The comedian from New Zealand who plays Murry on the HBO series “Flight of the Conchords” will perform Thursday at opening night of the S.F. Sketchfest. On his first trip to San Francisco, Darby, 33, will show off his unique stand-up act where he combines story-telling with physical theater.
You play the boss in “Flight of the Conchords,” and in the upcoming flick “Yes Man,” where you’ll get to play Jim Carrey’s boss. Are you bossy? I’m hoping my next role won’t be someone’s boss. But I like being bossy, and some characters in my stand-up are bosses as well. I like that, I don’t know why, maybe it’s my personality. I used to be a boss among my friends, now I’m a boss that no one listens to.
Has playing Murry changed your comedy or just given your name a boost of popularity? There is quite a difference between what I do on stage and the characters I play. They are more settled, not so flailing.
What should the audience expect from your stand-up act? I tell stories that happened to me during my youth and a lot of it is surreal. I talk about things that I imagine — monsters, rockets, mermaids. When I tell a story, I act it out; I physicalize it and do the movements that involve not only characters, but objects with sound effects. I give a 3-D image of the story. It’s like mime with sound effects — I jump around and make sounds of opening doors, windows, rockets taking off.
How did you come up with such a unique style? I used to tell stories when I was a kid — I just thought people really need to see what I was talking about. Later on, it just became my thing. When I was younger I used to do more, so I cut down a lot because there was too much energy involved.