Jemaine Clement

Jemaine Atea Mahana Clement (born 10 January 1974) is a New Zealand actor, voice actor, musician, comedian, singer, director and writer. With Bret McKenzie, as the Grammy Award-winning comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, he has released several albums and created comedy series for both the BBC and HBO. For the comedy series, he received six Primetime Emmy nominations.

Jemaine Clement
Clement at Fantastic Fest in September 2009
Born (1974-01-10) 10 January 1974
Masterton, New Zealand[1]
Other namesHiphopopotamus, Mad Dog[2]
OccupationActor, voice actor, musician, comedian, singer, director, writer
Years active1994–present
Miranda Manasiadis (m. 2008)
Musical career
  • Comedy
  • folk
  • acoustic
LabelsSub Pop
Associated acts
Comedy career
  • Stand-up
  • film
  • television
  • theatre
  • books

He has had featured parts in films such as Men in Black 3 (2012), People Places Things (2015) and Humor Me (2017) and has done voice-work for Despicable Me (2010), Rio (2011), Rio 2 (2014), Moana (2016) and The Lego Batman Movie (2017). In 2014, he made his directorial debut with What We Do in the Shadows, which he also co-wrote and starred in with Taika Waititi.

Early life

Clement was born on 10 January 1974 in Masterton, New Zealand, and was raised by his Māori mother[3][4] in the Wairarapa region. He attended Makoura College in Masterton. After graduation, he moved to New Zealand's capital Wellington, where he studied drama and film at Victoria University of Wellington. There he met Taika Waititi (a.k.a. Taika Cohen) with whom he went on to form So You're a Man and The Humourbeasts. In 2004, the Humourbeasts toured New Zealand in a stage show titled The Untold Tales of Maui,[5] a rework of the traditional Maori legends of Māui. The duo received New Zealand's highest comedy honour, the Billy T Award. Also at University he met Bret McKenzie with whom he performed in Edinburgh, thus forming Flight of the Conchords.



Clement and Bret McKenzie formed Flight of the Conchords while at Victoria University. They have toured internationally and released four CDs: Folk the World Tour in 2002, The Distant Future EP in 2007 (winner of 2008 Grammy for Best Comedy Album), Flight of the Conchords in 2008 and I Told You I Was Freaky in 2009. In 2005 the Conchords produced Flight of the Conchords, a six-part comedy radio programme on BBC Radio 2. They appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show. After appearing in 2005 on HBO's One Night Stand, the Conchords were offered their own 12-part HBO series Flight of the Conchords, which was based on their earlier BBC radio series of the same name.[6] 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.[7] In December 2009, the Conchords announced the show would not have a third season.[8]

Film and television

Clement has appeared in several feature films. His debut was in the kung fu comedy Tongan Ninja, directed by New Zealander Jason Stutter. He has worked with Stutter on two more movies to date: the low budget ghost comedy Diagnosis: Death and the drama Predicament, based on the book by late New Zealand novelist Ronald Hugh Morrieson. He was also the voice of Swayzak in the Toonami Shockwave game "Trapped in Hyperspace". Clement also has a role in American comedy Gentlemen Broncos, directed by Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess. This role landed him a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male. Though Gentlemen Broncos was almost universally panned by critics, some[9] singled out Clement's performance for praise. In 2010, he voiced Jerry in Despicable Me and appeared in the film Dinner for Schmucks. In 2011, he voiced Nigel in Rio, and in 2012 he appeared as the primary antagonist Boris the Animal in Men in Black 3. In 2012, Jemaine co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in a vampire mockumentary titled What We Do in the Shadows with Taika Waititi. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 19 January 2014. He also reprised his role as Nigel in Rio 2.

Clement has starred in television commercials internationally and provided voiceovers for many others in New Zealand. On 5 February 2006, Outback Steakhouse began running 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 rivalry between New Zealand and Australia and the differences between their accents. The campaign ended in July 2006.

Clement has been involved in award-winning radio work. In 1999, Clement was a Radio Awards Winner as writer for Trashed, for Channel Z, Wellington.[10] In 2000, he was given a Special Radio Awards Commendation for The Sunglass Store.[11]

Besides his television work on Flight of the Conchords, Clement was a writer and cast member of the television shows Skitz and Tellylaughs in New Zealand.[12][13] Clement, with fellow Conchord member Bret McKenzie, guest starred 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.[14]

Clement also played the role of a prisoner in a Russian gulag in the 2014 film Muppets Most Wanted, a sequel to The Muppets (2011).

Clement was featured as one of 2008's "100 Sexiest People" in a special edition of the Australian magazine Who.[15] Fellow Conchord member McKenzie appeared on the same list.

In 2015, Clement voiced a horse in two DirecTV commercials.[16] In the same year, he voiced a "mind-reading fart"[17] on an episode of the Adult Swim animated series Rick and Morty, where he performed the song "Goodbye Moonmen".[18] Clement also starred in the independent film, People Places Things, which received positive reviews.

In 2016, Clement lent his voice to Tamatoa, a giant coconut crab, in the Disney animated film Moana, both in English, and the Māori dub. He based the character's voice on that of David Bowie.[19]

In 2017, Clement played Oliver Bird in the FX TV series Legion. He also voiced Sauron in The Lego Batman Movie.

Personal life

In August 2008, Clement married his longtime girlfriend, theatre actress and playwright Miranda Manasiadis.[20] Their son was born in October 2008 in New York City.[21]



Year Title Role Notes
1995Blood SuckersVampire
1999Fizz[22]Chased ManShort film
2002Tongan Ninja[23]Action Fighter (Marvin)Also writer
2004Futile AttractionEditor
2007Eagle vs SharkJarrod
2009Gentlemen BroncosRonald ChevalierNominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Diagnosis: DeathGarfield Olyphant
2010Despicable MeJerry the MinionVoice cameo
Dinner for SchmucksKieran Vollard
2011RioNigel (voice)Nominated — Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production
2012Men in Black 3Boris the AnimalNominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Villain
2014What We Do in the ShadowsVladislavAlso director, writer and co-producer
Muppets Most Wanted Prison King
Rio 2 Nigel (voice)
2015Don VerdeanBoaz
People Places ThingsWill
2016The BFGThe Fleshlumpeater (voice)Also motion capture
MoanaTamatoa (voice)
2017The Lego Batman MovieSauron (voice)
Humor MeNate Kroll
Brad's StatusBilly Wearsiter
2018An Evening with Beverly Luff LinnColin Keith Threadener
The Breaker UpperersTinder DateCameo
The FestivalRobin
2021Avatar 2Dr. Ian GarvinFilming
2023Avatar 3
TBAI Used to Go HereDavid KirkpatrickPost-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996The Enid Blyton Adventure SeriesMIS GuardEpisode: "Circus of Adventures"
2002The TribeVR Cowboy No. 21 episode
2007–09Flight of the ConchordsJemaine22 episodes
Also co-creator, writer and executive producer
Nominated–Writers Guild of America Award for Television: New Series (2008)
Nominated–Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Comedy Series (2008)
Nominated–Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Episodic Comedy (2008)
Nominated–Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (2008–09)
Nominated–Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics (2008–2009)
Nominated–Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (2009)
Nominated–Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series (2009)
Nominated–Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy (2009)
2008The Drinky Crow ShowAlien (voice)2 episodes
2009Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!Eric's Tennis DoubleEpisode: "Tennis"
2010RadiradirahVarious3 episodes
The SimpsonsEthan Ballantyne (voice)Episode: "Elementary School Musical"[14]
2012Napoleon DynamiteProfessor Koontz (voice)Episode: "Scantronica Love"
2013Out ThereBabel, Tenebres (voices)Episode: "Enter Destiny"
#7DaysLaterMs. Lockett's Father (voice)Episode: "Portrait"
2014Short PoppiesN/ADirector
2014–16TripTankVarious (voices)7 episodes
2015Rick and MortyFart (voice)Episode: "Mortynight Run"
2016Regular ShowZiggy (voice)Episode: "California King"
Inside Amy SchumerDJEpisode: "Psychopath Test"
2016–18Another PeriodFather Black Donahue4 episodes
2016DivorceJulian Renaut6 episodes
2016–presentMilo Murphy's LawOrton Mahlson / Dr. Zone (voice)4 episodes
2017–19LegionOliver Bird14 episodes
2017American Dad!Sky Crooner (voice)Episode: "Bazooka Steve"
WreckedLuther3 episodes
Robot ChickenNarrator (voice)1 episode
2018Wellington ParanormalN/ACo-creator, director, writer and executive producer
We Bare BearsBooby Trapper (voice)Episode: "Rescue Ranger"
Flight of the Conchords: Live in LondonHimselfSpecial
Also writer and producer
2019What We Do in the ShadowsVladislavAlso co-creator, director, writer and executive producer
Episode: "The Trial"
2019Kiri and LouLou (voice)20 episodes
2019Year of the RabbitUnnamed1 episode


Year Title Notes
2002 Folk the World Tour
2007 The Distant Future Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album
2008 Flight of the Conchords Nominated — Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album
2009 I Told You I Was Freaky Nominated — Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album
2016 "Shiny" Moana soundtrack
2018 ”Goodbye Moonmen” The Rick and Morty Soundtrack


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Flight of the Conchords Jemaine Also writer
2016 The Mysterious Secrets Of Uncle Bertie's Botanarium Lord Joseph Banks Podcast

See also


  1. "Jemaine Clement Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  2. Melis, Matt. "Flight of the Conchords Woo Ladies and More on Hilarious Live in London". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  3. Bisley, Alex (2 September 2014). "Interview: Jemaine Clement". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2018. ...says the actor, whose own middle names Atea and Mahana mean universe and heat.
  4. O'Neal, Sean (30 October 2009). "Interview: Jemaine Clement". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 30 October 2009. I'm part Maori. My mum's Maori, and she raised me.
  5. "Humourbeasts 'Tales Of Maui" Comes to ChCh". 17 September 2004. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  6. "BD Rumor Confirmed: Jemaine Clement Becomes 'Yaz' in 'Men in Black III'". Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  7. "Story – Entertainment". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  8. "10 December". Flight of the Conchords. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  9. Nathan Rabin (1 June 2010). "I Watched This On Purpose: Gentlemen Broncos".
  10. Thomas C Hokenson (24 April 1999). "1999 New England Radio Awards Finalists". Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  11. Thomas C Hokenson. "2000 New Zealand Radio Awards Finalists". Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  12. "Skitz". Gibson Group. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  13. "Tellylaughs". Gibson Group. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  14. Strachan, Alex (2 August 2010). "Gleeful over Glee: Cory Monteith to appear on The Simpsons". Archived from the original on 28 October 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  15. "Will Smith Pondering Return in 'Men in Black III'". Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  16. Liviu Marica. "DIRECTV: Hannah Davis Riding Her Horse". Daily Commercials. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  17. Collis, Clark (30 July 2015). "Jemaine Clement voices a 'mind-reading fart' in exclusive Rick and Morty clip". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  18. Dean, Rob (7 August 2015). "Listen to "Goodbye Moonmen" from Rick And Morty in its entirety". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  19. Lawrence, Derek (20 December 2016). "Jemaine Clement gets crabby in musical Moana clip". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  20. "Sorry ladies, the Conchord has flown". 18 August 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  21. "Jemaine Clement Welcomes Son Sophocles Iraia". People. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  22. "Jemaine Clement". What the Folk!. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  23. "tongan ninja tonga taimi o at". Retrieved 25 May 2010.
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