Funny Folk: 'Conchords' Co-Creator James Bobin James Bobin is the co-creator and director of HBO's series Flight Of The Conchords. He has been nominated for eight Emmys since 2003 for his work on Conchords and Da Ali G Show.

Funny Folk: 'Conchords' Co-Creator James Bobin

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I'm Terry Gross. My guest James Bobin is the co-creator, co-writer and director of the HBO series,"Flight of the Conchords," a comedy about a band of the same name. Bobin helped the Conchords, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, build a TV show around their catchy song parodies like this one.

(Soundbite of song from "Flight of the Conchords")

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS: (Singing) Girl. Tonight we're going to make love. You know how I know? Because it's Wednesday. And Wednesday night is the night that we usually make love. Monday night is my night to cook. Tuesday night we go and visit your mother. But Wednesday, we make sweet, weekly love. It's when everything is just right. There's nothing good on TV. You haven't had your after-work social sports team practice, so you're not too tired. Oh, boy. It's all on. You lean in and whisper something sexy in my ear, like, I might go to bed now, I've got work in the morning. I know what you're trying to say, girl. You're trying to say, oh, yeah. It's business time. It's business time. It's business, it's business time. I know what you're trying to say. You're trying to say it's time for business and business time. Oohh. It's business, it's business time. Ohhhh.

GROSS: That's a song from last season's "Flight of the Conchords." The second season started a couple of weeks ago. The series still centers around the adventures of two awkward musicians who came to New York from their native New Zealand to try and make it in the music business. The show draws on the real experiences of Clement and McKenzie and incorporates their songs, which parody soul, pop and hip-hop.

The duo, Flight of the Conchords, started performing as a comedy act in the '90s. James Bobin was brought on by HBO to help them turn their act into a series. Bobin had previously helped Sasha Baron Cohen create the characters of Ali G, Borat and Bruno for "Da Ali G Show." At the beginning of this season of "Flight of the Conchords," Bret and Jermaine are even more down on their luck. Their manager, Murray, is managing an act that's made it big, the Crazy Dogs. Bret and Jermaine are tired of being ignored by Murray, so during a meeting with Murray, they decide to end their relationship with him. Murray is played by Rhys Darby.

(Soundbite of TV show "Flight of the Conchords")

Mr. BRET MCKENZIE: (As Bret) Dear Murray, we want to fire you as our manager.

Mr. RHYS DARBY: (As Murray) What?

Mr. JERMAINE CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) What?

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) What's your reasoning, Bret?

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) You spend all of your time on the Crazy Dogs and you don't really spend any time on us.

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) Before you came to me, you were poor and you had no gigs. Now look at you.

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) We're poor and we've got no gigs.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) We're slightly poorer.

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) Really?

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Yeah, Bret's only got one shoe.

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) Aw, Bret, is that what this is about? One shoe?

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) No, it's not about the shoe.

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) I just lost my shoe.

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) It's not a problem. What size are you?

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) Size nine.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) It's not about the shoe, It's about...

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) Your right foot. Yeah, hi. Murray here. I need a right foot shoe.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Murray, we're firing you. We're going to manage ourselves.

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) Fine. I understand it. OK, fine. You know what? Actually, there's another item here on the agenda I missed out. Ah yes, here it is. Item four. Stuff you!

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) You sure that's not for the Crazy Dogs?

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) Stuff you, Jermaine! And stuff you, Bret. And stuff you again, Jermaine.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Why did I get double-stuffed?

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) I don't need you guys. You're un-needed. OK? I've got the Crazy Dogs. They're making hit after hit. Doggy Bounce, number one. "Doggy Dance, number five. In the Pound, number 37. It's not going to stop. It's never going to stop. They're a hit-making machine. Look at their gold records. And just to let you know, your awards over there, they're fake. I had to make them myself! They're pencil sharpeners stuck to a couple of bits of wood to make you feel better.

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) We didn't win the Grammys?

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) No, you didn't.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) I thought we won best New Zealand artist?

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) There's no such category, Jermaine.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: James Bobin, welcome to Fresh Air.

Mr. BOBIN: Thanks very much.

GROSS: So that was from the first episode of this season of "Flight of the Conchords." So, Murray's success, we should point out, is very short-lived.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BOBIN: Yes, of course, of course. Yes, the Crazy Dogs come to a sticky end.

GROSS: So, I love "Flight of the Conchords." You met Bret and Jermaine at the Edinburgh Festival back in 2000. And I think then you were asked eventually by HBO to start a series with them.

Mr. BOBIN: That's right.

GROSS: What were your - what was the initial process like of working out what the show would actually be?

Mr. BOBIN: Well, I actually first saw Bret and Jermaine at the Edinburgh Festival in a small cave. Edinburgh is a city which in August every year hosts literally thousands of comedy shows, and so every venue which could possibly be a venue - from pub back rooms to cellars - become venues. And I heard of this band from New Zealand. I went up in week two - it's a four-week festival. And by the time I arrived in week two, there was quite a lot of people talking about these two guys from New Zealand who sang comedy songs.

When I got there, the room was absolutely jam-packed. You know, it seats about 50 with about 100 people in there. And these two sort of vaguely nervous, bumbling guys stumbled onto stage. And there was something immediately quite charming because you felt, I don't know, sympathy, empathy with them in their situation. They didn't seem that confident in their performance.

But then they proceeded to do the best - one of the best comedy hours I've ever seen whereby they not only had sort of 10 to 12 brilliant songs, but the banter in between the songs was fantastic. I mean, hilarious. And the key for me was that I wanted to make the live show quite an important part of the TV show. So, in a very direct translation, you take their live songs and create music videos of those and take the banter between Bret and Jermaine onstage and create a narrative from that banter.

But it was very clear from a very early stage that we all shared a similar idea of what the show could be. And we sort of all just sat around and imaged how that might be and were all a bit nervous about the fact that musicals often don't work. And I very clearly remember going down, when we were sort of developing the idea, going to the Museum of Television History in Beverly Hills and calling up all existing copies of Steve Bochco's show, "Cop Rock." And the three of us sat there around this monitor watching this show, which I think is either the most-ahead-of-its-time show ever, or I just can't ever imagine how ever it came to pass. But it was really quite an interesting watch in terms of how we - how people approach music in TV.

GROSS: One of the great things about "Flight of the Conchords" is that there's all these sort of wonderful parodies of rock videos.

Mr. BOBIN: Sure.

GROSS: And in episode two of this season when the band is really completely broke, their electricity has been turned off, Bret's had to hock his guitar.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BOBIN: Yes.

GROSS: So they decide that Jermaine is going to become a prostitute and Bret will be his pimp.

Mr. BOBIN: Naturally.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BOBIN: Of course, what else are you going to do in that situation?

GROSS: And of course, they completely misinterpret, like, how prostitution works. And there's...

Mr. BOBIN: Yes, they have a very innocent idea of what prostitution actually is.

GROSS: Yeah, why don't you explain?

Mr. BOBIN: Largely divined from the film, "Pretty Woman."

GROSS: Right.

Mr. BOBIN: All the way around.

GROSS: So here's that scene you're talking about in which Jermaine is trying to convince Bret that they can become prostitutes.

(Soundbite of TV show "Flight of the Conchords")

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Bret, you know how you told me you were good at sex? Are you?

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) That was just because you asked me in front of Sally.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Right, yeah. OK. Well, you were lying, then?

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) No, I was exaggerating a little bit. No...

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Well...

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) Exaggerating.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Maybe Mel's right. Maybe we could be prostitutes. Prostitution is a quick way of making money. It is not degrading. It is not degrading. Have you seen "Pretty Woman"?

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) No.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Well, it's the story about a prostitute called Richard Gere who gets to go out with a pretty woman, Julia Roberts, who pays him a lot of money. You think Julia Roberts is a pretty woman?

Mr. MCKENZIE: (As Bret) Yes.

Mr. CLEMENT: (As Jermaine) Well, imagine getting to have sex with women similar to Julia Roberts and getting paid for it.

GROSS: That's a scene from episode two of this season's "Flight of the Conchords." My guest, James Bobin, directed that episode. He's a writer and director on the series and also co-created it.

So there's a great scene in which Bret is singing what is really a parody of the Sting song, "Roxanne."

Mr. BOBIN: Yes.

GROSS: And in "Roxanne," the lyric is, Roxanne, you don't have to put on your red light. And in (laughing) - in this, it's like, Jermaine, you don't have to be a prostitute.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: So I thought, let's...

Mr. BOBIN: Yes, you spotted it. Well done.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: Yeah, so let's...

Mr. BOBIN: Well...

GROSS: Yeah, go ahead.

Mr. BOBIN: It was an idea that Jermaine had a while ago. He liked - I think it's one of those songs which for us was a funny idea in the first place that anyone would ever sing a song about someone being a prostitute. The idea that you could somehow stop them from being a prostitute by singing to them was to us an hilarious idea. And Jermaine had that idea a while ago.

There's actually a song called "Maxine," which is by a New Zealand artist, which is - literally was released probably two years after the Police song, "Roxanne" and is remarkably similar in many ways. And that was also an inspiration to us in terms of the idea that you could actually somehow solve prostitution by singing about it.

So, from a very early point we thought it was quite a funny idea. And then, of course, it sort of fitted into our narrative, that - we liked the idea that Bret and Jermaine are poor because that's what happens when you first move to a foreign country. You are poor. And you don't see very much of that on television, so it was quite important for us to sort of let that part of the story play.

GROSS: Well, why don't we hear the song?

(Soundbite of TV show "Flight of the Conchords")

FLIGHT OF THE CONCORDS: (Singing) It's a cold night underneath the streetlight. There's a man whose pants are too tight. Oh, no. His pants are too tight. My pants are too tight. He stands there, an empty stare. Trying to make enough money for his cab fare home. He'll have to walk home tonight. Don't have enough for the ride. The streets are cool, he tries to act cool. He goes to work with only his one tool. You can put away your tool. Jermaine. You don't have to be a prostitute. No, no, no, no, no, you can say no to being a man whore, a male gigolo. You don't have to be a prostitute. No, no, no, no, no. You can say no to being a night-looker, boy hooker, red boy, go ho ho home...

GROSS: So that's Bret McKenzie singing to Jemaine Clement "You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute" from episode two of this season's HBO series, "Flight of the Conchords." My guest James Bobin is one of the writers and directors of the series, and he directed this episode.

It must be so much fun to direct parodies of rock videos. Have you found yourself going back to a lot of classic rock videos to get...

Mr. BOBIN: All the time.

GROSS: Little details that you could pay homage to?

Mr. BOBIN: All the time. We try not to directly parody them or spoof them too much because I think - I generally believe there is a great grammar of music videos - these are videos that have been around for such a long time, every since the Bohemian Rhapsody in the 1970s - that I think certain ways videos were shot instantly mean that you recognize that there is cues that directors and DP's used at that time.

For example, if you showed an '80s video, it's all about back light and ground fog and, you know, it's that sort of stuff. So I think there is a grammar to music videos that people will recognize if you shoot them that way. They'll say, oh, that's like an '80s video, that's a '90s video. And I use a lot of that sort of thing.

GROSS: Right, right. So, you go back and you study these videos and get inspiration. So you just spend a lot of time looking for videos...

Mr. BOBIN: Yeah...

GROSS: And just getting ideas?

Mr. BOBIN: We - when we're supposed to be writing the shows, which is for quite a long time. We spend quite - far too much of our time on YouTube watching old videos because they are so inspirational and so fantastic, both music and for visuals. Because of course, I think they were the great heyday videos like in the '80s when the budgets were enormous, and so they went completely over the top, and they are, as a consequence, hilarious to watch just on their own. I mean, we just - they are a gift to us because they're so fantastic.

And also, they're - I've always loved music. My father was a DJ at Radio Oxford in the '60s. I always remember when I was about 10, he gave me a huge box of 45s of '60s and '70s music, so I know far, far too much about music that was made before I was born. But from - from an early age I always loved music, and I think music videos became very much almost half the - you know, music videos were an integral part of music in the '80s and '90s. And not so much these days, sadly, but I think in those days it was a really important aspect of the single release was the video. The video was very important selling tool...

GROSS: Which...

Mr. BOBIN: And so they spend a lot of money.

GROSS: Which were the videos that meant the most to you when you were actually watching them for real as opposed to watching them after?

Mr. BOBIN: Well, several of the ones I haven't really - we never really used. I remember there was a very good video for True Faith by New Order in the '80s. It was a great video, I think directed by a French director, which is a fantastic dance routine with guys wearing - sort of slapping each other and sort of falling over. And I think the guy subsequently went on to choreograph the Olympics. So obviously, a very good, a very influential French director. Lots of Grace Jones videos from the early '80s, which is spectacularly brilliant. Really clever stuff, very clever in terms of their artistic work.

And this year, I've been watching a lot of Kate Bush and Bonnie Tyler videos because Bonnie Tyler - there is a video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart," which I love because I think it's the most nonsensical video of all time.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BOBIN: I recommend watching that. It literally makes no sense at all. It's set in a boys' school, and I think she's supposed to be playing a teacher of some sort, but there's a sort of weird demon angel child following her around, and there are ninjas in it, and it's just completely over the top. But I love that. And so...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BOBIN: That's making an appearance later in the series. I'm sure everyone will spot it. It's very easy to spot.

GROSS: Well, I can't wait. And the song is so over the top and operatic and everything.

Mr. BOBIN: It's ridiculous. Fantastic. Meatloaf, Jim Steinman, bombastic pop. I love it.

GROSS: Bombastic, exactly.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GROSS: So what was in that box of 45s that your father gave you?

Mr. BOBIN: My goodness, just extraordinary stuff. Obviously, lots of Beatles stuff. But even bizarre things. I mean, just weird late sixties, a lot of early seventies stuff. A lot of T.Rex. I remember having a T.Rex single - double. I think "Get It On" was the A side. And obscure bands like Atomic Rooster and Canned Heat, which obviously, Heat were fantastic. And so I think as a seven-year-old, I had a very strange taste in music. When my friends were listening to Adam and the Ants and Wham, I was listening to Canned Heat and sort of straight, you know, rocksy music.

GROSS: My guest is James Bobin, the co-creator, co-writer and director of the HBO series, "Flight Of The Conchords." More after our break. This is Fresh Air.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: My guest James Bobin co-created "Da Ali G Show" and is now the co-creator, co-writer and director of the HBO comedy series, "Flight Of The Conchords" about two clueless musicians trying to make it in New York.

So in "Flight Of The Conchords," Rhys Darby plays the Conchords' agent, Murray, who works at the New Zealand consulate.

Mr. BOBIN: He does. He...

GROSS: But he really wants to be a - like a rock star manager although his only clients are the Conchords. In episode one of this season, after the Conchords fire Murray as their manager, he gets to sing a very operatic song called "Rejected." And it seems like it's a parody of an Andrew Lloyd Webber song from a show that I stayed away from. I have no idea if it's a direct parody of a particular song or not.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BOBIN: No, it's not really a direct parody. It is certainly Andrew Lloyd Webberesque. I just - last year we sang the song called "Leggy Blonde," which I thought was a highlight for me of the last season. And this year, I wanted to start the show with a surprise. So it, "Rejected," it sort of came out that idea whereby there'd be a song straight away, and it wouldn't be sung by Bret and Jemaine.

And the style of it was partly just because the melodrama of the situation. We loved the idea that Rhys would take the firing of - being fired very personally and see it as a great tragedy. And I thought one of the great purveyors of this sort of melodrama these days is Andrew Webber and Tim Rice. And so, that was sort of the inspiration behind that one. And then it was just a question of finding words that ended in "ed."

GROSS: I don't think it there's one word in the dictionary that rhymes with rejected that you haven't used in this song.

Mr. BOBIN: No, it's pretty much the entire - yes, exactly. Yes.

GROSS: Why don't we hear some of it? So, this is the character of Murray, who's played by Rhys Darby, singing "Rejected" in "Flight Of The Conchords."

(Soundbite of TV show "Flight of the Concords")

Mr. DARBY: (As Murray) (Singing) Rejected, thrown away, affected. I don't know what to say Rejected, cast out to the sea Disconnected, they didn't want me.

Rejected, like a baby in the snow, Rejected, like a cloud without a storm. I objected, pretended I was unaffected, But still ended up rejected...

GROSS: That's Rhys Darby as Murray the manager in "Flight Of The Conchords" singing "Rejected." My guest James Bobin is the co-creator of the show. He wrote the episode that this is from and is also a director on the series.

Is that Rhys Darby's real voice? Does he have that operatic a voice?

Mr. BOBIN: (Laughing) I'd rather not say, to be honest. No, no, it's not Rhys's voice.

GROSS: I would take that as a no.

Mr. BOBIN: No, it's a no. It's a no. Rhys has quite a pretty good voice, but not that good. That is one of the leading tenors in New York who supplied the voice there. But yes, it's not his real voice.

GROSS: In "Flight Of The Conchords," Kristen Schaal plays Mel, who's the fan base. She's like the only fan of the band, and she's kind of wacky. She's really fun in it. You know, in the series, "Mad Men," she initially played like somebody who was one of the phone operators at the advertising agency, and then she just kind of disappeared from the series. And she was on "The Daily Show" for at least a couple of episodes.

Mr. BOBIN: Yes.

GROSS: Were you in on casting her for the series?

Mr. BOBIN: Yes, very much. Yes. No, I chose her because we're aware of her work from Aspen, the comedy festival over in Aspen. We were big fans. Actually, I - I actually cast her from a tape. I never met her. I watched the tape of her doing her show in Aspen, and it was just a brilliant start. She came out and said, hello, I'm a sexy librarian. And I thought, this is exactly the sort of person I wanted Mel to be, is the sexy librarian. I just liked the idea of her being - and also the character, I didn't want the character to be too two-dimensional in the sense that a lot of bands have quite odd fans who are almost obsessive in their following.

I wanted to have a grounding, and that's why I gave her a husband and a job. And the husband is very indulgent in her obsession with the Conchords, and I found that an interesting idea because in the same way that Murray's got a job and he's doing something else, therefore it's kind of a real character. Mel is helped by the fact that she has a real life outside of the Conchords. And the Conchords are kind of like a strange sort of part of her life which isn't really referenced to the rest of her life.

But anyway, Kristen is a fantastic stand-up. Most of the people on the show are stand-up comedians. And that was something I was really keen to do because I love the idea of them being able to improvise because that always helps to the freshness of the show.

GROSS: My guest is James Bobin, the co-creator, co-writer and director of the HBO series, "Flight Of The Conchords." More after a break. This is Fresh Air.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is James Bobin, and he co-created, co-writes and directs the series, "The Flight Of The Conchords" on HBO. The second season started a couple of weeks ago. James Bobin also co-created "Da Ali G Show," the Sacha Baron Cohen series.

And you worked on that in England and in the United States. Being in on it right from the beginning, can you talk a little bit about what the original concept was for the show?

Mr. BOBIN: Yeah. I'm - I remember very clearly going - I got a job on a show for the "Eleven O'clock Show," which is the sort of the U.K. version of "The Daily Show." And it was basically - it was recorded at 11 o'clock at night, hence the name, but the show is largely recorded during that day, so it was very topical news. But there were some sort of - what we call, insert - BT insert, which is basically prerecorded stuff we put into the show, and I was in charge of that department of recording stuff which was going to supplement the show.

And so I went into the first day of the job. My producer sat me down and said, I've got a tape here of some people who want to be on the show. It's an hour long, sit down and watch it and tell me what you think. And I remember sitting down and watching this tape of 40 or 50 or so people doing various sketches. And the one that completely struck me was this guy sitting in a room talking to a professor of economics, anonymous school of economics, about the English economy in terms of how it - using the analogy of a dance club.

So he was saying, if the economy is a nightclub, who's the DJ? And the economist, completely baffled by this, eventually started answering, the DJ? Oh, that would be the Chancellor of the Exchequer. And I thought this was a brilliant idea that you could use this sort of analogy of youth culture in the world of incredibly serious world of politics or economics.

And so I said to my producer, this guy is a great character. We should definitely do this. And that guy, of course, was Sacha doing Ali G, a very early inclination of Ali G, and from there on it was a sort of question of pushing the character forward. It was an idea of having a non - a fictional character in the real world. An English comedian called Chris Morris had pioneered this idea several years earlier in a show called "Braeside," which was hugely influential on us.

But it was really sort of the idea of putting a fake character which people thought was real into the real world and seeing how they reacted because we felt we couldn't really lose because in a way, when Sacha as Ali G met people who hadn't met a young person - sometimes for years - they always totally believed that he was who he said he was because this is their sort of worst fears realized of youth culture today. And so, it always sort of worked very well, I felt.

GROSS: Were you in on the creation of Sacha Baron Cohen's character, Bruno, who's a fashion reporter who goes to real fashion shows? And...

Mr. BOBIN: Yes, yes. Well, Bruno was a character that Sacha had previously done in England several years ago, and he was a sort of a feat reporter. I think the Austrian thing came from us, the idea he's from Austria because I think the Austria angle was quite interesting as being the lesser-known Germany, basically, and people over here always think he says Australia. But of course, it's Austria, and Austria has a great history of its own.

You know, Bruno came about because we wanted to do something else for the American series. In England, we did Ali G and Borat. Borat was the new character for the English sake, "Da Ali G" series, and Bruno was the third person we brought in for the American series. And it was just a chance to explore another aspect of American culture from a different perspective. And in a way, a lot of it was about trying to engage people.

Not - it wasn't - it's always interesting in terms of trying - we don't ever sort of (inaudible), but the show works on a number of levels, and I always felt that's quite interesting the way that Bruno provoked a response and often a homophobic response, which I was always, you know, pleased to show because I think it's probably one of the last few - almost in some parts, acceptable sort of phobia.

GROSS: Well, why don't we hear a clip of Bruno? And this is from an episode of "Da Ali G Show." And Bruno is at a fashion show talking with a fashion stylist.

(Soundbite of TV show "Da Ali G Show")

Mr. SACHA BARON COHEN: (As Bruno) What is the philosophy of the show?

Unidentified Actress: It's kind of like trailer trash. Trailer park trash.

BRUNO: What is this, trailer trash?

Unidentified Actress: It's kind of like, I guess, backwoods from like - just like the middle of nowhere, kind of poor, dressing what you have around.

BRUNO: So they are very primitive rubbish people?

Unidentified Actress: Kind of, yeah.

BRUNO: So tell me, do you hope that these white trash - trashing people will buy the clothes?

Unidentified Actress: I don't think they could afford it.

BRUNO: They are too poor. (Laughing) Life is not fair. We take the clothes from the homeless people and we sell them in the shop.

Unidentified Actress: Right. Jack up the price.

BRUNO: And then the homeless cannot buy them.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Actress: Definitely. Definitely.

BRUNO: That is the beauty of fashion.

Unidentified Actress: Yeah.

GROSS: Are there things about the fashion world when you were working on the Bruno character - and you've probably been working on the movie, too. Have you been working on the movie?

Mr. BOBIN: I have, yes.

GROSS: So have you gone to fashion shows and found certain things absurd about the fashion world?

Mr. BOBIN: Yes. Well, I think there are huge parts of the fashion world that are completely absurd, and one of them is the idea of what they are themselves and how important it is in the world. One of our favorite jokes is the importance of fashion in the world is being more important than doctors or, you know, the idea that fashion people take themselves very seriously.

And one of our favorite jokes is always let themselves - let them tell everyone else how important they took themselves. So, it was really a question of just - it really wasn't a question of observing. I already knew that about fashion and enough - certainly enough to be able to write jokes in terms of letting them sort of talk themselves into a very untenable position. And it was just a question of Bruno lining them up, really.

GROSS: James Bobin, I want to thank you a lot for talking with us.

Mr. BOBIN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

GROSS: James Bobin is the co-creator, co-writer and director of the HBO comedy series, "Flight Of The Conchords." Episode three of the second season will be shown Sunday. You can download podcasts of our show on our Web site, I'm Terry Gross.

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