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Ask me anything

Conchords news, chit chat, waffle and conversation. Also convo about Bret and Jemaine in Conchords mode

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Ask me anything

Postby Sherry » Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:44 pm

Well, almost anything :purple:

Ms Nonch seems to have a few things she'd like to ask about my experiences. So curious minds that want to know about my experiences of Conchords/Bret/Jemaine/Humourbeasts stuff, ask away. If I can answer I'll dish. If not I may make stuff up :whistle: Or evade :lol:

:popcorn:
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby nonchalant obsession » Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:16 pm

Oh wow thanks, Sherry. :hrm: Where to begin.... *mixes Sherry a strong vodka tonic*

First, I'd like to reiterate a few of the questions I just asked on the other thread.

So you experienced both the Humourbeasts and FotC at Edinburgh. Were both gigs of equal importance at the festival? I guess I'm trying to piece together if at this point the guys were involved in different projects, just waiting to see what would take off? Or is it more a display of what they happened to be into at the moment. Were they trying to make a living at it?

Just how much has the band and the show itself changed/improved from that first show you saw? Had they been a 'band' for very long at this point? What songs did they perform?

Is this from that gig?

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Re: Ask me anything

Postby Sherry » Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:45 pm

nonchalant obsession wrote:Oh wow thanks, Sherry. :hrm: Where to begin.... *mixes Sherry a strong vodka tonic*

First, I'd like to reiterate a few of the questions I just asked on the other thread.

So you experienced both the Humourbeasts and FotC at Edinburgh. Were both gigs of equal importance at the festival? I guess I'm trying to piece together if at this point the guys were involved in different projects, just waiting to see what would take off? Or is it more a display of what they happened to be into at the moment. Were they trying to make a living at it?


Most welcome. Happy to try to answer stuff.

Yes I did. I remember finding out about them and persuading the girls to go see them with me :lol: As the show was on directly before the Conchords it wasn't too difficult. There were a few reviews on them and the concept sounded like my kind of thing. I must admit that I actually enjoyed the Humourbeasts show more than the Conchords. I was cracking up laughing so much at Taika and Jemaine. We had front row seats and they were only a few feet away. It was a frenetic performance. There were not many people there to see them. But everyone was laughing and enjoying the show.

I must say once more, just in case people are wondering, we (Iris, Jen, Tanya and myself) really didn't go to the Fringe just to see/meet Bret. We had been friends online for ages and had all grown very close. So the trip to Edinburgh really was an excuse for us all to meet up, have a holiday and hang out for a bit. Seeing the Conchords was an extra. We only were asked after we had decided to meet up there to take part in the Figwit docu. That all came about after we had made our plans. We had been quite happy to just go see the Conchords perform and never tell them who we were. But that all changed of course :lol:

Neither were really rated at the start of the Fringe. Both were unknown entities. By the end of the Fringe I recall the Conchords had a very good word of mouth and lots of fellow comedians had discovered them. They made a fair few contacts there that have worked with them in more recent times. And who became their friends. I think there was a fair bit of attention given to the Conchords because of the Figwit thing. I recall it made the front page of the Fringe site, was pretty much everywhere at that time. So a fair number of people went to see them simply because of the LOTR connection. Not because they had any clue who they were or what they did. They were Tolkien fans and so Bret rated on their radar because of his notoriety. If he hadn't been in FOTR some people would never have dragged their backsides along or known he or they exisited. In fact I remember a fair group of ladies who were simply LOTR/Tolkien fans who just wanted to see Bret for his Figwit thing.

Iris and I said we were pleasently surprised that this guy we spotted, poked fun at and all that was actually a cool talented guy and not some dickhead with an ego. Figwit could have been o so different if Bret hadn't been the person he is.

I recall the Humourbeasts not going over so well overall. I don't think they ever pulled in quite the same interest or were talked about in such a way. Yet I thought they were funnier in many ways. I think because both Jemaine and Taika at the time were still developing their art, their technique, it perhaps needed a bit more time, a couple of years perhaps to hone what they were doing. I don't think they really gave it that chance for whatever reason. Not as a stand up gig as Humourbeasts.

I also remember Taika saying how much he hated being in Edinburgh performing like he was. It was crappy for them all. Shacking up in tiny places, no money, the whole trip putting them in the red, small audiences in a cellar was not ideal. Also having to promote their own shows, get flyers out, meet people and so on. Taika never wanted to come back to an event like the Fringe and perform a live act like that again was more or less what I recall him saying. He missed home, his girlfriend and Edinburgh wasn't the greatest experience for any of them the first time round.

By the end of the Fringe the Conchords audience had grown, there was great word of mouth and they made some important connections. Also they finally had their Folk The World CD pressed and shipped over and were able to sell some while in Edinburgh. It also became available online to purchase then but there was always a long wait as at the time they were not able to afford to press masses.

I recall the BBC getting them to do a small thing for Radio 4 or something off the back of the Fringe and the interest. The following year or two they obviously got enough attention (Perrier nom) and did enough to get a better project with the Beeb in 2005. They also met James Bobin the second year in Edinburgh.

I think, like any artist going to the Fringe they went with high hopes, found it a bloody hard slog and it set them back a lot of money. But its the place to go to try to get noticed. And for the Conchords it worked. For the Humourbeasts it didn't. Perhaps if they had gotten better feedback, ratings and so on, Jemaine and Taika may have pursued the live stuff more. As it was they went home, did the play and never did any stand up as Humourbeasts again (at least not to my knowledge).

Taika was already dipping his toes into other areas. It was clear back then he was more a behind the scenes guy than the one out front. He had his art, displayed in Berlin (and other places IIRC) and more. He actually stood out far more than either Bret or Jemaine back then. But then I never heard him sing :lol: All of them seemed tired by it all. But were lovely, gracious and charming the whole time.

Edinburgh 2002 was also where they first met Rhys iirc. Rhys was insane. His show was nuts. He was wearing a John McEnroe bandana and was always hyper. A great guy and kept us laughing all night.

nonchalant obsession wrote:Just how much has the band and the show itself changed/improved from that first show you saw? Had they been a 'band' for very long at this point? What songs did they perform?

Is this from that gig?

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Nope, that's not from the gig. At least I don't think so. O wait, it might be. We had the front row so if it is, thats the back of Jen and Tanya's heads. Tanya is a blonde so I don't think it is from that actual gig.

As to how much things have changed or improved....

They have become smoother, more polished. Some of it now, hearing their banter, doesn't work for me anywhere near as well as them in the early days. I guess because I've heard it so many times now. I also think they have become far more sexual than they used to be. It was never played on back then. The most we had were a couple of songs (and banter about pensioner kisses etc). Iris and I actually really liked they didn't use anything sexual or swear (well once or twice max) in their show back then. It made it so much more original to so much stuff being performed at the Fringe.

They had been together a few years but this was their first proper stint iirc. A long stretch at the biggest comedy festival in the world.

I don't think their act has changed all that much otherwise. I think what has changed is peoples expectations of them. I think we can look at the HBO series and the American audience for that. I don't mean that as having a go at the US or anything, just that that market is where things really changed the Conchords. How they were expected to perform, touring old material off the back of the TV show etc. I have said before, I am used to comedians touring a new show, not repeating old material. So I found that very hard to get my head round. The Conchords became known in the US for their TV series, which of course was so very different from their live set to that point. The innocence of their act was lost. It became a Greatest Hits tour and the gentle genius comedy was passed over for the songs. In the early days they used to talk between songs, with each other, to the crowds, real banter. What I've seen of the US tour wasn't really like that.

As for songs, I can remember Angels, Bus Drivers, Pencils, Ladies of the World, Petrov, KISSING, Albi, Frodo (dedicated to us), Bowie, Mother'ukers, Leggy Blonde (both of those were very different creatures back then and both had us cracking up). Foux De Fafa was a proper song. Classic stuff. There were more, but I can't recall them all. I am sure they did a couple that have never been released or performed since. I shall dig into my MP3 collection and see what I have.

Did that help? :sofa:
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby vmh » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:32 pm

I'm drawing a blank right now. I have a million questions about Jemaine but they're not all appropriate. I liked reading about everything you've shared so far. Nonch probably has better questions about the Conchords up her sleeve. I do have a question about the message board history.

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Holy deity, that's a lot of members to be online at once! According to the knowledge I've acquired through wikipedia, Sally Returns premiered on July 15, 2007. Did anything else happen on this particular Sunday to explain why so many folks logged on that time?
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James Bobin: “It’s like a five-year-old and a three-year-old. Jemaine’s the five-year-old, and Bret’s the three-year-old. They’re both wrong, but the five-year-old thinks he’s right.”
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby kipples » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:35 pm

Brilliant question vmh :thumb:
I've always wondered this myself.
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby Deirdre » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:26 am

Thanks Sherry. I feel the same as you about how they changed with the expectations of the US market. Or at least the expectations of the people they were working with. It was a bit nicer when the guys appeared more innocent. The increase of sexuality and cursing don't really go with the style of the guys on the One Night Stand in 2005. But then again, all acts evolve. And there are a lot of people who like the new style. I'm just an old fashion FoTC fan. :eyelashes: Mostly, though I do like some of the new stuff.
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby Aimee » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:35 am

Thank you both Sherry and dierdre for your your perspectives! No questions yet but enjoyed reading your experiences.
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby nonchalant obsession » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:35 am

Sherry wrote:Did that help? :sofa:

Um, yis. :shock: Very thorough, thanks A LOT. I find myself feeling quite fortunate that you didn't come home and start a Humourbeast fan site. :lol:

Was the HB show you attended in Edinburgh anything like the YouTube video that recently surfaced? Did they do the schoolgirl bit? Are you the one who shouted out, "Show us your tits!"? :wink: If I'm remembering correctly, there was quite a lot of sexy dancing in that show. :whistle:

Sherry wrote:I think, like any artist going to the Fringe they went with high hopes, found it a bloody hard slog and it set them back a lot of money. But its the place to go to try to get noticed. And for the Conchords it worked. For the Humourbeasts it didn't. Perhaps if they had gotten better feedback, ratings and so on, Jemaine and Taika may have pursued the live stuff more. As it was they went home, did the play and never did any stand up as Humourbeasts again (at least not to my knowledge).

Are you referring to the play, "The Frogs" by Aristophanes or something else?

I just have a few (hundred) more questions, but I must head out of town for a bit. I very much look forward to anything you might find in your MP3 collection. :D Really, thank you. That was great.
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby mohumbhai mania » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:01 am

PBI: nonch, I think that was the "untold tales of Maui" play.

Even seeing the earlier clips, I do get the sense the Conchords were kind of flirting with the audience, playing around with the idea of the musician as sexy guy. I see their current more sexy stage act as evolving from that.

But I would give at least a couple of fingers to have seen them "back in the day" though!
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby Aimee » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:06 pm

Seeing as where they started and how far they have come, how do you think they measure success?
Since I've come across this website I have never gotten the impression that they wanted to be huge, famous stars--rather they were more interested in the creative and artistic aspect of it all. Now that they have so much recognition from the show through award nominations, new potential movie roles, bigger projects, do you think this is what they wanted? Or did they have something else in mind all together? Or are they just kind of going with the flow?
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby SheWolf » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:06 pm

Sherry wrote: I also think they have become far more sexual than they used to be. It was never played on back then. The most we had were a couple of songs (and banter about pensioner kisses etc). Iris and I actually really liked they didn't use anything sexual or swear (well once or twice max) in their show back then.
Are you referring to Sugalumps? Business Time goes back to at least SXSW and I thought Kissing and Ladies of the World were even older. I see that flirty/funny thing in the Humourbeasts clip as well. I think it’s one of FOTC’s strengths that they are so innocent in their approach to the sexual stuff. They come at it from a very different angle than most male comediennes and it's no surprise to me that women respond to it. Who doesn't find a guy attractive when he is funny and can be sexual, not in a typical macho hardcore way, but in a way that is more gentle and endearing?

I don't recall them swearing. The only thing that I found out of place with their usual approach was the talk of BJs & finger banging that happened at a couple shows. :o :lol:
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby mockingbird » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:23 pm

Ha ha! SW I just logged on to say the exact same thing. ;) Sherry do you think you could elaborate on this topic? Because in addition to the examples SW cited, I'm thinking about the whole "Flight of the Conchords, you're so big" thing, and also the *ahem* love Jemaine showed that stool at the end of Texan Odyssey. :lol: Not to mention all the legendary Boom King booty shaking action. Really I could go on and on. I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm just wondering what specifically you were thinking about when you said the show is more sexual than it used to be.

Thanks for starting this thread. :thumb:
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby nonchalant obsession » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:27 pm

I think we are all very interested in this topic! :D I had just typed this up before I saw SW and Mock's posts.

mohumbhai mania wrote:PBI: nonch, I think that was the "untold tales of Maui" play.

Thanks. I don't know anything about that one.
Even seeing the earlier clips, I do get the sense the Conchords were kind of flirting with the audience, playing around with the idea of the musician as sexy guy. I see their current more sexy stage act as evolving from that.

Me too, and I've always felt that they are mocking themselves anyway, aren't they?

I’m so glad Sherry brought up the evolution of sexuality in their act, how interesting. I’ve never really thought much about it.
Sherry wrote: I think what has changed is peoples expectations of them.

That makes sense, and judging from everybody’s answers to the first couple of questions on the ‘Twenty Things’ thread, most people don't find them particularly physically attractive the very first time they experience the Conchords, which I’m sure only enhances the absolute hilarity of the sexy songs.

I feel like Bret and Jemaine consciously did everything they could to NOT appear gorgeous, talented, confident etc on the HBO One Night Stand and in the first season of the series. (I’m assuming it was intentional and for comedic effect) Even on the radio, they established their characters as decidedly uncool, unspectacular, average or even below average guys.

Now when the majority of their audience is familiar with them, their talent, their songs and how should I say…keenly aware of their personal charms…the sexy dancing almost becomes porn. :whistle: Not a problem for some of us, but I can understand why there are many who would like to put that genie back in the bottle somehow and experience the comedy the way it was intended.

Business Time, H v R, and Boom King just off the top of my head were all written and honed pre-HBO, right? Pretty sexy stuff. Doesn't sound like any of those were performed at Edinburgh though. Although Angels, Ladies of the World and KISSING are certainly suggestive too. :hrm:

I’ll stop rambling now with my own thoughts and opinions and try to spit out my question.

By the time season two of the series was being created, and with the success of the tours do you feel a conscious decision was made to further play up the sexuality to make it more commercial? I’m thinking about Sugalumps, Prostitutes and Freaky. Or are the guys finally just able to more freely express themselves. Obviously they decide what they are comfortable with doing on stage, and gee they look very comfortable up there. :horny:
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby mohumbhai mania » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:33 pm

mohumbhai mania wrote:
PBI: nonch, I think that was the "untold tales of Maui" play


Thanks. I don't know anything about that one.


You know those pictures of Taika and Jemaine in grass skirts, and the picture of "Mr. Jemaine"? That's from that show. It was supposedly a very hectic funny show about Maori lore with puppetry, special effects, music and Jemaine playing a grandma!
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Re: Ask me anything

Postby mockingbird » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:38 pm

Personally, I interpreted their current act as a send-up of their own sexiness. Like they're making fun of their own sexy image, or even maybe making fun of us a little bit for swooning over them. ;) It's definitely an evolution of their previous self-made image of themselves as unsexy, untalented, and uncool.

I have actually always lamented the fact that certain things in their act don't work anymore, precisely because they are so popular and swooned over, they can't really be the lonely untalented shmucks they used to pretend to be, lol. Certain things they used to do, they just can't do anymore because it doesn't work with people's perception of them. But I do think they did an admirable job of evolving their act from that, despite the fact that they are doing their old stuff still.
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