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them.

Though they may not be going to those sorts of extremes for the new show they want to take the best elements of Wanna-BEn and The Jono Project, add in a weekly live studio format to give it a more topical and current edge, and create an entirely new show.

"So retaining the things people like, getting rid of what people don't like and hopefully making a new show that isn't some bastard form of the two," says Boyce.

There will also be a core cast of guests who appear weekly or every two weeks, including actors Tammy Davis (best known as Munter from Outrageous Fortune) and Natalie Medlock (who played nurse Jill Kingsbury in Shortland Street), as well as Jono Project roving reporter Shannon Ryan and comedian and writer Guy Williams.

"We're trying to get the late night talk show kind of thing happening," says Pryor.

Both believe the live nature of Jono and Ben at Ten will mean a step up in intensity because the writing and presentation needs to be more clever and creative.

Pryor: "Obviously we have a team of writers, but Ben and I write as well, and you have to think about it a bit more instead of falling back on the go-to phrases and ideas that have worked in the past.

"But we'll still be doing parodies and getting out and about doing silly games on the streets."

Who: Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce.
What: Jono and Ben at Ten, Fridays, 10pm, TV3.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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