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Bret McKenzie & Jermaine Clement

'Conchords' duo find an American niche

The most high-profile New Zealand import to hit the States since “Whale Rider” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, these dry cabaret guitarists catapulted over the last five years from playing Wellington pubs to a half-hour spot on HBO’s sked following “Entourage” last summer. The response to their musical sitcom, which follows the Conchords’ bachelorhood as they meander and croon around Gotham, was an immediate hit with twentysomethings — and HBO recently ordered up a second season. If viewers were a little unclear as to what they could expect from this folk-parody pairing, the “love ballad” crooned by Clement in the first episode gave a pretty good inkling: “You’re so beautiful … Like a high-class prostitute … You could be a part-time model.”

Point of view

“We ask ourselves, ‘Would the Monkees have done this?’ And if the answer is yes, then we do it,”  McKenzie says.

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