Jemaine Clement (born 10 January 1974 in New Zealand) is an actor, musician, director, producer, comedian and writer, best known for being half of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords with Bret McKenzie.
Describing himself as "part Māori part European", Clement spent his formative years in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand. Moving to New Zealand's capital Wellington, where he studied drama and film at Victoria University of Wellington, Clement met Taika Waititi (a.k.a. Taika Cohen) with whom he went on to form The Humourbeasts. In 2004, the Humourbeasts toured New Zealand in a stage show titled The Untold Tales of Maui, rewriting the traditional Maori legends of Māui. The duo were the recipients of New Zealand's highest comedy honour, the Billy T Award.
It was also at Victoria University that Clement and Bret McKenzie formed Flight of the Conchords. They have toured internationally and released three CDs: Folk the World Tour in 2002, The Distant Future EP in 2007, and Flight of the Conchords in 2008. The Conchords produced a six-part improvisational comedy radio program on BBC Radio 2 and have appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show. 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 was renewed for a second season, which aired on HBO in the US from January to March 2009.
Clement has also appeared in a number of feature films; the one that has received the widest distribution to date is romantic comedy Eagle vs Shark, in which he played one of the starring roles, as a young man who finds a girlfriend in spite of being rather irritating. Clement had made his feature debut five years earlier in kung fu comedy Tongan Ninja, directed by New Zealander Jason Stutter. He has worked with Stutter on two more movies to date, low budget ghost comedy Diagnosis Death, and the drama Predicament, based on the book by late Kiwi novelist Ronald Hugh Morrieson. Clement also has a role in American comedy Gentlemen Broncos, directed by Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess.
Clement has starred in a number of television commercials internationally and provided voiceovers for many others in New Zealand. In 1999, Clement was a Radio Awards Winner as writer for Trashed, for Channel Z, Wellington. In 2000 he was given a Special Radio Awards Commendation for The Sunglass Store. He also was a writer and cast member of the television shows Skitz and Tellylaughs in New Zealand.
On 5 February 2006, Outback Steakhouse debuted a series of television commercials starring Clement during Super Bowl XL in which Clement pretends to be Australian and feigns an Australian accent. One of the long-running gags of Flight of the Conchords is the traditional ill-will between New Zealand and Australia and the differences between their corresponding accents. The campaign ended in July 2006.
Jemaine, along with fellow Conchord member Bret, was featured as one of 2008's "100 Sexiest People" in a special edition of the Australian magazine Who.