It’s no easier for me to say “I started college nearly ten years ago” than it is to say “I ended high school nearly ten years ago” — I shudder at either thought — but Flight of the Conchords came into my life during that interim between culminating my awkward youth and starting fresh to unwittingly become a more cultured and even more awkward adult. The New Zealand comedy musical duo arrived at perhaps the apex of my tolerance for heartfelt raunch and touchingly outlandish humor, striking a delicate balance that this awkward kidult totally related to.

In the timespan from when I first listened to and watched clips of Flight of the Conchords on YouTube to now — sitting at The Greek Theatre on a work night after a slog through the Hollywood Hills from the West Side to see the duo for the first time in their natural habitat, a live stage — I’ve come to realize that nothing has changed in close to a decade.

Watching Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement give a sold-out crowd of all ages some “Robots” and “Hurt Feelings” and a bunch of new material for a little over two hours proved that they’re just as relatable to me as ever, and I found myself smiling and holding my sides due to the sheer force of FOTC’s observational comedy and cornball but endearing antics, aka, my kind of humor.

Photos by David Fisch

Opening for the duo was comedian Arj Barker, who appeared as “Dave” on their HBO show that lasted two seasons some time ago. He came back during the performance of “Business Time” as the previously unheard MC Anemone, and even Murray (Rhys Darby) appeared for a skit. It made me pine for the TV show and really wish that, given that they do have new material waiting to be released, they would go ahead and make a Season Three. I believe we’re all just waiting for that to happen.

I’d suggest that, out of the 2-hour set, at least 40 minutes were consumed by tangential conversation. Bret and Jemaine didn’t so much talk about the tunes they were going to play as they went on about how they interpreted life’s daily struggles, such as eating only half a banana before taking the stage, with Jemaine thinking he could finish the whole thing before they started.

That an entire conversation around a banana would include railing each other’s intelligences, the audience’s, and Donald Trump’s is exactly their brand of comedy, and I wouldn’t take it any other way.

IMG_0129 copy

These conversations also proved satirical and almost scripted, such as when a new song about an evil American outlaw with an anagram of Satan (Stana) went on far longer than it really should have, but the first thing Jemaine did was acknowledge how ridiculously long it was and that the audience was likely bored of one extended joke.

The notion of ending it was clearly washed away when a new song about the year 1353 couldn’t be performed until two songs after it was intended because the autoharp Bret needed to play it on had to be retuned. The moment caught Bret, Jemaine, and the lighting techs off-guard, but the comedians they are, the duo improvised the hell out of the scenario. It was indeed one of the best and most genuine (of all the genuine) moments of the whole show, and for its duration, they utilized the two video screens on the sides of the stage for additional kookiness.

Flight of the Conchords already had a song satirizing “Bowie,” but the man’s death this year brought it a little more perspective. The duo even found a way to bridge “Mutha’uckas” and “Hurt Feelings” with the late-Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” which was bittersweet.

Also bittersweet was the fact that FOTC’s set at The Greek Theatre was the last of their North American leg of the tour, and Arj Barker was kind enough to raise his Solo cup to the LA audience, praising the moment. It was definitely a special night of music and comedy done in a way only FOTC knows how, and I’m glad I could make this reunion of sorts with my decade-younger self, realizing that I’m really the same guy looking for “The Most Beautiful Girl (in the Room).”

For more info:

Flight of the Conchords