From 'Conchords' to 'The Muppets' to the Oscars
February 10th, 2012
09:29 AM ET

From 'Conchords' to 'The Muppets' to the Oscars

"Flight of the"... Oscar?

Bret McKenzie, better known as half of the Flight of the Conchords musical duo, got the enormous task of writing songs for "The Muppets," and his "Man or Muppet" track could snag the Grammy winner his first Oscar. He's nominated in a two-song race with a song from "Rio" in the best original song category.

"It's a very surreal and exciting time. This comes as a great surprise," McKenzie told CNN. "I’d love to meet Martin Scorsese [at the Oscars]. Maybe he’d want to do a musical." (Referring to his fellow Oscar nominee, director of the 3-D "Hugo," McKenzie suggested, "Musicals as 4-D. Musicals as the fourth dimension!")

Unfortunately, McKenzie won't get to show Scorsese what he's got at the Oscars. Deadline recently reported that neither "Man or Muppet" or "Real in Rio" would be performed at the ceremony, and McKenzie is just as disappointed as "Muppets" fans.

"From my experience, it’s good to have a couple of songs in a show," he said. Even so, McKenzie is just excited to be attending the Oscars at all.

(In the meantime, "Muppets" star Jason Segel, his co-screenwriter Nick Stoller, and their pal, writer-director Judd Apatow, are supporting petitions and "Twititions" to get members of the Academy to change their minds.)

Thinking back to how a musician and HBO star from New Zealand got to write songs for "The Muppets," McKenzie said, "I was intimidated by the legacy that we were dealing with." Kermit the Frog, he said, left him "starstruck."

"I knew I wouldn’t write another ‘Rainbow Connection.’ I just had a go, did my best."

The creative process involved listening "to as many early ‘70s songs [as] I could," he said. "There is one called ‘Sweet City Woman’ by the Stampeders, which was a real inspiration."

For "Man or Muppet," McKenzie hit upon the idea of making it a power ballad: "It deals with an identity crisis that I think we’ve all had in some stage in our lives."

As for any comparisons between the Muppets and Flight of the Conchords, McKenzie described himself as similar to Kermit, and his partner Jemaine Clement (who, coincidentally enough, played a villain in "Rio") as closest to Miss Piggy.

McKenzie said the pair are still interested in doing a feature film, but in the meantime, they plan to tour Australia and New Zealand while McKenzie ponders doing another Hollywood musical.

"I enjoyed the experience of doing these big musical numbers," he said. "We spent days in the studio recording penguins and rats and all these different monsters [for the final scene in 'The Muppets']. It was just really fun to see them all on screen together singing."


soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Flick-Thru

    February 11, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. San Jose

    I'm such a big fan of FOTC and the Muppets, so this is an amazing combo for me!

    February 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jeffrey

    Hey. Im lame too. Dont forget about me. Im an embicile.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. 1 + 1 = /

    Hi everyone.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. african american santa

    Newports is some fiiiiiiiine smokuses.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. ?

    Its not Christmas without Newports.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. african american santa

    No fried chichen or menthols for nauty childrens.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. african american santa

    HOE HOE HOE. Be nice my children or I wont bring you any whatamellon for Valentines Day.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. ?

    If they eliminate the comments how will you failtroll us?

    February 10, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |

      You say fail-troll but this person obviously got to you, as you are still talking about it and bringing it into other posts. Best way to defeat a troll is to ignore it.

      February 10, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • @10:42

      that's a good one coming from the lame azz troll that started it. lmao

      February 10, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |

    Coolbreeze and Sadie, stop dragging arguments from one post to another and instigating trouble.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. =^-^=

    mew. i like kermit and fozzy bear. mew.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. ?

    That red hairy one, dic4/sigh/whats her name is the evil twin to that beast! *i can play too by tch. U started it. Wanna play some mo?*

    February 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |

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