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A quickie with Rhys Darby

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by Amily » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:31 pm

A quickie with Rhys Darby
by Magda Cortez - CelebrityFIX

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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.

Source

Pitching his own series eh?! #aziz# Go Rhys! #cheer# #cheer# #cheer#

Also...

It's not the last they're going to see of Murray with the Conchords


#excited# #love3#
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by emira » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:09 pm

I like this part:

The general rule was we just kept it true to ourselves, in what we did and how we spoke.

...you've gotta stay true to yourself.

I’m really glad we stuck to our guns.


#love3#

and this:

Let's have another chat about it in another five years.

#excited2#
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