New Zealand-born vocalist, guitarist, and comedic actor Bret McKenzie shot to fame in the early-mid 2000s -- alongside his ever-present co-star, Jemaine Clement -- as one half of the "digifolk" music act Flight of the Conchords. The duo achieved recognition at comedy festivals in their native Australasian country, with touring schtick that involved singing and playing tongue-in-cheek compositions with goofy and cracked lyrics. Similar to parody music acts like Spinal Tap and Tenacious D, with an even wittier and very dead-pan edge, Flight of the Conchords caught the attention of HBO, who offered the duo their own eponymous satirical sitcom. Premiering in mid-2007, the series cut blithely back and forth between stylized music videos of song performances and an ongoing story about the men moving to Manhattan and attempting to make it there. In addition to his work with Flight of the Conchords, McKenzie also noteably appeared in a small role as an elf in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). In 2011 McKenzie had his highest profile success providing songs for The Muppets including "Man or Muppet" which won him the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Former member of the New Zealand band the Black Seeds and an active member of the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.
- Appeared in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as an unnamed elf; as his Internet popularity grew, the character was dubbed Figwit (an acronym for "Frodo is great. Who is that?").
- Formed Flight of the Conchords---often billed as New Zealand's fourth most popular folk-parody duo---in 1998 with college friend Jemaine Clement.
- Debuted the musical-comedy series Flight of the Conchords on HBO in 2007.