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Five minutes with Jemaine Clement

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Five minutes with Jemaine Clement

Five minutes with Jemaine Clement

A quick catch-up with Kiwi musical comedian and actor, Jemaine Clement, on his new TV series, comedy icons and vampires.

Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement is the brains behind FX’s new comedy series, What We Do In the Shadows, based on his eponymous mockumentary of the same name. While the 2014 movie was set in New Zealand about a group of vampires living in Wellington, the backdrop for the much-awaited TV series is New York City which provides endless comedic moments full of obstacles for the blood-sucking creatures.

Where did you get inspiration for these vampire stories?

They are all based on traditional vampire stories.

The movie was a successful mockumentary – there have been so many good ones – what’s your favourite?

There’s a very early mockumentary from New Zealand in the 70s about a character called Fredd Dagg, a farmer, and they follow him around for half an hour. It’s the best TV show that still runs in New Zealand and it’s been on for 40 years.

Are you a binge watcher?

I do binge when I have no discipline in my life. I’m like, ‘Just another one, just another one!’ It’s just like pigging out! And if you do it all at once, it’s slightly disappointing at the end because if you really enjoyed it, you’ve just blown it all.

What TV do you enjoy watching?

I was watching Russian Doll the other day, which was really well done. It’s something that has a logic and sticks to it. I love Game of Thrones. It’s amazing that people have grown up on that show. Some of them were children when they started and now they’re adults.

What’s your biggest energy drainer?

I would say getting notes from the network when I am on a conference call and I’m with all the writers sitting down and the execs are telling us what they think of the scripts.

What do they say?

(imitates American network executive) “I thought this part could be a little more clear.” (laughs)

Who are your comedy icons? What comedies do you enjoy watching?

My favourite TV comedies are the stuff you watched when you were a kid. But the first thing that made me interested in comedy was Black Adder. It was the first time I had laughed watching TV in the same way that you laugh with your friends or your siblings. Until then I didn’t know it was possible from just watching a box.

What is your relationship to social media?

If I was to advise myself now, I would say, ‘Don’t go on Twitter!’ (laughs) It’s my only wipe out. It’s such a horrible place, Twitter. If it was a country, it would be such a horrible country. But you can still learn about some interesting things and follow some interesting people. I was following Yoko Ono, and one of my favourite filmmakers Alejandro Jodorowsky is on there. I have to translate what he says, but I like seeing his Tweets anyway.

Is Twitter a better country than Instagram?

Instagram is a country where you’re all working out together all the time and eating food. Twitter is where everyone is shouting at each other and misunderstanding what each other is saying.

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