Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

AKA as HipHopapotamus, half of the Humourbeasts, Action Fighter, Dr Chevalier and Jarrod in Eagle vs Shark! Nuff said. You can write the rest!
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Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby Venus » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:41 pm

Jemaine Clement on Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret
Written by Seth Abramovitch | 30 Oct 2009, 10:45 AM

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As the hornier, less-sensitive half of New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo, Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement has earned legions of loyal fans. He also happens to be the best thing about Gentlemen Broncos — the latest love letter to adolescent social retardation from Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess. In it he plays science fiction author and lecturer Dr. Ronald Chevalier, a deliciously self-regarding buffoon who wears a Bluetooth earpiece, high-waisted jeans, and answers the phone, “CheVAAHlier.” Movieline spoke to Jemaine about his own nightmare mentors, the status of FotC’s third season, his love/hate relationship with L.A., and his predilection for wearing really, really short shorts.

JEMAINE CLEMENT: I’m like the chicken sandwich at the end of the day at this point.

MOVIELINE: How so?
I’ve been doing this all day now. You’re pretty late. I think you might be the last.

We could just talk about whatever. You don’t have to answer any of these.[Laughs] No, that’s all right. You can ask your questions.

OK. Your movie Eagle vs Shark reminded me a lot of Napoleon Dynamite. Was that a coincidence?
Perhaps it’s not, because I talked to Jared about that when I first talked to him. And I said, “I starred in this movie called Eagle vs. Shark that was compared a lot to Napoleon Dynamite.” And he went, [Napoleon Dynamite voice:] “Nothing freakin’ like it.” And that’s how we feel about it, too, so I was glad to hear him say that. But I think he got interested in it because so many people had told him, “There’s this movie out of New Zealand that’s a lot like Napoleon Dynamite.” So there’s a possible connection.

How much of the look and sound of Dr. Ronald Chevalier was your own creation?
It always starts off with the script, and they’re quite specific in their scripts about how their characters are. They’ll talk about the kind of sweaters they wear and how their jeans are and what the wash is. They’re really specific.

I did have a few experiences like the writers’ camp when I was younger. I used to write for radio and radio advertising, and I went to this radio workshop. And the guys there were jerks. Just egotistical jerks who were unbendable about how you write a 30-second ad for toothpaste. They’d say things like, “Never be an inanimate object. I read an ad the other day that started off going, ‘I’m a tooth.’” And like — what’s wrong with that? You could make that into something. Chevalier is strict on his rules, and I think that can come from when people have been doing something for a long time.

He reminded me a bit of those screenplay gurus.
Yeah. They’re like that, too.

Were you a sci-fi head growing up?
Well, I grew up in the ’80s, which was a really massive time for sci-fi. The Empire Strikes Back, E.T., D.A.R.Y.L., War Games — all massive. So I was, but our generation was, really. There was a lot of sci-fi marketed to kids — The Black Hole. Which I didn’t see but I had the coloring book.

I was wondering if your song “Bowie in Space” was in some ways your tribute to sci-fi?
Not really. It was more a tribute to Bowie. He has so many songs about being in space. The day we wrote it, Bret [McKenzie] and I were driving around getting stuff ready for a gig, and we just started talking like that. [Bowie voice:] “I’m David Bowie, man.” And there was a radio competition on the student radio station. It was a show called Brown Paper Bag, and you could win some wine or something like that. The question was, “What would you keep in a brown paper bag.” And we’d call up and go, [Bowie voice:] “We’d keep David Bowie in a brown paper bag.” They’d go, “What?” [Bowie voice:] “We’d put Bowie in there, man.” [Laughs] I wonder if those were recorded. It really would be so funny to hear that.

"We know Ricky Gervais a little bit through the comedy world, and those two are friends. I don’t know if it’s true, but Ricky said it’s on [Bowie’s] iPod."

Has Bowie ever contacted you about the song?
No, he hasn’t. We know Ricky Gervais a little bit through the comedy world, and those two are friends. I don’t know if it’s true, but Ricky said it’s on [Bowie’s] iPod. I guess it was an ambition of mine when we wrote it, but in that dingy flat in Wellington, it was unimaginable that anyone outside of the bar where we would play it would ever hear it.

He seems like the kind of guy who would actually collaborate with you.
[Laughs] Well, actually we did ask if he would play himself [on the show]. He had just done Extras, and I guess he’s a busy guy and we don’t know him. So who knows if he ever heard the request.

What’s going on with Season 3 of Flight of the Conchords?
Uh… Bret has a, um, a sex operation, and it really changes the dynamic between us.

Does it enhance him, or change him to a different sex?
It’s just the same sex, but more so. No, we’re thinking about it. I think you’ll know more in a month. We’re going to have a meeting about it when we’re all in the same country — that’s me, Bret and James [Bobin], the director. We have to think about what we want to do, if anything.

"I think of Bret as one of the nicest guys in the world. Honestly, one of the humblest, nicest guys in the world. But at the end of a thing like that, I can’t stand him more than anyone else. I’m pretty sure it goes both ways."

So there’s a possibility you might not want to do anything?
To be honest with you, every time I finish something — look, I think of Bret as one of the nicest guys in the world. Honestly, one of the humblest, nicest guys in the world. But at the end of a thing like that, I can’t stand him more than anyone else. I’m pretty sure it goes both ways. It’s just a really intense thing to do. I’m sure there’s lots of famous examples of that.

Are you guys best friends?
I’ve got one — no, I’ve got two better friends than him. Yeah, but he’s up there.

Interesting. Is it a grind writing a season’s worth of songs like that?
It’s a grind trying to do that simultaneously with writing a show. If it were one or the other it would be great, it would be fun. Maybe. It makes it really hard, because you have to decide what to prioritize. We split it up a little bit, and Bret did more of the production and I did more of the rewrites. But I didn’t rewrite everything — usually I would just rewrite the scripts by other writers. And that happens on every show, apparently the showrunner will usually go over everything. But we just didn’t have time to do that, so sometimes a very unpolished would hit the stage, and we’d work on it while we were shooting it. But it’s very difficult.

Are you living in New York while you’re shooting the show?
Yeah.

How do you like that?
I love that place.

But you usually live in —
In Wellington. Well, actually I usually work more than I don’t work. So I’m usually in America, for the past three years.

What do you think of L.A.?
What do I think of L.A.? It’s boring, with some amazing nuggets. Like there are some parts of it that are great, but by and large I think it’s quite boring. Is this the L.A. Times? Los Angeles magazine? [Laughs]

No, it’s not.
Just, it’s so badly planned. But there are some great things about it, as well. Like, you go to Venice Beach. It’s amazing every time. And downtown’s really cool. I’ve lived here, if you added it all up, probably a year, and the whole time I was terrified of going downtown, because people here are terrified of going downtown. In the daytime, anyway, it’s pretty good. And there’s even some good bars and stuff down there. I don’t know — it’s love/hate.

A friend of mine told me he spotted you at an outdoor café in Silver Lake wearing very, very short shorts, and was wondering why. Can you answer his question?
Sometimes I dress because I find it funny. But now that people watch what I dress I probably do less so. But in New Zealand in the ’70s and ’80s — and I think to an extent here, but not the same tightness as New Zealand — it was considered very manly to wear tiny shorts. Which is the most ridiculously gay thing, from this chronological vantage point. It just makes me laugh.

So you weren’t shooting a movie or anything.
Yeah. It just reminds me of stuff I’d wear as a kid and makes me laugh. But it’s true. He caught me!
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Last edited by Venus on Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby SheWolf » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:51 pm

Wow to a few things in there.
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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby closet jemainiac » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:01 pm

YAY to tiny shorts!!! :yay:

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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby 4everconchordsfan » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:09 pm

More Jem love, im just savoring all of these interviews.

We are getting to know him so much better. He seems more comfortable with the process, and as always he is clever.
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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby SheWolf » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:13 pm

What he said about Bret - does he currently love him or hate him? :worry:

Why is he spending so much time in LA (wearing tiny shorts) when he likes NYC better?
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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby DaMango » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:19 pm

SheWolf wrote:Wow to a few things in there.



Same here. :shock: Sometimes I can't tell if he's being funny, or just brutally honest. (The truth hurts, sometimes.)

I burst out laughing at the Bowie thing! "We would keep David Bowie in a brown paper bag, man." Can't you totally imagine him saying that?! :lol:

This confirms that he knew what he was doing with those obscenely short shorts. He may have been going for a laugh, but they sure caused a lot of drooling and swooning.

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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby closet jemainiac » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:23 pm

SheWolf wrote:What he said about Bret - does he currently love him or hate him? :worry:

Why is he spending so much time in LA (wearing tiny shorts) when he likes NYC better?


I think he always loves him, but sometimes hates to be around him so much (like how I feel about my husband :D :worry: )


its the tacos. The man needs tacos.

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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby LauraK » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:26 pm

AW, he loves Bret....he's his #3 friend! Not what I'd expected....was that tongue-in-cheek, or honest? It felt honest to me. But they didn't meet til Uni, so it stands to reason he'd have a life-long friend already and maybe he's putting his other half ahead of Bret, which is as it should be. :)

I think he's only in L.A. doing GB promotion and who knows...maybe some viocework for DM?

Man...he's really been grinding out the interviews! I love the little bits of newness we keep getting.

Anyone in L.A. agree/disagree with what he had to say about it?
Last edited by LauraK on Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby SheWolf » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:30 pm

I was assuming it would be in LA that he James and Bret get together to discuss the future of things.

I've never been to LA but I'm sad to say I've haven't heard great things about it either from the people I know who live there or those who visit. In fact it's all been quite negative. Doesn't stop me from wanting to visit though. :)
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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby vmh » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:46 pm

LauraK wrote:Anyone in L.A. agree/disagree with what he had to say about it?


I guess that would be me. I live close by. I don't know. I haven't been to as many places as Jemaine has. I'm sure if I visited NYC I would fall in love with the city. And if I went to NZ, I would probably never want to leave.

LA isn't that bad. I've actually come to like it more in the last couple of years. There's tons to do around here if you know where to look. There's great beaches, mountains, nightlife. There's always something going on. Downtown isn't so creepy. I've walked around there past midnight a few times and as long as you stay in well lit areas or near bars, it's pretty safe. I'm sure some areas are better than others. And I love Venice Beach. It's my favorite beach. Maybe I just haven't experienced the bad side to LA yet?

It's probably for my own good that I haven't spotted him in a cafe around here wearing short shorts because if I did, I'd probably pass out from heat exhaustion. Yeah, heat exhaustion.
Last edited by vmh on Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby bakergirl30 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:03 pm

Venus wrote:
[size=150]
[b]A friend of mine told me he spotted you at an outdoor café in Silver Lake wearing very, very short shorts, and was wondering why. Can you answer his question?

Sometimes I dress because I find it funny. But now that people watch what I dress I probably do less so. But in New Zealand in the ’70s and ’80s — and I think to an extent here, but not the same tightness as New Zealand — it was considered very manly to wear tiny shorts. Which is the most ridiculously gay thing, from this chronological vantage point. It just makes me laugh.

[b]So you weren’t shooting a movie or anything.

Yeah. It just reminds me of stuff I’d wear as a kid and makes me laugh. But it’s true. He caught me!
Image

[/b]
Source



How can I love this man more?? But that last answer made me love him double!! :heart: :heart:

Great great interviews!!
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closet jemainiac

Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby closet jemainiac » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:11 pm

That's just his good boy comedian answer...we all know why he REALLY where's those tiny shorts...to taunt us!

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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby Jinnerz » Sat Oct 31, 2009 2:33 am

love the bowie story. i hope someday i stumble upon a soundbite from that radio station, and hear

“We’d keep David Bowie in a brown paper bag.”

it would make my life.
Oh, We'd just grab a sandwich and put it in our mouths. That's the only way to have sandwiches.
Oh Jenny, tell me do you still walk? Do you still get into sandwiches in a big way?

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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby mockingbird » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:28 am

As the hornier, less-sensitive half of New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo, Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement has earned legions of loyal fans.

:lol: Chicks really dig horny insensitive guys.
JEMAINE CLEMENT: I’m like the chicken sandwich at the end of the day at this point.

What a great simile, lol.
I was wondering if your song “Bowie in Space” was in some ways your tribute to sci-fi?
Not really. It was more a tribute to Bowie. (lol!) He has so many songs about being in space. The day we wrote it, Bret [McKenzie] and I were driving around getting stuff ready for a gig, and we just started talking like that. [Bowie voice:] “I’m David Bowie, man.” And there was a radio competition on the student radio station. It was a show called Brown Paper Bag, and you could win some wine or something like that. The question was, “What would you keep in a brown paper bag.” And we’d call up and go, [Bowie voice:] “We’d keep David Bowie in a brown paper bag.” They’d go, “What?” [Bowie voice:] “We’d put Bowie in there, man.” [Laughs] I wonder if those were recorded. It really would be so funny to hear that.

Yes it would! :nod:
What’s going on with Season 3 of Flight of the Conchords?
Uh… Bret has a, um, a sex operation, and it really changes the dynamic between us.

:lol:
So there’s a possibility you might not want to do anything?
To be honest with you, every time I finish something — look, I think of Bret as one of the nicest guys in the world. Honestly, one of the humblest, nicest guys in the world. But at the end of a thing like that, I can’t stand him more than anyone else. I’m pretty sure it goes both ways. It’s just a really intense thing to do. I’m sure there’s lots of famous examples of that.

:hrm: That's too bad. If that's the case I really don't think they should/will do a third season, not that I thought they would anyway.
Sometimes I dress because I find it funny. But now that people watch what I dress I probably do less so.

This makes me very, very sad. :( Jemaine please please please continue to dress in ways you find funny. I love it when Jemaine dresses funny, lol. It's one of my favorite things about him. I suddenly feel like George from Of Mice and Men. :hrm: :(

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Re: Loving Bowie, Hating L.A., and Needing Some Space From Bret

Postby Hot Jam » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:12 pm

This may sound inane but in some ways it's difficult for me to read this interview (and others like it) and get full benefit from it without actually hearing and seeing Jemaine answer the questions/interact with the interviewer. I think it's because he has a certain, very distinct vocal delivery as well as very unique facial cues/body language and an intriguing way with others that serve to highlight and add to the interaction. These other components, culminated, that signify so much about him at that particular moment just don't translate at all to simple words on paper. It's what makes him, him as far as his known, public persona goes. He says a lot of clever, sometimes intentionally and playfully tricky things that are best understood when heard - to me anyway.

Plus, I do also like hearing his voice. :yawinkle: :D Then, in other ways, certain things really do jump out that sound so true to the form and character that he has presented before in public situations/venues.

Either way, it's great to get to read/watch so many new items featuring Jemaine - although, a lot of it is just rehashed from only a couple of sources. For example, I was very surprised to read somwhere that he was actually living in NYC and it wasn't just when taping the show. Is that a misunderstood detail? Who knows. I guess these types of details are really all speculation anyway unless you're the actual person -- and you know your own details (hopefully!). :lol:

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing GB on Friday. More often than not, my husband and I tend to like - as in really like - entertainment offerings that mainstream media pans (and vice versa), so I'm quite sure this'll be a fun excursion! :D :yay: 8)
"Where does the instrument begin and the man start?"
"Funny you should say that. That's how I feel when I play it."
- Bret and Jemaine, Omnichord banter, Radio City Music Hall, 4/15/2009


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