|Birth name||Bret Peter Tarrant McKenzie|
|Also known as||Rhymenoceros|
|Born||29 June 1976|
Wellington, New Zealand
|Relatives||Deirdre Tarrant (mother)|
Peter McKenzie (father)
Bret Peter Tarrant McKenzie ONZM (born 29 June 1976) is a New Zealand musician, comedian, music supervisor, and actor. He is best known as one half of musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords along with Jemaine Clement. In the 2000s, the duo's comedy and music became the basis of a BBC radio series and then an oft-lauded American television series, which aired for two seasons on HBO. Active since 1998, the duo released their most recent comedy special, Live in London, in 2018.
Primarily a musician, McKenzie has worked as a songwriter and music supervisor for film and television since the 2010s. He served as music supervisor for two Muppet films, The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014), the former of which won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song "Man or Muppet". In the 2000s, McKenzie was part of reggae fusion band The Black Seeds and Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, and, in the 2010s, he began performing solo material. His debut album Songs Without Jokes was released in August 2022.
As an actor, he portrayed elves in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies: in the first he remained unnamed with fans naming him Figwit, a character originally cast as an extra who gained attention thanks to the trilogy's fan community. He later appears in The Hobbit as Lindir, a minor character who originally appears in the book of The Fellowship of the Ring.
McKenzie was born in Wellington to Peter McKenzie, a part-time actor, and Deirdre Tarrant, a contemporary dance teacher. He was raised in Kelburn with his brothers Justin and Jonny. McKenzie attended Clifton Terrace Model School between 1982 and 1987 ("model" refers to a standard school for training teachers as opposed to modelling). His classmates at the school included Antonia Prebble and Age Pryor.
McKenzie then went on to Wellington College where he was a prefect and won the Wellington regional heats of the Smokefree Rockquest with his jazz and funk band, The Blue Samanthas.
Main article: Flight of the Conchords
While studying at Victoria University of Wellington, McKenzie met Jemaine Clement, a fellow student who was also studying film and theatre. They didn't complete their degrees but ended up living together and first were members of So You're a Man, and then later forming Flight of the Conchords.
As Flight of the Conchords they have toured internationally and released four CDs: Folk the World Tour in 2002,The Distant Future (which won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album) in 2007, the Grammy nominated Flight of the Conchords in 2008, and I Told You I Was Freaky in 2009. The Conchords produced a six-part improvisational comedy radio program for the BBC and have appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
After a successful appearance in 2005 on HBOs One Night Stand, the Conchords were offered their own 12-part HBO series Flight of the Conchords. Its first season ran from June to September 2007, and its second season premiered on HBO 18 January 2009. Along with Clement, McKenzie was featured as 2007 Salon "Sexiest Man Living" and 2008's "100 Sexiest People" in a special edition of the Australian magazine Who. More recently, the duo toured in 2012, 2016, and 2018.
McKenzie has acted periodically since making his professional acting debut in 2000, a small role in the UK series Dark Knight which was filmed in Wellington. Outside the Flight of the Conchords television adaption, he is most notable for his appearances in the first and third films in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His silent role in the first film as Figwit achieved some minor internet fame, which led to Jackson giving him a line in the third film. His father Peter McKenzie played the role of Elendil in Lord of the Rings. In April 2011, McKenzie was cast as the elf Lindir for The Hobbit.
McKenzie, together with Australian comedian Hamish Blake, starred in a New Zealand feature film, Two Little Boys, finished in late 2011 and released in New Zealand in March 2012. He had a supporting role in the 2013 film Austenland.
Guest starring roles include him and fellow Conchord Clement as a pair of camp counselors in "Elementary School Musical", the season premiere of the 22nd season of The Simpsons, which aired on 26 September 2010, and other comedies.
McKenzie has contributed to a number of projects outside of Flight of the Conchords. In the late 1990s, McKenzie joined the reggae fusion group The Black Seeds; he put out four albums with band before leaving around 2007. The Black Seeds had some minor radio hits during his tenure, and continue to be regionally successful. In the mid-2000s, he released music under the name The Video Kid, including his album Prototype. In 2005, he helped form the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra which was active into the 2010s.
In the late 2010s, he began writing and recording solo material again, and later toured New Zealand in 2018 with a collective that included musicians Age Pryor and Nigel Collins.
During the summer of 2010, McKenzie flew to Los Angeles to serve as the music supervisor for The Muppets. He went on to write four of the five original songs from the film's soundtrack including "Man or Muppet" and "Life's a Happy Song" both of which were nominated for Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and Satellite Awards for Best Original Song. At the 84th Academy Awards in 2012 his song, "Man or Muppet", won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
McKenzie then wrote the original songs for the 2014 movie Muppets Most Wanted, as well as songs for other children's films like The Pirates! Band of Misfits and Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Other credits include the 2016 Sainsbury's Christmas advert featuring James Corden on vocals. He has written songs for The Simpsons on numerous occasions.
McKenzie released his debut solo album, Songs Without Jokes, on Sub Pop in August 2022. The release will be followed with an extensive tour in New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, and North America. The album is inspired by the songwriting of Steely Dan, Randy Newman, and Harry Nilsson.
He is married to New Zealand publicist Hannah Clarke and currently maintains residences in Los Angeles, New York City, and Wellington. They have three children and mainly live in Wellington.
In the 2012 Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours, McKenzie was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to music and film.
|Award||Year[a]||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Category||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||2011||Bret McKenzie for "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets||Best Original Song||Won|
|Annie Awards||2010||Tim Long, Alf Clausen, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie for The Simpsons: Elementary School Musical||Music in a Television Production||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||2011||Bret McKenzie for "Life's a Happy Song" from The Muppets||Best Song||Won|
|Bret McKenzie for "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets||Nominated|
|Emmy Awards||2008||James Bobin, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie for "Yoko"||Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement and James Bobin for "Inner City Pressure"||Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics||Nominated|
|Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement for "The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)"||Nominated|
|2009||Stu Smiley, James Bobin, Troy Miller, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Tracey Baird and Anna Dozoka for Flight of the Conchords||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|James Bobin, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie for "Prime Minister"||Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|James Bobin, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement for "Carol Brown"||Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics||Nominated|
|2019||Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement for "Father & Son"||Nominated|
|Grammy Awards||2007||Flight of the Conchords for The Distant Future||Best Comedy Album||Won|||
|2008||Flight of the Conchords for Flight of the Conchords||Nominated|
|2010||Flight of the Conchords for I Told You I Was Freaky||Nominated|
|2012||Bret McKenzie for "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets||Best Song Written for Visual Media||Nominated|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||2014||Bret McKenzie for "I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)"||Best Original Song in a Feature Film||Nominated|
|New Zealand Film Awards||2012||Bret McKenzie in Two Little Boys||Best Actor||Nominated|
|New Zealand Music Awards||2008||Flight of the Conchords for Flight of the Conchords||Album of the Year||Won|
|Breakthrough Artist of the Year||Won|
|Flight of the Conchords||International Achievement||Won|
|2013||Flight of the Conchords for "Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That)"||Highest Selling New Zealand Single||Won|
|Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards||2008||Flight of the Conchords||Funniest Duo||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||2007||Flight of the Conchords||Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|2011||"Life's a Happy Song" from The Muppets||Best Original Song||Nominated|
|"Man or Muppet" from The Muppets||Nominated|
|2014||"I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)" from Muppets Most Wanted||Nominated|
|TCA Awards||2008||Flight of the Conchords||Outstanding Achievement in Comedy||Nominated|
|Outstanding New Program||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||2007||Damon Beesley, James Bobin, Jemaine Clement, Eric Kaplan, Bret McKenzie, Iain Morris, Duncan Sarkies, Pauls Simms, and Taika Waititi for Flight of the Conchords||Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|James Bobin, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie for "Sally Returns"||Episodic Comedy||Nominated|
|2001||The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring||Elf Escort||Feature film||Uncredited cameo|
|2003||The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King||Elf Escort||Feature film|
|2007–2009||Flight of the Conchords||Himself||TV series||Also creator, co-writer, and executive producer|
|2008||The Drinky Crow Show||Rob, the Alien||TV series||2 episodes|
|2009||Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!||Tim's Tennis Double||TV series||Episode: "Tennis"|
|2009||Diagnosis Death||Dr. Cruise||Film|
|2010–2021||The Simpsons||Kurt Hardwick||TV series||Episode: "Elementary School Musical" |
Songwriter for the episodes "Elementary School Musical", "Friend with Benefit" and "Panic on the Streets of Springfield"
|2011||The Muppets||Feature Film||Music supervisor and writer of original songs |
Academy Award for Best Original Song
|2012||Two Little Boys||Nige||Feature Film|
|2012||The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey||Lindir||Feature Film||Cameo|
|2014||Muppets Most Wanted||Feature Film||Music supervisor and original songwriter|
|2017||Bajillion Dollar Propertie$||Huck||TV series||Episode: "Looking Forward"|
|2018||Flight of the Conchords: Live in London||Himself||TV special||Also writer and producer|
|TBA||Bob the Musical||Feature Film||Songwriter|
|Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas|
The Black Seeds
Main article: The Black Seeds discography
Flight of the Conchords
Main article: Flight of the Conchords discography
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra