Tag Archives: Academy Awards

How I followed the flight path of the Conchords, from their original radio series to the Oscars

27 Feb

I still remember being briefed by the Comedy Editor, here at AudioGO, even though it was six years ago.

‘What’s it called?’ I asked

Flight of the Conchords,’ he said. ‘And they’re a band from New Zealand.’

‘What…?!’

He explained that we were releasing their Radio 2 series on CD and he thought it might do well. I swear he had a twinkle in his eye.

It was my job to write the blurb, and as the Conchords were new, he thought it would be a good idea to add some extra copy to the booklet as well. Keeping an open mind, I checked out the paperwork he supplied.

Flight of the Conchords had already been nominated for a Perrier Award and their new series featured Rob Brydon as narrator and included a guest appearance by Crowded House’s Neil Finn. It was also recorded on location around London and featured a Who’s Who of the Bristish stand-up circuit. So far, so good.

But, I admit, I’d never heard of Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement or Rhys Darby. And the main problem with working on comedy titles is that sometimes you just don’t get the comedy. At least there were listening copies of all six episodes so I’d be able to decide for myself.

I was working on around 46 titles that month. So, due to time constraints, I thought I’d have time for one – possibly two – episodes and then work out the blurb from there.

Headphones on, I joined Rob Brydon and heard the Conchords’ attempts to break into the UK’s music scene. To my credit, I realised very early on that I would have to find time to listen to the whole series…

I loved the songs, I loved the comedy – it was just the perfect blend. And I had such fun writing the text for the booklet and the blurb:

“A heated pie fight later (which included savoury missiles) and the Conchords were left as shattered as a chicken and mushroom pasty.”

“While losing a member can be very damaging at the best of times, the Conchord(s) had to go on”

To be honest, it was easy – I just wrote down the lines I heard. I also have to make a confession: I listened to some episodes more than once, just for fun. You’ll understand, once you’ve heard the pie fight…

As you’re well aware, the Conchords easily – and very successfully – made the transition to TV, creating two series for America’s HBO, and which were shown on BBC Four. They’d made the big time and I couldn’t have been happier. Our Comedy Editor was pretty chuffed too.

And now Bret McKenzie, one half of the Conchords, has won an Oscar for his original song Man or Muppet in The Muppets film. He’s come a long way since supporting a panda on stage.

As for our title, Flight of the Conchords is now one of our biggest selling titles on digital. And our Comedy Editor? Around the same time he also suggested we try publishing another new radio series. That turned out to be ‘Little Britain‘…

You can hear a clip of ‘the quirky Kiwi songsmiths’ on our website, which also lists all the songs featured on each episode. Just click the play button under the image to listen to the Conchords, who are on tour in York, being given a special pep-talk by Dan and the Panda.

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