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On The Late Show, Flight Of The Conchords unveil a new song, beg for a state dinner

Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie
Screenshot: The Late Show

New Zealand’s “fourth most popular folk duo,” Flight Of The Conchords, popped by Monday’s Late Show to explain just where they’ve been since shutting down their enduringly delightful HBO show back in 2009. Short answer: intermittently touring, getting grayer, having a couple of kids (collectively but separately), winning an Oscar (Brett), co-directing vampire comedy cult classics and voicing a genocidal fart (Jemaine). The duo also explained to host Stephen Colbert that they’ve been basking in the aftermath of almost-fame back home in New Zealand, noting that no one there pays them any mind, even though their big comeback-to-HBO special is coming up on October 6. (They can always spot tourists, because they’re the only ones who think it’s cool to see Jemaine Clement or Bret McKenzie walking down the Wellington streets.)

Still, the pair looked to their Late Show notoriety to perhaps snag them an invite to a state dinner at New Zealand’s former preschool/current Prime Minister’s residence (apparently not a joke). Since New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern is coming to the Late Show on Wednesday (she’s in New York addressing the United Nations), Jemaine and Bret accepted Colbert’s invitation to make a direct deadpan appeal to camera for a free dinner at the PM’s.

Not above singing for their state-sponsored supper, the pair then performed a new song, the typically twisted and tuneful “Cats In The Cradle”-esque “Father And Son.” As ever, the joy and the joke of the Conchords is how their consummate musicianship works in tandem with their slyly silly songwriting, here blending lovely call-and-response harmonies and soaring emotion with the gradually revealed tale of a seriously dysfunctional paternal relationship. It’s well worth a free meal, at any rate.


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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.