Jemaine Clement is the bespectacled half of folk-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who achieved international cult status in their own HBO series. Clement's screen career began after he joined the cast of 90s sketch shows Telly Laughs and Skitz. His big-screen debut was Tongan Ninja, followed by a starring role in misfit romance Eagle vs Shark. In 2014 he co-directed and starred in hit vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows. Read the full biography
You feel a little bit under-appreciated and you go: ‘I’m sure if we did this thing in America people would like it or if we did it in England.’ It’s good to find out that you are right.
This episode of the stand-up comedy TV marks an early screen appearance for Flight of the Conchords. Jemaine and Bret are in parodic mode with versions of songs that will later appear in the first HBO series and on their debut album. Funky 'Ladies of the World' goes beyond Julio Iglesias, while 'Bowie' is their homage to the Thin White Duke's space years (plus telescopic nipple transmissions). Mike King hosts the show, John Glass reflects on bachelorhood and kissing etiquette, and Chris Brain manages to reference bikers, the Wiggles, Bill Gates and Star Wars.
This is an early screen showing of "the music comedy phenomenon" aka Flight of the Conchords. The excerpts from The Living Room, follow Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement from Wellington to perform at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Dreams of fame confront Jonah Lomu (!), budget digs and anonymity, which the duo faces with the droll resolve they'd make their trademark. Larry Pritchard (Taika Waititi) takes on the pre-Murray manager role. The next year the duo were nominated for a Perrier Award, en route to an HBO TV series, cult stardom, Grammy and Oscar wins.
Boy director Taika Waititi teams up with his Eagle vs Shark star Jemaine Clement to present this bloody comedy about the travails of a flat of vampires. Reality TV-style cameras tag the vamps as they struggle to get into Courtenay Place nightclubs, squabble over chores and face off werewolves. A roster of Kiwi comedic talent (including Jonathan Brugh and Rhys Darby) feature. After winning fangtastic reviews at America's Sundance and SXSW festivals, Shadows won a run of global sales, local success and four Moa awards, including Best Self-Funded Feature.
Skitz was a popular long-running sketch-based comedy that ran for four series from 1993 - 1997. This selection of excerpts contains sketches from the final season of the Gibson Group satirical show famous for its broad, take-no-prisoners humour and memorable characters and catch phrases. The wacky Semisi family and their 'fresh off the boat' antics inspire mirth and groans in equal measure and filmmaker Sima Urale is enjoyably ludicrous as the terrifying Aunty Mele. Jemaine (Flight of the Conchords) Clement and members of the Bro' Town posse also feature.
Taika (Boy) Waititi's first feature is an offbeat comedy about two lonely misfits and their attempts to find love. Lily (Loren Taylor) is a shy fast-food cashier with a crush on clueless gaming geek Jarrod (Conchord Jemaine Clement). When Lily crashes Jarrod's fancy dress party wearing a shark costume and impresses the self-styled ‘Eagle Lord' with her gaming prowess — excerpted here — she gets her man. But their budding romance is sorely tested by Jarrod's obsession with a childhood nemesis. Empire called the film, "a comic delight destined for cult adoration."
Showcasing the droll dialogue between Conchord Jemaine Clement and animator Guy Capper, Schedule is one of a series of shorts in which two sheep — Robert and Sheepy — ruminate on the ovine issues that really matter eg. tyre humping and ghost sheep. Here the daily schedule is discussed, including the menu selection (grass). After Capper animated the first Robert and Sheepy short in 2001, an Australasian Nescafe Short Film Award helped spur occasional further entries in the woolly yarn canon, culminating with these appearances on 2010 sketch show Radirahirah.
Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Flight of the Conchords headline this episode of the TV stand up comedy series with the creepily earnest 'If You're Into It' (guaranteed to lose all but the hardiest of new girlfriends) and their hip-hop folk opus 'Hiphopopotamus'. Host Brendhan Lovegrove explores the speech patterns of Southlanders, Andre King does his best to ensure he won't be invited back to Palmerston North, and Sully O'Sullivan reveals himself as a menace to small animals and moving vehicles (but with a possible future in survey research).
“In the dark and scary depths of a subway, one young man finds fear has a new name: FIZZ.” Jemaine Clement (pre-Flight of the Conchords fame) is the young man who faces up to a sentient soda machine in this short from Jason Stutter. Made for $2000 and filmed over two wintry Wellington nights, Fizz screened at festivals including Locarno, New York, and Clermont-Ferrand. Stutter would successfully repeat the combo of dark wit and dangerous appliance in his Careful with that … series; Clement starred in Stutter’s debut feature Tongan Ninja (2002).
Showcasing the droll dialogue between Conchord Jemaine Clement and animator Guy Capper, this is one of a series of comedic shorts in which two sheep drink beer at the baa and spin yarns about the issues that really matter eg. how to express your ire when a bovine companion compares your face to a talking pie. Capper and Clement's Robert and Sheepy duo first debuted in short film The Pen in 2001. An Australasian Nescafe Short Film Award helped spur further episodes, then regular appearances on 2010 comedy show Radirahirah, from which this sketch is drawn.
Director Jason Stutter's endearing martial arts parody (and cult classic in the making) was filmed on a shoestring on the mean streets of Wellington. Sam Manu stars as the Tongan Ninja, while Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), who co-wrote the script, chews the scenery as his arch nemesis, the anonymously named Action Fighter. The film plays for laughs - think B movie accents and bad post-dubbing - and hangs off a flimsy plot involving an evil crime syndicate's hostile takeover of a Chinese restaurant.
In this early, Edinburgh-centric episode of arts show Frontseat, Flight of the Conchords return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a sellout third season — although they argue the new show is “a shambles”. Also present at the fest are an array of Kiwi technicians, performers, and arts programmers. Meanwhile in his Marlborough vineyard, globetrotting cinematographer Michael Seresin critiques Kiwi society and its ugly towns, and calls NZ a “lonely, soulless sort of nation”. Also on offer: Artist Phil Dadson in Antarctica, and award-winning dancer Ross McCormack.
Based on a novel by the late Ronald Hugh Morrieson — whose stories painted hometown Taranaki as a hotbed of colourful characters and dodgy dealings — Predicament is a prohibition-era tale of blackmail, anxiety and criminal partnerships. In this Jason Stutter-directed film, awkward teenager Cedric meets two oddball misfits (played by Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement and Australian comedian Heath 'Chopper' Franklin) and becomes entangled in a plot to blackmail adulterous couples caught in flagrante delicto. Predicament went on to win six Aotearoa Film Awards.
This film records the devising of a “work in progress” by theatre director Ashley Thorndyke (Jason Hoyte). The concept — by Duncan Sarkies (Two Little Boys, Scarfies) — mocks the gamut of thesp and drama school cliches: from ‘wanky’ director to wacky warm-up exercises (animal impersonations, primal screams, Love Boat theme song). Peter Burger, fresh out of Broadcasting School, co-directs, and the willing cast is drawn from the 90s Wellington theatre scene orbiting around Bats and Victoria University. Future Conchord Jemaine Clement memorably learns to get loose.
Life on Ben is a partly-animated series for kids exploring the intricacies of skin life. Gordon and Gloob (voiced by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement and Boy director Taika Waititi) are two symbiotic creatures who go on an unexpected stop motion journey. When their host, 10-year-old Ben, gets an itch in his butt the Plasticine duo find themselves exiled to his nostril; on their quest to get home they meet a petri dish of other microbial folk. Created by Luke (Let’s Get Inventin’) Nola the 10 x 2min series — in full here — was distributed internationally.
A magazine show with an edge, The Living Room did for arts television production what Radio With Pictures did for NZ music — it ripped open the venetian blinds, rearranged the plastic-covered cushions, and shone the sun on Aotearoa’s homegrown creative culture. Often letting the subjects film and present their own stories, it was produced for three series by Wellington’s Sticky Pictures, who also made follow-up arts showcase The Gravy. These excerpts from the first series show a calvacade of local talent, including an early Flight of the Conchords screen outing.
This special episode of the TV stand-up comedy series showcases a newly blonde Cal Wilson and features guests Flight of the Conchords, who spoof small town tourism operators, take office supplies as metaphors for love to absurd lengths, and serve up some overly polite, self censored gangster rap. Wilson's other friends are her own creations. Katie the Chief Bridesmaid's contribution to nuptial disharmony invokes Rowan Atkinson's 'Father of the Bride Speech' by way of Lyn of Tawa, while her "sister" Adele is a painfully earnest feminist poet in a neckbrace.
Featuring a rare star turn by stand-up comedian Raybon Kan (who also co-wrote the script), Diagnosis: Death is a genre-stretching tale of oddball nurses, haunted hospitals and bedside romance. Kan plays a cynical teacher sharing a hospital ward with a young student (Jessica Grace Smith), after both are diagnosed with cancer. Trapped in the ward during an experimental drug trial, the duo investigate a strange case of haunting. Shot specifically for DVD, Jason Stutter's second feature also features cameos by Conchords Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, and Rhys Darby.
Life on Ben is a partly-animated series for kids exploring the intricacies of life on skin. Gordon and Gloob (voiced by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement and Boy director Taika Waititi) are two symbiotic creatures who go on an unexpected stop motion journey. When their host, 10-year-old Ben, gets an itch in his butt the Plasticine duo find themselves exiled to his nostril; on their quest to get back home they encounter a petri dish of other microbial folk. Created by Luke Nola (Let’s Get Inventin’) the 10 x 2min series was distributed internationally.
Skitz was a popular long-running sketch-based comedy that screened for four series. Populated with memorable characters and catch-phrases, and broad, take-no-prisoners humour, it won Best Entertainment Programme at the 1996 NZ TV and Film Awards. A particular favourite in its arsenal of regular characters was the Semisi family with their 'fresh off the boat' antics inspiring mirth and groans in equal measure. Skitz featured seasoned comedians such as Jackie Clarke, as well as new faces at the time, including Jemaine Clement offuture Flight of the Conchords fame.
Ovine raconteurs Robert and Sheepy made their short film debut in 2001, thanks to the stop motion magic of Guy Capper. Capper and Jemaine (Flight of the Conchords) Clement's comical duo — one loquacious, one laconic — stood out from the flock amidst 100s of entries in the trans-Tasman Nescafe Short Film Awards, sharing first prize in 2001. Further occasional installments of The Pen were made over the next decade and shown online, and in 2010 Robert and Sheepy’s woolly wisdom was brought to TV audiences as a segment in sketch show Radiradirah.