Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement, left, and Bret McKenzie perform at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday. View the photo gallery.
The New Zealand comedy duo Flight of the Conchords landed at the Chicago Theatre Wednesday night for a sold-out show. Associate editor Nora O’Donnell and I tripped over ourselves to get tickets, then tripped over ourselves to rehash the show over IM today. Here’s an excerpt from my chat with Nora, in which the main point of contention is a debate over Bret or Jemaine. Where do you side?
Cassie: What did you think of the show?
Nora: Awesome, with a small pang of disappointment when it came to the crowd.
Cassie: Yeah, I wanted to silence that one dude who kept shouting “Take Off Your Pants!” Although, admittedly, I wouldn’t have minded if someone did.
Nora: How was the view from up close?
Cassie: I could see them sweat. It was great. Where were you?
Nora: Really? Sigh. I would try to hold out a Snapple bottle and capture some of their essence if I were that close. I was up in the box seats…getting my drinks from my personal cocktail waitress.
Cassie: Are you in love?
Nora: Yes…here’s the question: Are you for Bret or Jemaine? Most are for Jemaine. Apparently, some woman in Texas has a picture of Jemaine’s lips in her wallet.
Cassie: That’s a good question. In my 20s, I would have been a Jemaine girl. Now that I’m 30, I have to say Bret. You?
Nora: Jemaine. The novelty of his pseudo Barry White voice hasn’t worn off yet.
Cassie: That’s because you’re still in your 20s! See, Nora, when you cross the threshold of 30…
Nora: You want the wimpy, bird-armed elf? Me, I still want the ogre.
Cassie: Ha! Very funny. No, you want the guy who will actually stick around. Bret seems reliable. I would have to forgive his slip-on Keds, though.
Nora: Oh no! Not slip-on Keds.
Cassie: How did you think their shtick translates live?
Nora: Well, considering that’s they way they started out, I think it works well. But now that everyone knows the songs in the context of the show, I’m not sure if it enriches the experience or makes it stale.
Cassie: I realized, seeing them live, that they’re actually fairly talented musicians. Not David Bowie or anything, but they can play.
Nora: True, because if they were David Bowie, they’d be transmitting the show from outer space via their nipples.
Cassie: They’re so silly! Did you see anybody in the crowd over 35?
Nora: Well…in the box area, yes. But was this an all-ages show? I swear I saw 14-year-olds sipping Cokes. That’s something that’s kind of nice about them—they’re very PG. Most of the time. Or PG-13. Like a slightly raunchy 80s movie for teens. And, to go back to your point about their talent as musicians, I do give them props for the number of genres they cover.
Cassie: How many instruments did they trot out? Six? Seven?
Nora: That sounds about right. It’s very different from the one-trick pony of Tenacious D.
Cassie: Agreed. What was the highlight for you last night?
Nora: Hmm…this sounds lame, but I think it was Bret’s wave at the very, very end. It was the sweetest, most childish wave I’ve ever seen executed by a grown man. So joyful, so silly. So that, and maybe Jemaine’s grunts. How ’bout you?
Cassie: Giiirl, you got the Jemaine fever! I liked the new song, when Bret became the chorus of all of Jemaine’s ex-girlfriends. Jemaine kept singing for a while, and then he goes, “Shut up girlfriends from the past!” I thought the guy next to me was going to drop his beer he was laughing so hard.
Nora: Ha. This is true. Also, I enjoyed the new “You know I’m freaky” song as well. Along with the amplified Casio keyboard
Cassie: Did you go home and dream of the Conchords?
Nora: Yes, I believe I did. I think it might’ve involved me riding Pegasus with Murray at one point, but don’t all dreams?
Photograph: Esther Kang