The international careers of Flight of the Conchords stars Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie go from strength to strength. Clement's latest film What We Do in the Shadows has won a prize at the Toronto Film Festival, and McKenzie continues the Muppets music making that won him an Oscar. As well as the pair's many successful individual projects, there's also talk of more Flight of the Conchords work.
In a recent interview with the Guardian newspaper in Britain, Clement mentioned feeling a little embarrassed about some of his early performance work in New Zealand, in particular some of the Maori stereotype characters he played as a young actor on TV sketch comedy show Skitz.
NZ On Screen features a range of early works from Clement and McKenzie, and their striking talent is pretty evident in all of them. Our earliest Flight of the Conchords material is from the stand-up comedy series Pulp Comedy in 2000. The duo are in parody mode with versions of songs that will later appear in their first HBO series and on their debut album. Ladies of the World goes beyond Julio Iglesias, while Bowie is their homage to the Thin White Duke's space years.
Watch Flight of the Conchords on Pulp Comedy here:
Two years on from this Pulp Comedy appearance, the Conchords featured on arts series The Living Room. The show follows McKenzie and Clement from Wellington to perform at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Taika Waititi takes on the pre-Murray manager role.
You can see Flight of the Conchords on The Living Room here:
Before their FOTC success, Jemaine Clement was an actor in Wellington, and Bret McKenzie was mainly involved in the music world. In the mid-1990s, Clement was a regular comic actor on long-running sketch show Skitz. It is the slightly stereotyped nature of some of the characters he played on the series that Clement now says he feels a little embarrassed by.
See for yourself here:
A couple of years after
ended, Clement starred in the Jason Stutter-directed short film
. Made for $2000 and filmed over two wintry Wellington nights,
screened at festivals including Locarno, New York, Valladolid and Clermont Ferrand.
You can view the short film Fizz here:
Clement's fellow Conchord Bret McKenzie had a respected music career in New Zealand before his international success with FOTC. He was a member of reggae band the Black Seeds and the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. He also had a solo side project called The Video Kid. In 2003, he released Dawnskate-88. The music video features early morning skateboarding in hometown Wellington.
See Dawnskate-88 here:
McKenzie also features in assorted Black Seeds music videos. In So True, from 2005, he and his fellow band members head off on holiday to Coromandel for a smorgasbord of baches, pohutukawa rope swings, mussels on the barbie, and cricket on the beach.
Watch So True here: