Flight of the Conchords – Live in Concert
Friday night, went to go see FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS in concert. For those who don’t watch their funny HBO show, these are two guys, Bret and Jemaine, from New Zealand who play guitars and write goofy songs. The show has become something of a cult hit – which is pretty obvious since we saw them at the Agganis Center – a sports stadium located on the campus of Boston University – and it looked like the show was sold out. A lot more people than I expected. But I’ve noticed that sports arenas suck as concert halls. Everyone was a tiny figure on stage, but they did have giant TV screens so we could all see them. My seat was way at the other end of the arena.
If you’re into the show, then you know what to expect. The concert started off with Boston comedian Eugene Mirman (who I actually shared a stage with a few times at the Comedy Studio when I did stand-up in 2001). Mirman has pretty much gone to bigger fame in New York these days. He’s not a household name yet, but he has had stand-up shows on TV and roles on small comedy shows like FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS. On that show, he plays the guys’ landlord. So he opened the show and he’s always funny.
Then came the nights highlight(for me), Kristen Schaal. She plays Mel on the show, the guys’ obsessed (and only) fan. She’s also a veteran comedian in her own right and gave us some of the most entertaining moments of the night. Besides telling some jokes, she also did some “theater pieces” including a play involving a pot and a wooden spoon, and a hilarious bit where she donned a foam mattress (with a hole cut out for her head) and performed a monologue from a play called something like “Confessions of a Mattress.” Great stuff.
Then Bret and Jemaine came out and played some songs and chatted to the audience between numbers. I think their songs are pretty hit or miss, and I liked about half of them. Some of the chatter slowed things down, as it seemed they really didn’t know what to talk about. Unlike the show, which is structured and often hilarious, the live performance just wasn’t up to snuff. But they’re amiable guys and likable enough. I didn’t stay for the encore, mainly because the place was packed and I figured it would take forever to get out of there once the show ended.
The audience was mostly college kids, which was okay, but outside after the show we got to deal with lots of drunks who obviously didn’t have a lot of experience with alcohol and varied from the funny to the just plain annoying. The ushers at the venue really sucked. Instead of showing people to their seats, they just said “go down there” and lots of people (including us) were in their wrong seats and had to move at various times during the show. Because we had to change places, I missed about half of Kristen Schaal’s act, which pissed me off. All in all, a so-so show. I didn’t think it was really worth the ticket price, and it would have been much more successful in a smaller, more intimate concert hall. But hey, if you’re a big fan of the show, you might want to check them out live.
I also finally watched the movie TROPIC THUNDER. I know just about everyone else on the planet has seen it by now, but I didn’t catch it at the movies and I was waiting for it to show up on cable. The story of a group of pampered actors who are filming a war movie and get thrust in a real-life struggle with a vicious drug cartel on location is pretty funny.
I’m not a huge Ben Stiller fan yet, but he is likable enough. Robert Downey Jr. as an Oscar-winning Australian actor who changes his skin pigmentation to play a black character is just brilliant in the flick. Jack Black as a heroin-addicted fat comic trying to do a drama has his moments, but I still think he was the weakest thing in the movie. It’s funny, I loved this guy in the HBO show TENACIOUS D, and even in his breakout role in SCHOOL OF ROCK, but ever since I just find him annoying most of the time. A little Jack Black goes a long way.
But, aside from Downey, I was most thrilled with a lot of actors in smaller roles, like Bill Hader (from SNL and he was the funny cop in SUPERBAD) who plays the lackey to a foul-mouthed studio head (played really well by Tom Cruise), the great Steve Coogan as the movie’s pretentious British director (too bad he’s not in the movie more), Nick Nolte as a handless war vet with a secret (Nolte is almost always excellent), and of course my comedy hero these days, Danny McBride as an insane pyrotechnics guy who loves to blow things up and set things on fire. His role was pretty much another variation on the Kenny Powers character he played in his HBO show EASTBOUND AND DOWN, but nobody plays a loud-mouthed asshole like Danny.
As for Tom Cruise, his make-up was really good (I thought he’d just be in a fat suit, but the make-up was much more effective than that), and he was pretty hilarious as a tough-as-nails executive. Although I could have done without a lot of his “dance moves.”
So overall, a decent flick. I thought it might be a bit funnier. But not a bad movie at all. That’s it for now. I’m going to try to get some writing done today before I head back to the grind of another week or work.