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October 3, 2015

Flight of the Conchords: In the Limelight -- VIDEOS

by Annie Wu, posted Jul 27th 2007 4:01PM
Bret and JemaineMy absolute, hands-down favorite new show of this summer is HBO's Flight of the Conchords. The show stars Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement as stranger versions of themselves, musicians from New Zealand trying to make it in big, bag America, with little to no help from their pathetic manager, Murray (the extremely funny Kiwi comic Rhys Darby). But did you know that before the Flight of the Conchords show, there was a Flight of the Conchords band? Well, you probably already knew that, but I wanted to take a moment and marvel at the comedic beauty that is the Bret and Jemaine duo.

Bret, the smaller one with the beard, is probably best known as Figwit from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He was supposed to play a nameless elf but, for some reason, fangirls everywhere fell in love with him and began calling the mysterious elven fellow Figwit ("Frodo Is Great -- Who Is That?!"). His role has gained a strange Internet following, which you can read more about here.

As for Jemaine, the one with glasses and mad sideburns, I remember him from those short-lived Outback Steakhouse commercials. Yes, Outback is supposed to be Australia-themed, so New Zealander Jemaine used an exaggerated Australian accent for the TV spots. Apart from his smarmy Australian voice though, the ads were fairly unremarkable. Jemaine has since moved on from the ads and has a new film out, Eagle vs. Shark. It looks like another indie flick with the awkward Napoleon Dynamite aesthetic, complete with overenthusiastic lightning bolts and nunchucks.

Together, Bret and Jemaine play off each other beautifully, both onstage and onscreen. Neither one is the stand-out star of the series, as they both share the limelight equally and complement each other's best qualities. As for their songwriting, the music is absolutely ridiculous and hilarious, but tremendously catchy at the same time. I often find myself muttering Bret's "The Humans Are Dead" binary solo under my breath. A lot of their songs became solid fan favorites long before the show was even conceived so it's interesting to watch the music being pulled and twisted into newer -- sometimes even weirder -- forms to fit the television program.

This is a clip of one of the boys' stage performances, before they got their own series. This song, "The Humans Are Dead", would later appear on the Flight of the Conchords pilot. I actually like this live version better, if only for the extra laser noises.

And here's a sample of their HBO program's quiet brilliance, from the most recent episode, "Bowie"...

If you love their show, don't forget to give some of their old stuff a listen! You may actually like it better.

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Flight of The Conchords are being featured on mtvU’s Backstage Pass. It is a good video interview with the band. Here is the link: http://www.mtvu.com/music/backstage_pass/

September 04 2007 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They did a great six part radio series for BBC2 in 2005. Get your hands on it if you can.

The only problem with the radio series is that I found myself laughing out loud on the bus when listening to Rhys Darby's phone calls to Neil Finn, who they describe as "New Zealand's Paul Simon"!

July 27 2007 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is definitely the best in the room.

But those two shouldn't give up their day job if you ask me ;-)

July 27 2007 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cincinnati Mike

Oh absolutely. Consistently funny and, when it's not, it's smart as hell (the Bowie episode.) Seriously, there isn't too much appointment TV anymore, but this is it. Even though I know it will be on 6 more times during the week, I must watch Sunday at 10:30!

July 27 2007 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz Renninger

Definitely the best show of the summer which, sadly, isn't getting the attention it deserves. You should review it Annie and introduce more people to the awesomeness that is Flight of the Conchords!

For anyone who enjoys the show, check out their live CD "Folk the World"; it's hilarious.

July 27 2007 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this show, I can hardly wait till sunday to see the next episode. Its really funny, all the supporting characters are good too. My favorite is their one and only " stalker" fan Mel., she is priceless!

July 27 2007 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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