Flight of the Conchords
Flight of the Conchords is the Grammy Award-winning New Zealand comedy duo that has put out a Grammy Award winning music/comedy album, have launched season two of their show on HBO, and announced a big US tour. composed of Bret (not Brit) McKenzie and Jemaine (not Jermaine) Clement, Flight of the Conchords took a long time to reach the status they enjoy right now.
The group was formed when Bret and Jemaine were flatmates at Victoria University of Wellington, where they were both studying film and theatre. Flight of the Conchords was duo formed in 1998. Billing themselves as “Formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a capella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo”, Flight of the Conchords features a combination of witty observation and characterization complemented by acoustic folk guitars.
The duo’s comedy and music became the basis of a BBC radio series before being transported to the US for their HBO series, which premiered in 2007.
Flight of the Conchords has enjoyed a number of accolades. They were named “Best Alternative Comedy Act” at the 2005 US Comedy Arts Festival, “Best Newcomer” at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, received a nomination for the Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2003 and their 2007 Grammy Award for best album, among other accolades. The duo have performed at Bonnarroo as well as the Sasquatch! Music Festival and appeared on David Letterman as well as Lat Night with Conan O’Brien.
Their debut comedy album The Distant Future, won the Best Comedy Album Grammy at the 2007 Grammy Awards. In 2008, Flight of the Conchords was nominated for two Emmys, one for Best Writing (Comedy Series) and the other for Best Directing (Comedy Series).
FOTC created a radio series for BBC Radio 2 in 2004. The series, which centered the their search for success in London, won the “Bronze Sony Radio Academy Award for comedy.”
They were also giving a an HBO special on the network’s Friday night half-hour stand-up comedy series “One Night Stand.” That was apparently good enough to get the duo the chance for a full-blown series.
Flight of the Conchords TV Show:
US audiences first started being exposed to Flight of the Conchords via their US television show. The FOTC show on HBO premiered in the US in June 2007. It once again centers on the duo striving for success in American while dealing with being flat-broke. A “winningly grotty sitcom,” according to Time, the show is based on the duo’s early life trying to break through in New Zealand. For example, one episode is based on a real life show. According to Clement “we start off, and there’s one person, and then we turn the lights on at the end, and that person has left. That was a real gig that we did.”
The show is also constantly broken up with FOTC music videos for the bands hit songs. “In the two or three minutes of a music video,” McKenzie says, “the world can just explode open. We can get really surreal or abstract, then drop back into the world of the characters.”
Along with Bret and Jemaine, comedians Rhys Darby, Arj Barker and Kristen Schaal appear on the show. There have been several other comedians who have appeared on the show. A big part of the Flight of the Conchords TV is that their songs are interwoven into the plot of each show.
The first season had 12 episodes. With the success of the first series, Flight of the Conchords got back to work on the second season of Flight of the Conchords, which debuted on January of 2009.
Flight on the Conchords influences:
According to their My Space page, FOTC includes as their influences: Simon and Garfunkel, Hall and Oates, Sly and Robbie, Crocket and Tubbs, Lone Ranger and Tonto, Laurel and Hardy, Steely Dan, Tears for Fears, Kriss Kross, Sonny and Cher, Ike and Tina Turner, Turner and Hooch, Kid n Play, The Front Lawn, Chaz and Dave, Savage Garden, Kings of Convenience, Bananas in Pyjamas, MC OJ and the Rhythm Slave, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Daft Punk, Eric B and Rakim, The White Stripes, Double J and Twice the T, Mel and Kim, Wham, Milli Vanilli, Hard ‘n Phirm, The Blues Brothers.
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