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Flight of the Conchords. Yeah those guys. Feel free to discuss them here! Garfunkling!
Nancy wrote:That's what I'm thinking, V.
And Danny has another season of Eastbound and Down happening soon, maybe he won't be available, which would leave Rhys.
A quickie with Rhys Darby
Image: Kate Little Photography
Just back from touring Australia, barely having the time to unpack, we caught up with Rhys Darby to chat about comedy, a bloke called Bill Napier and the future of The Flight of the Conchords.
Congratulations on the successful Australian tour and the sold out shows in New Zealand. How are the Australian audiences different to Kiwi audiences?
Not much different, really. When I travelled overseas I went as far as Hobart and across to Perth and up to Newcastle but everywhere I got the same kind of response. They just really got me. Some places are more rowdy than the smaller towns but overall I felt the same thing as in New Zealand. There's been a great reaction across the board.
New Zealanders have been copping sheep jokes for some time. Do you get asked for sheep jokes when you're travelling and touring?
To be honest, not at all. They tend to stay away from that sort of thing for me — probably because they know me these days. Back in the day when I was on stage and no one knew who I was, I would get a few people who would do sheep noises as soon as they heard my voice but I've always been quick off the mark, so within the first 30 seconds of hitting the microphone I would let them know what I was all about. I'd get into the first couple of jokes quickly and the audience would receive it well and [probably] thought 'this guy's got something different to offer'.
Your support role in the Flight of the Conchords earned you quite a following. Did you have any idea the show would be so successful?
We were very surprised. Earlier it was a radio show for the BBC that we put together. We got positive reactions but that was in the UK which is safe ground for us. We'd all done stand up over there as they have a similar mentality to us here in New Zealand. But in America we thought it was a real risk.
We're very surprised that the Americans dug our humour and it was a slow burner. In the first couple of episodes they weren't sure what was going on and [thought] what were these accents? Was it a joke? A lot of people thought we were Americans putting on voices because nothing from New Zealand really appeared on their screens.
It turned out that that was the reason it really became a hit — it was the novelty factor. It's an original take on a sitcom. And of course the big selling point was their [Bret and Jermaine's] fantastic music. It was that coupled with awkward situations. When we first started doing it, it was fresh and new — only The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm had started. It was very innovative and seems like all the stars aligned and there you go — there’s your show.
Did you have to change some of the comedy for the American audience?
The general rule was we just kept it true to ourselves, in what we did and how we spoke. You will notice that when you watch the series that I'm very New Zealander and we improvise a fair bit too. The director would say 'if you were to say it that way — just say it' and that became its charm. We had a couple of Americans in the show which the Americans could relate to [as well as] the foreigners working amongst them.
They took the charm from some of the sayings and from some of the funny things we said and did that were a little foreign to them as something they started to cherish. Then sayings ended up on t-shirts and it became a cult hit. Like the roll call thing — that’s the best thing about comedy — you've gotta stay true to yourself. A lot of people have empathy for Murray and I’m really glad we stuck to our guns.
It's a shame the show ended. Films and TV shows are being remade, groups are reforming and musicians are doing comeback tours. Will we ever see Flight of the Conchordsreunite for another series?
I don't know. They only ever designed the show to be as long it was. In terms of the Conchords themselves, they're always touring. They've just finished a tour of Europe. The TV show, I very much doubt it will ever start up again. But you never say no to a project involving the three of us. It's not the last they're going to see of Murray with the Conchords — put it that way.
Great! How about a musical?
We joked about doing Flight of the Conchords as a stage musical — definitely. I think it would really work. Give us a couple of years because we have little children. Once we're comfortable with being parents we’ll consider it. Let's have another chat about it in another five years.
So what's next after this tour? Any upcoming projects?
I’m going back to America to pitch my new comedy series — something I've been working on since half way through the second season of the Conchords. I started thinking 'what I am going to do for my next job' and I wanted to create my own comedy series. I've made a pilot earlier this year and I’m heading to America to pitch it to the networks. Fingers crossed something will happen there.
It that project Love Birds?
No, no. I can’t say too much about it because it’s all under wraps but it's based on a ranger character which I perform in this current stage show - so look out for the ranger! His name is Bill Napier, he's a Kiwi character. I've created a TV show based on him and his life. My goal is to get that picked up in America. Other than that, the next thing coming up for me is a New Zealand film which is Love Birds [and it] comes out next year.
Rhys Darby is touring New Zealand until . For more details, check out our What's On page or go to http://www.rhysdarby.com
Rhys Darby a stand-out stand-up
KATE MEAD - Sunday News
Last updated 13:50 06/12/2010
Photo: Grahame Cox
Rhys Darby is bringing his comedy show home to Auckland.
He's a man who really needs no introduction. Thanks to his role as bumbling band manager Murray Hewitt in the hit TV series Flight of the Conchords, Rhys Darby is a household name.
But his roots lie in stand-up and the 36-year-old comedian is currently wrapping up his latest comedy tour, It's Rhys Darby Night.
Darby has performed the show in New Zealand, America, the UK and Australia over the past two years and he is bringing it home again.
The final performance at The Civic in Auckland will be filmed for his second live stand-up DVD.
"I guess a lot of people have seen my first DVD, they've seen my stand-up, so it's the same sort of thing – but new," says Darby.
"What I've tried to do is create a show that encompasses all the things I love to do... so there's stand-up, character acting and a bit of song and dance.
"You know – not over the top, I mean there's no canes and top hats but my style of dancing as well as some improvisation."
Darby's first DVD, Imagine That!, came out amid the success of Flight of the Conchords and went platinum here. "I never thought I'd do a second one. I just wanted to do one and get it out there," says Darby.
"The best thing about having a DVD is it feels like 'saved game', so even if I suddenly never worked again I could show my grandkids that I was a stand-up.
"I guess in the last two years I did a lot of things and even though I did a lot of acting and not much stand-up, I'm constantly thinking of ideas and I always have a notebook with me, so I will always be a stand-up."
Born in Otahuhu, Darby first found success with friend Grant Lobban in comedy duo Rhysently Granted. He moved to the UK in 2002 to pursue his comedy career and a pairing with Flight of the Conchords' comedians Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement ensued. The rest is history and Darby continued his life abroad in the US before coming back to Auckland where he now lives with his wife and manager, Rosie Carnahan, and their two young sons.
Since Imagine That! Darby has had Hollywood film roles in Yes Man and The Boat That Rocked. While he is perhaps instantly recognisable for his role as Murray, his film work and advertising and radio stints have seem him shake off any typecasting.
"I think it's because I got that stand-up DVD that came out quite soon after [Flight of the Conchords]. So then various people who were really good to Murray saw I had another facet, other strings to my bow, and they said, 'Oh my God, he's a stand-up', so that helped. If I hadn't have had [Imagine That!] come out it would be harder.
"I don't think I'll ever shake Murray fully, but you know, I've only been doing this for three or four years so let's wait and see. And I've got more things hopefully coming up and if I don't then, yeah, I will be Murray which is not such a bad thing to be," Darby says laughing.
A major drawcard is his innate talent for creating sound effects. "The noises just come naturally to me. If I'm thinking about an object or there's something happening in a story that involves machinery or whatever, I'll just do the noise. I just have this uncanny ability I guess.
"My latest noise, a draining plughole, just came out of nowhere. That was one where I just made the noise and someone said, 'That sounds like a draining plughole'."
From his years of experience, Darby has a distinct opinion of the New Zealand comedy scene.
"It's a draining plughole," he says jokingly. "I think it's in the best condition it's ever been in. We have to be careful what we do with the comedy industry now though because we can't just get too excited about it. We tend to put too many galas or stand-up on TV."
Darby has such a vested interest in New Zealand comedy he and Carnahan have created Awesomeness International to foster home-grown talent.
Since they have both been involved with comedy internationally, notably working at the Edinburgh Festival, the couple say they are using those experiences to promote comedians here.
"It's about making sure that we develop the stand-up comics in this country the right way," says Darby.
Darby's own accomplishments have helped promote NZ comedy.
"The comedy scene [has] really shot to the next level since we got The Flight of the Conchords TV show as an international hit. It's like anything, you have to go overseas and achieve something before New Zealand goes, `Oh yeah, we didn't know you were that good. Come back, we've got comedians now!' It's been certified.
"I'm very proud that that show put us on the comedy map and I just hope that it continues. I hope that some more comics will come through and will get their own shows and the international success of New Zealand comedy will continue. Rhys Darby speaking."
Darby: funny man to leading man
KATE MEAD - Sunday News
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2010
Photo: Grahame Cox
Rhys Darby is going from comic to romantic lead.
Rhys Darby has made a career out of splitting audiences' sides.
Now he's about to break hearts as the lead man in two new romance movies.
The Kiwi funnyman will play every-man and Queen music fan Doug in Love Birds, alongside Golden Globe Award-winning actress Sally Hawkins [Made in Dagenham].
Doug falls to pieces when his girlfriend dumps him but finds love again thanks to an injured duck.
It is a very different role from the lovable goof character he has played in other roles such as the 2008 film Yes Man.
Darby describes his character as "a regular guy who I think girls would fall for. [He's] witty but isn't stupid, so that'll be an interesting shift and I hope people will go for that. It's more like me."
Love Birds will be released on February 24.
Also out early in the New Year is Coming and Going. Darby plays 30-something gynaecologist Lee who lacks confidence with women. When he finds himself temporarily wheelchair-bound, the object of his long-term crush finally takes an interest – but possibly only because she thinks he's disabled.
Darby, who first came to international notice in hit TV series Flight of the Conchords, is back in the country doing a live comedy tour.
It has been a whirlwind year for the comic and actor.
He has taken part in TV advertising for New Zealand mobile network 2degrees, and also in Hewlett-Packard commercials in the United States – appearing with hip-hop heavyweight Dr Dre and photographer Annie Leibovitz. He has also had regular stints on popular TV3 comedy show 7 Days.
After finishing up his It's Rhys Darby Night tour later this month, Darby is looking forward to some well-earned time off.
"After December 18 then I just relax hopefully... have some sort of a summer."
The downtime won't last long with his two new films, plus a TV project.
The TV show will be "an action adventure sitcom which I believe is probably one of the world's first".
"Imagine if you watch Indiana Jones each week, but just for half an hour, with the comedy turned up to 11."
Conchords' Rhys Darby Talks Office Boss Rumors
Band manager Murray came close to being the new Dunder Mifflin boss.
US, March 3, 2011 March 3, 2011 March 3, 2011
Way back when it was announced that this would be Steve Carell's final year playing Michael Scott on The Office, the internet was buzzing with rumors about a possible replacement. Two names that were bandied about early on were Eastbound & Down's Danny McBride and Flight of the Conchords' Rhys Darby – who played band manager Murray Hewitt.
This morning, Darby appeared on KROQ's Kevin & Bean morning show and was asked if there was any truth to the rumor that he was ever considered for the role of Carell's successor. "Yeah, that's right," Darby said. "I don't know what happened there. I had some meetings about it but then I never heard back. I had a two-hour meeting."
After not hearing anything from NBC Darby said "I just went home." He then added "So I don't know what the decision was there, but hey, now I've got this new show (the CBS pilot How to be a Gentleman)." Still, Darby admitted that it would be "just nice to know. A 'yes' or a 'no.'
Rhys Darby signs for 'Gentleman' pilot
Thursday, March 3 2011, 12:24 GMT
By Catriona Wightman, TV Reporter
Rhys Darby has reportedly joined the cast of CBS's pilot How To Be A Gentleman.
The show stars David Hornsby as Alan, an uptight man who learns to make the most of his life with the help of an old school friend.
Deadline says that Darby has now signed up to play Alan's brother-in-law.
Darby is probably best known for his role in Flight Of The Conchords. He also appeared in the movies Yes Man and The Boat That Rocked.
How To Be A Gentleman will also star Nancy Lenehan and Dave Foley.
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