Bret McKenzie does New Zealand proud. He’s a celebrated comedian, actor, member of the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, one half of the Grammy Award winning duo Flight of the Conchords, Academy Award winner for his song, Man or Muppet, which he wrote for The Muppets while musical supervisor of the movie last year, and if that’s not enough, he recently became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to music and film. Bret took the time to tell us how a little hug goes a long way … unless it’s with a stranger.
What’s happening in the world of Bret McKenzie for 2013?
I've been touring the States as part of the Oddball Comedy Festival. It's been really fun seeing all the other comics on the tour; Dave Chappelle, Hannibal Buress, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Ross, Demetri Martin and Al Madrigal. I'm also doing post production on a new Muppet movie. Today I was in the studio with Tina Fey recording a song she sings to Kermit the Frog. Good times.
Describe the most generous person you know and how they influenced you.
I've met a lot of generous people but the person that jumps to mind is my grand father. When I was growing up he spent years driving me to music lessons and sports games. He was incredibly generous with his time and I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now without him. It's a good reminder that time is as valuable as money.
Name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated.
Hugs go a long way. But if you don't know the other person it can be a bit weird.
Tell us three things that inspire you and why.
I recently read a book of interviews with the Dalai Lama. Nothing like a spiritual guru for some inspiring shizzle.
An American singer-songwriter called Leon Russell – he's not a spiritual guru but he looks like one. I love the unlikely twists and turns his music takes. He's definitely inspired me musically this year.
I watch a lot of documentaries. I particularly enjoyed one I saw this year called Happy People: A Year in the Taiga produced by Werner Herzog. It's an incredible insight into another world. I find seeing someone else's world helps me see my own world with fresh eyes.