jemaine clement interview

This weekend, audiences will have an opportunity to see Jemaine Clement like they’ve never seen him before, as an asshole writer. He stars in the new Jared Hess comedy Gentlemen Broncos, in which he takes on the voice, the hair, and the high waist jeans of Dr. Ronald Chevalier. The good doctor is a washed up sci-fi/fantasy author who steals a hapless teenager’s work and tries to push it off as his own. With a role like that how could he not be interested?

In our one on one interview with Clement not only did we discuss his work in Broncos, but his hit comedy series Flight of the Conchords, his character in the upcoming animated feature Despicable Me, and the one person in Hollywood he considers his comedic idol.

Check out our interview…

Jemaine Clement is a talented comedy writer, so in order for him to be interested in doing a film, it’s all about the script. For Gentlemen Broncos, he explained that the script was different, but in a good way…

I liked the script I thought it was really funny, and it stood out as being different from a lot of other scripts I’ve read. Different doesn’t necessarily mean better, but it’s really encouraging that there are alternatives to the usual story. And I was also a big fan of his two previous movies.

There are a lot of funny scenes in Broncos, but I had to know which was his favorite to film. Without giving too much away, it turns out he enjoyed shooting a certain confrontation scene that involved him being assaulted with a fluffy object.

It seems ridiculous, but I really liked the way it turned out. It’s when he’s knocking me over with this tiny pillow, which seems like a physical impossibility, but it’s actually funny.

He also spoke about the “Rocky Mountain Couture” that his character wore in the film, where snug jeans, turtle necks, and vests were the norm. He stated, “In Jared’s mind the pants can never really be high enough.”

despicable me poster

After an experience of that nature, Clement took on a drastically different role in the upcoming animated feature Despicable Me. The film centers on an evil super-villain who tries to steal the Moon, but his plans are interrupted by three orphan girls who see him as a prospective father figure. According to the basic description from the movie, Clement voices a character named Tim, a fact the actor seemed a bit unsure about.

[Laughs] Tim? I don’t know where Tim comes from, maybe it is called Tim. That must be on IMDB. It’s actually more than one character, he’s a clone, so they all kind of have the same voice. There are many characters that are all exactly the same, and I do an alien accent in an undefinable language.

The super-villain in Despicable Me is voiced by Steve Carell, and even though they hadn’t met during filming, Clement did run into the actor and several of his other co-stars on the awards circuit.

Yeah, I’ve met quite a few of them, just through different things. I met Steve Carell at the Emmy’s, he came up and congratulated us about the show nominations, which I would never do [laughs]. Kristen Wiig‘s in it, she was on our show, and she’s really funny. I’m a big fan of hers.

flight of the conchords emmys

The show he’s referring to is the hit HBO comedy Flight of the Conchords. It received a boatload of Emmy nods for their past season, earning a spot in most of the major categories including Lead Actor in a Comedy for Clement.

I think one of the most insane jobs in comedy is probably writing. I think that’s the one we were the most proud of that we were nominated for last year. It was particularly flattering, because it was four 30 Rock’s and us, and we managed to get in there. I was very proud of that.

With all the accolades and the growing attention, it makes you wonder, who makes Jemaine laugh? Who’s his comedic inspiration as not only an actor but a writer?

I really admire Larry David. I think he’s one of my favorite writers. He breaks a lot of the normal rules of comedy in what a circumstance should be like. A lot of writers like his show [comedy writers], even though in a way it’s a formula, it’s always cleverly done. He’s probably my sitcom writing hero. Another show I really loved was The Garry Shandling Show, and I like a lot of British comedy.

After speaking with Jemaine you learn pretty quickly that there’s more behind those glasses than you think. He’s a talented actor, writer, and musician who’s well on his way to becoming something bigger than any of us can imagine. Maybe one day he’ll find himself working side by side with his idol, or finally winning an Emmy for his comedic writing. Either way, with a hit show under his belt, and a star-making performance in Gentlemen Broncos, who knows what the future holds.

You can see Jemaine in Gentlemen Broncos, when it opens in theaters everywhere October 30th.