The Return of the Conchords: Acoustic Hipster Doofuses Folk it Up in Berkeley


Before HBO, Flight of the Conchords were known as New Zealand's 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo. They developed a cult following (I, too drank the cool-aid) and snagged an HBO series...which was hipster doofus nirvana for about half of the first season.

Then they ran out of good songs. And the charm of their hapless would-be rock stars adrift in nearly nonexistent plot-lines wore thin.  They were cancelled. And now, they’re returning to what they did best before the golden lights and glory of premium cable led them astray. Flight of the Conchords are back, live on stage at the Berkeley Community Theatre, where their pseudo-oblivious weirdo antics will shine for a full 90 minutes at the most.  With 2 shows instead of 2 seasons, their unique humor can be showcased, not stretched thin.

Flight of the Conchords are Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement, a delightfully bizarre folk-parody duo. Their act is all about that gap between self-image and reality. "If we can act as though we're the genuine article, people will find it funnier," said McKenzie, before the series. That's why, in concert,  they deliver between-song banter with such hilarious earnestness. "We've been trying to come up with banter that's as boring as possible," said McKenzie.

While the series was a fictionalized take on the lives of band members living in New York and trying to make it as a band, the two might have to split to make it post-TV series. Jermaine, at least, has some upcoming projects; he’ll be starring in Jared Hess's new comedy Gentleman Broncos. (Hess himself is the object of cult adoration for his film “Napoleon Dynamite.”)

In Berkeley Monday night, I do hope they have some new material but I also hope they do some of their classics, like “Think About It,” a societal ills soul number, AKA a Temptations' “Ball of Confusion” parody. In it, their signature unfocused stream of consciousness degenerates into:

They're turning kids into slaves just to make cheaper sneakers,
But what's the real cost? Cause the sneakers don't seem that much cheaper/
Why are we still paying so much for sneakers when you got them made by little slave kids?
What are your overheads?

If this doesn’t make you laugh, then it just doesn’t translate well. But trust me, it’s hilarious.

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