Armisen was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and moved to New York as a baby. Armisen dropped out of the School of Visual Arts to begin his career as a professional rock drummer. He started drumming with the hip 80’s band Trenchmouth (we just started listening and they’re awesome), but his interests soon switched to acting. In 2002, he became a featured player on Saturday Night Live, and in 2004, he was promoted to repertory cast member. His famous impersonations include Steve Jobs and the Californian Stuart.
In 2003, Armisen met his platonic soulmate Carrie Brownstein. In 2005, the two began producing the hilarious web series ThunderAnt. ThunderAnt became the basis of their hit show Portlandia (*inspiration for blog’s own Brunonia*). As its name suggests, the show is set in Portland. It is based around a variety of paired characters played by Fred and Carrie, including femininst bookstore owners Candace and Toni and “Fred” and “Carrie” themselves (genius). In 2011, Portlandia won a Peabody award, which is a prestigious award recognizing public service in radio and television. (Note: Armisen also won one in 2008 as part of the Saturday Night Live political satire cast. Could he be any cooler??)
In addition to Portlandia (sixth season premieres January 21, 2016), Armisen keeps himself busy as the current bandleader of the 8G Band, the house band on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He has a number of new projects coming down the pike, including “Blue Jean Committee,” a fake California-based band with buddy Bill Hader.
Now that we’ve described his career in mere words, we’re going to let his varied and hilarious work speak for itself.
Last night, Fred Armisen kicked off his Portlandia national tour at The Columbus Theater on Federal Hill, taking the night off as the bandleader for Late Night with Seth Meyers. Fred will be making stops in Minneapolis and Denver, screening a new episode of Portlandia each time. In Providence, Armisen screened “Celery,” the third episode in the show’s fourth, and current, season. The episode’s main story centered on Steve Buscemi’s character attempting to make celery the next popular vegetable (like kale right now). The other sketches included a 9-1-1 call center that found beets to be the source of everyone’s emergencies and Carrie Brownstein filing for social media bankruptcy and erasing her online presence.
Fred then opened up the floor for a Q&A to an audience that could have been taken from the 90s and cast as extras in his show. Here are ten things I learned:
Progressivism is an important part of what defines Brown — just ask HerCampus — but it’s also incredibly easy to parody. Portlandia, the Peabody Award-winning sketch comedy series on the IFC Channel (individual skits are also on Youtube), mocks similar themes by honing in on the notoriously hippie/hipster (crunchy?) city of Portland, Oregon.
Longtime fans of the series or merely those curious about starting to watch, listen up: Fred Armisen — one of the two stars of the show — will be visiting Providence on March 12th for an advance screening of Portlandia‘s fourth season. Providence is one of three lucky cities to be chosen for the event (along with Minneapolis and Denver), which will include a question and answer session with Mr. Armisen after the screening.
If you’re interested, check out the details here. Tickets go on sale today.