HBO’s latest comedy series, Flight of the Conchords, premiered last month, with comedy duo Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement headlining the cast.  They play parody versions of themselves, but McKenzie pointed out there’s not much that differentiates them from their characters on the show.

“I’m not sure that we’re aware of the differences in our characters,” McKenzie said during the show’s session at the recent press tour.  “We have exaggerated the stupidity, and Jemaine’s much more of an [expletive].  But there’s a little bit of truth in them which makes them believable on-screen as well.”

“That’s why they work,” co-creator James Bobin said of the comedy pair.  “Jemaine and Bret are friends in real life, and that’s why they have a natural rapport on-screen as well.  And so even though they don’t get along that well all the time, they can depend on each other, which is quite nice.”

The Flight of the Conchords series revolves around the two lead characters’ journey to attaining musical success in New York City.  They find themselves constantly working with their band manager, Murray (Rhys Darby), while warding off the attention of their sole fan and stalker, Mel (Kristen Schaal).  Each episode features the two stars periodically breaking out into song.

When asked how they would rate themselves as musicians, Jermaine Clement replied, “Bret’s better than I am, and I’m worse than Bret is.”

Bret McKenzie added, “And I think we’re both just above mediocre.”

The pair first met when they became housemates back in New Zealand.  It was there that they learned to play guitar and tried playing other people’s songs.

“That was too hard, so we started making up our own,” Jermaine Clement said.

“We started off playing small clubs, weddings and a local cricket club Christmas function,” McKenzie explained. “Eight years later, we’re on TV.  There was never a plan.  We’ve just been incredibly lucky.”

In 2005, the duo landed an HBO special, after which they teamed up with Bobin for the Flight of the Conchords series.

“Live, we’re looser and more improvised,” Bret McKenzie said.  “A lot of comedy duos are competitive onstage, and I’ve always wanted to avoid that.  But in order for the stories to last 30 minutes [for the series], we had to create more antagonism between the characters.”

Flight of the Conchords airs every Sunday at 10:30pm on HBO.  The series will debut in New Zealand this fall.

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Houston Chronicle
(Image Courtesy of HBO)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV