Separately, they are Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement; together, they are Flight of the Conchords, New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo — that’s according to them, mind you, and you’ll likely just have to take their word for it, although, seriously: wouldn’t you kill to see who makes up the top three? — and thanks to the ultra-dry, hilariously deadpan HBO comedy series that bears their name (not to mention their self-titled debut album, which just landed in Billboard’s top ten), they might just be the Southern Hemisphere’s hottest import this side of the eternally divine Olivia Newton-John.


The television series — of sorts, a roman à clef, but played strictly for laughs — follows Bret and Jemaine as they move to New York City to try and make a dent in the American music scene. The loopy, arrhythmic pilot, in which the guys decide their ticket to success is a music video — “like Daft Punk!” — and find their friendship on shaky ground after Jemaine falls for a former girlfriend of Bret’s (played by the marvelous Rachel Blanchard, forever beloved as that ordinary girl Cher Horowitz in that ill-fated 1996 television adaptation of Clueless), might just be the funniest half-hour of madcap insanity since Kramer rescued from a dumpster (and, hysterically, recreated in his apartment) the old set of “The Merv Griffin Show” ten years ago. (No question, the sight of the smitten Clement singing the inanely hysterical “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room” — “in the whole wide room,” he helpfully adds — to the seemingly oblivious Blanchard will leave you falling from the sofa and gasping for air.)


Conchords, the album, is very much a soundtrack for the series, and so long as you understand up front that this duo is definitely not out to save the world with their music — visualize, if you can, a much cheekier Barenaked Ladies, with that unmistakable Canadian twang swapped out for broad Aussie accents — but rather spread a little mindless joy like so much jam across a slice of dry toast, you’ll do just fine.


1 response to “beautiful like a tree, or a high-class prostitute”

  1. the buzz from Helen:

    It is amazing how the Flight of the Conchords have become so popular recently. There were two shows in SF in May and both sold out in less than 5 minutes. 🙁