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April 17, 2014

Commercials We Love: The HP Ads With Rhys Darby Playing a Murray-alike

by Jane Murphy, posted Apr 7th 2010 4:15PM
As any 'Flight of the Conchords' fan knows, when you hire Murray Hewitt -- talent manager and occasional New Zealand diplomat -- you get round-the-clock commitment, rabid enthusiasm and an extreme belief in your greatness. But let's not dwell on the negative.

After all, Murray (or someone an awful lot like him) is hanging out these days with real movers and shakers. Fortune 500 techno-giant Hewlett Packard is featuring 'Conchords' comic Rhys Darby in a series of witty ads under the banner "Let's Do Amazing." ('Conchords' duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie pulled the plug on the show in December). It's hard to think of another example of a TV character-inspired pitchman, but the move is genius (there was "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." Uh, nah.)As any 'Flight of the Conchords' fan knows, when you hire Murray Hewitt -- talent manager and occasional New Zealand diplomat -- you get round-the-clock commitment, rabid enthusiasm and an extreme belief in your greatness. But let's not dwell on the negative.

After all, Murray (or someone an awful lot like him) is hanging out these days with real movers and shakers. Fortune 500 techno-giant Hewlett Packard is featuring 'Conchords' comic Rhys Darby in a series of witty ads under the banner "Let's Do Amazing." ('Conchords' duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie pulled the plug on the show in December). It's hard to think of another example of a TV character-inspired pitchman, but the move is genius (there was "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." Uh, nah.)

Unlike the always adorable but low-key Ellen Page pitching (as herself) for Cisco, Darby is a bag of firecrackers -- unpredictable and attention-grabbing. Indeed, the ultimate enemy of DVR fast-forward buttons may not be beautiful people but goateed oddballs. Maybe Darby's twitchy persona should host the next Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

According to CNET, HP's multi-million dollar campaign will run through the spring, and feature the inquisitive Darby probing Hewlett's employees and customers about the company's range of products. Though the locations change, Darby's 1970s anchorman tie and lox-colored shirt stay the same.

One of the spots hits a synergistic note, as our pitchman visits the offices of DreamWorks, coinciding with the release of 'How To Train Your Dragon'. While 'Dragon's directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois discuss how HP's wares helped the film come about, Darby can only riff on the studio's name. "DreamWorks! I get the dream part, but how does the Works work?!" Darby cracks, practically begging his companions to applaud his (typically lame) wordplay.


If you never watched the 'Conchords', here's Darby-as-Murray, cheering on the band during a distressing gig in an airport hotel. It showcases Murray's ability to not only do amazing, but also wear amazing (that shirt!) and say amazing ("Listen to the crowd! ... Yeah, it's subsided, people have gone to get their flights.")



Though many of us are still mourning the end of the 'Conchords,' it's just like Murray to shrug it off and move on. In addition to his HP duties, Darby's own Web site reports he's returned to his native New Zealand to shoot the romantic comedy 'Love Birds,' co-starring Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins ('Happy Go Lucky').

Tell us: Are you loving Rhys Darby as a Murray clone in the HP commercials?

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