Armisen at the 2014 Imagen Awards
December 4, 1966 |
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
|Medium||Stand-up, music, television, film|
|Genres||Character comedy, sketch comedy|
|Spouse||Sally Timms (1998–2004)
Elisabeth Moss (2009–2011)
|Notable works and roles||Saturday Night Live
Late Night with Seth Meyers
Widely known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 2002 until 2013, Armisen has portrayed characters in comedy films, including EuroTrip, Anchorman, and Cop Out. With his comedy partner Carrie Brownstein, Armisen is the co-creator and co-star of the IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia. Armisen founded ThunderAnt.com, a website that features the comedy sketches created with Brownstein, and is the bandleader for the Late Night with Seth Meyers house band, "The 8G Band".
For his work on Portlandia, Armisen was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2014.
Armisen was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on December 4th, 1966 and moved to Manhattan, New York City as a baby. He was raised in Valley Stream, New York, on Long Island, where he was a high school classmate of fellow SNL alumnus Jim Breuer. His mother, Hildegardt, a schoolteacher, is from Venezuela, and his father, who worked for IBM, was born in Germany of half-Japanese descent. Fred Armisen attended the School of Visual Arts (NYC) before dropping out to begin a career as a rock drummer. He has mentioned watching the bands The Clash and Devo perform on television, and wanting to be a performer since he was a child.
In 1984, Armisen played drums in a local band along with his high school friends in Valley Stream, New York, but the group ended soon after. Armisen began his career in 1988 when he moved from New York to Chicago to play drums for the punk rock band Trenchmouth. In the 1990s, he played background drums with Blue Man Group in Chicago.
He also played on the Wandering Lucy album Leap Year.
Television and film
While not playing with the band Trenchmouth, Armisen's interests switched to acting. In a January 2006 interview, he said, "I wanted to be on TV somehow. For some reason, I always thought it would be an indirect route; I didn't know that it would be comedy and Saturday Night Live. I just wanted to do something with performing that would lead me there."
Armisen's subsequent television work, such as some "memorable Andy Kaufman-esque appearances" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, as well as work for Crank Yankers and Adult Swim, led in 2002 to a role as a featured player in the cast of Saturday Night Live. In the 2004 season, he was promoted to a repertory cast member.
Armisen has landed several minor yet memorable roles that were defined by an interviewer as "feral foreigners" in comedy films such as Eurotrip, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Deck the Halls, The Ex, The Promotion, The Rocker, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny and Confessions of a Shopaholic.
In the Cartoon Network series The Looney Tunes Show, Armisen voices Speedy Gonzales. Armisen, along with Carrie Brownstein, appeared on the Simpsons episode "The Day the Earth Stood Cool", in which they play The Simpsons' new neighbors who encourage everyone to be cool like them.
Saturday Night Live
||This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2008)|
The following is a partial list of notable roles Armisen has played in Saturday Night Live sketches. At the time of his 2013 departure from the show, Armisen was the third-longest tenured cast member (behind Darrell Hammond and Seth Meyers), having been a member since Season 28. As of February 2015, Armisen had appeared in 856 SNL sketches, putting him second only to Kenan Thompson in appearances on the show, and had the third most distinct impressions of any SNL cast member with 99.
- Billy Smith – a Native American stand-up comedian who tells Native-American-themed jokes that no one understands.
- Fericito – a Venezuelan nightclub comedian who has his own TV show, Show Biz Grande Explosion with sidekick Manuel (Horatio Sanz).
- Gunther Kelly – A student at George Washington University who performs songs on Weekend Update with his brother Patrick (played by Will Forte).
- Leonard – the strange European host of the foreign music show Club Traxx.
- Mackey – a senile drummer who often does rimshots at inappropriate moments and appears in the "Rialto Grande" sketches.
- Nooni Schoener – a quirky, foreign art dealer who appears with his wife Nuni Schoener (played by Maya Rudolph) in the "The Schoeners" sketches)
- Frondi – a mentally challenged character who criticizes Ben Affleck's movie Gigli to Ben himself.
- Manuel Ortiz – host of The Manuel Ortiz show on Television Dominicana where he "helps with whatever it is" his audience members are going through.
- Nicholas Fehn – a political commentator whose mind wanders so much that he is incapable of finishing a sentence without starting a new one.
- Roger A. Trevanti – a greedy studio head and AMPTP member who rails against the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. The character's only SNL appearance was on the last episode of season 33, before the show went on hiatus for the WGA strike, but he appeared in several Internet videos around the same time.
- Roger Brush – a producer of multiple "Dr. Phil"-type talk shows, each focused on a different topic (teen, marital, sexual, and pregnancy issues), who fills in when the hosts are sick. He repeatedly tells guests relating their problems to speak up, and, unable to relate to their problems, offers them either useless advice based on his experience or no help at all.
- Garth – part of Garth & Kat (with Kristen Wiig), a musical duo who appear on Weekend Update unprepared and make up songs on the spot.
- Giuseppe – the saxophone player for What's Up With That?
- Stewart – homeowner from The Californians, a soap opera parody featuring Armisen, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig and others as wealthy blondes with Valley Girl accents.
- One of the "Dictator's Two Best Friends from Growing Up" (with Vanessa Bayer) who come to Weekend Update to secretly trash-talk the various dictators (such as Muammar al-Gaddafi and Kim Jong-un) with whom they grew up.
- Regine – a pretentious and condescending woman who exhibits blatant euphoric and erotic facial expressions when touched on certain parts of her body.
- Ian Rubbish – A late-1970s/early-80s British punk rocker, a parody of Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious, who caught heat from his band mates Derek Gash (played by Bill Hader) and Steve Grimshaw (played by Taran Killam) and fans for writing and performing songs supporting conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Armisen's list of notable impressions has included:
- Barack Obama — recurring in Season 33 and Season 34 episodes as the Democratic presidential candidate (Season 33), the Democratic nominee, President-Elect, and President (Season 34), beginning on February 23, 2008. Armisen's take on Obama caught controversy from critics[who?] over the fact that Armisen (who is of Japanese, German, and Venezuelan descent) was playing the first African-American president, citing fears that this constituted blackface, and criticism that Jordan Peele and Donald Glover weren't chosen for the role. As of season 38, Jay Pharoah (whose Obama impressions have been seen on his YouTube videos) has replaced Armisen as Obama.
- Prince — parody of the musician as the host of a talk show called The Prince Show, with Beyoncé Knowles (played by Maya Rudolph) as his co-host. Armisen, a fan of Prince since childhood, created the sketch as a way of improving his chances of meeting the musician.
- Steve Jobs — Apple CEO who appears on Weekend Update to show off strange new technology. Armisen has stated that Steve Jobs is the celebrity he most enjoys portraying.
- Ira Glass — After seeing an unused SNL sketch, Glass invited Armisen to co-host a This American Life about doppelgängers.
- David Paterson – Governor of New York. Armisen's Paterson impression, much like his Obama impression, caught controversy as well, though in this case, it was David Paterson himself who spoke out against the impression, as he felt it was insensitive to the blind and visually-impaired.
Armisen has also done impressions of political figures such as Hugo Chávez, Vicente Fox, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Barney Frank, George H. W. Bush, Ben Bernanke, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Mike Gravel, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak and Michael Bloomberg. He has also impersonated celebrities such as Martin Scorsese, Desi Arnaz, Corbin Bleu, Sam Waterston, Joy Behar, Tony Danza, George Carlin, Dov Charney, Howie Mandel, Alan Osmond, Ben Gibbard, Harrison Ford, Liberace, David Gregory, Larry King, Penny Marshall, Kevin McHale (actor) (as Artie Abrams from Glee), David Lee Roth, Gene Simmons, Ringo Starr, Lawrence Welk, Paul Lynde, George Lopez, Randy Newman, Thom Yorke, John Oates, and Ice-T.
In 1998 he posed as a music journalist for the short film Fred Armisen’s Guide to Music and South by Southwest. It was filmed by then-girlfriend Sally Timms and featured Armisen's "pranking musicians and industry types" during the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. A year later, Armisen starred with alternative rock legend Steve Albini in Chevelle's Point #1 EPK.
Armisen is part of ThunderAnt, a comedy duo with Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein. The duo specializes in creating comedic short skits often about independent vocations such as one man shows, feminist bookstores, and bicycle rights activists.
Armisen has directed music videos for bands like The Helio Sequence. Armisen also had a role in the Wilco documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which featured footage from his stint opening for front man Jeff Tweedy's 2001 solo tour. He also appeared in video segments on Blue Man Group's How to be a Megastar Tour 2.0. Armisen occasionally writes for Pitchfork Media and interviewed Cat Power for that company. Fred appeared as Jens Hannemann on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 19, 2007, promoting a 28-minute DVD called Fred Armisen presents Jens Hannemann: "COMPLICATED DRUMMING TECHNIQUE". In 2010, Armisen briefly joined Joanna Newsom's tour for her album Have One On Me as his character Jens Hannemann. On SNL, Armisen often plays musical instruments in sketches, has two recurring characters who are musicians (Mackey the drummer from the Rialto Grande and Ferecito from Showbiz Grande Explosion), or impersonates famous figures in the music world such as Liberace, Phil Spector, Lou Reed, and Prince.
Armisen performed as a singer/drummer/comedic actor in the Blue Man Group's "How to be a Megastar Live!". He played the part as a salesman on TV who advertises for the Megastar Rock Manual. He also drummed in the performance and was a backup singer.
- The KGB (1984)
- The KGB [Re-release] (TBD)
- Snakebite [EP] (1989)
- Kick Your Mind And Make It Move [EP] (1991)
- Construction Of New Action (1991)
- Trenchmouth / Circus Lupus [Split] (1992)
- Inside the Future (1993)
- The Position Of The Right Hand: Trenchmouth / Bliss [Split] (1993)
- Achtung Chicago! Zwei compilation (1993)
- Trenchmouth Vs. the Light of the Sun (1994)
- The Broadcasting System (1995)
- Volumes, Amplifiers, Equalizers (1995)
- More Motion: A Collection (2003)
Crisis of Conformity
- Fist Fight! (2011)
Ian Rubbish and The Bizzaros
- The Best Of Ian Rubbish [EP] (2013)
- It's a Lovely Day [Single] (2013)
|1998||Guide to Music and South by Southwest||Various||Short film|
|1998||Fred Armisen's Guide to Dance and Self-Defense||Various||Short film|
|2002||I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco||Himself|
|2002||Like Mike||New Age Dad|
|2003||Frank International Film Festival||Frank||Short film|
|2003||Melvin Goes to Dinner||Vesa|
|2004||Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy||Tino|
|2004||Eurotrip||Creepy Italian Guy|
|2004||Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie||Tino|
|2005||Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo||Frenchman||Uncredited|
|2006||Deck the Halls||Gustave|
|2006||Griffin & Phoenix||Unknown|
|2006||Kiss Me Again||Professor Szabo|
|2006||Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny||Security Guard|
|2007||Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters||Time Lincoln (voice)|
|2008||Baby Mama||Stroller Salesman|
|2008||Christmas on Mars||Noachis|
|2008||The Promotion||Scott Fargas|
|2008||The Rocker||Wayne Kerr|
|2008||Bang Blow & Stroke||Kerr||Short film|
|2008||Blue Man Group: How to Be a Megastar 2.0||Rod Popeil||TV film|
|2009||Confessions of a Shopaholic||Ryan Koening|
|2009||Post Grad||Guacanator Pitchman|
|2010||Cop Out||Russian Lawyer|
|2010||Our Family Wedding||Phillip Gusto|
|2010||Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore||Freidrich|
|2010||Presidential Reunion||Barack Obama||Short film|
|2011||The Smurfs||Brainy Smurf (voice)|
|2011||The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol||Brainy Smurf (voice)||Short film|
|2012||The Dictator||Death to Aladeen Restaurant waiter||Cameo|
|2012||Fun World||Fred (voice)||Short film|
|2013||The Smurfs 2||Brainy Smurf (voice)|
|2013||The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow||Brainy Smurf (voice)||Short film|
|2014||Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas||Chadwick (voice)||Holiday Television Special|
|1999||Fred||Himself, Various||Failed TV Pilot|
|2001||Late Friday||Father Fred, Fericito||2 episodes|
|2001||Premium Blend||Sergeant Fred||2 episodes|
|2002||Next!||Various||Failed TV Pilot|
|2002||Late World with Zach||Interpretive Bongos Wizard, Various||29 episodes|
|2002–2013||Saturday Night Live||Himself, Various||220 episodes|
|2003–2007||Crank Yankers||Chip Douglas (voice)||13 episodes|
|2004||Comedy Lab||Jeremy||Episode: "12.21"|
|2004–2008||Aqua Teen Hunger Force||Poncho, Robot Husband (voice)||2 episodes|
|2005||New York Noise||Himself||Episode: "Beggars Group 10th Anniversary in NYC Party"|
|2005–2008||Squidbillies||Miguel, Jesus, Hippie Killed with Chainsaw (voice)||4 episodes|
|2006||Freak Show||Various voices||3 episodes|
|2006||Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Event for Autism Education||Himself, Prince||TV special|
|2006||Tom Goes to the Mayor||Phillip Priest (voice)||Episode: "Jeffy the Sea Serpent"|
|2007–2012||30 Rock||Raheem Haddad, Frank 2.0/Phone Lady||2 episodes|
|2007||Tim and Eric Nite Live!||Dr. Pat Gordon Hall||Episode: "1.3"|
|2007–2008||Human Giant||Himself, Dr. Marker, Doctor||3 episodes|
|2007–2010||Yo Gabba Gabba!||Himself, Larry the Treasure Hunter||2 episodes|
|2008||The Sarah Silverman Program||Taylor Magenheim||Episode: "Patriot Tact"|
|2008–2012||Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday||Various||8 episodes|
|2008–2010||Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!||K.J. Nutt, Tennis Buddy, Sal & Al's Customer||2 episodes|
|2009||Parks and Recreation||Raul||Episode: "Sister City"|
|2010||Ugly Americans||Larry King (voice)||Episode: "So You Want to Be a Vampire?"|
|2011–present||Portlandia||Various||Co-Creator, Writer, Co-Executive Producer
Peabody Award (2012)
Writers Guild of America Award for Comedy/Variety (including talk) series (2013)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series (2012–14)
Nominated—Writers Guild of America Award for Comedy/Variety (including talk) series (2014)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2014)
|2011–2013||The Looney Tunes Show||Speedy Gonzales (voice)||27 episodes|
|2011||The Soup||Himself, CARL||Episode: "Fred Armisen"|
|2012||Up All Night||Gideon Kirk||Episode: "Hey Jealousy"|
|2012–2013||Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Lady Hedith||5 episodes|
|2012||The Simpsons||Terrence (voice)||Episode: "The Day the Earth Stood Cool"|
|2012||Unsupervised||Martin (voice)||6 episodes|
|2013||Bob's Burgers||Tommy (voice)||Episode: "Nude Beach"|
|2013||Conan||Conan O'Brien||Episode: "Occupy Conan: When Outsourcing Goes Too Far"|
|2013||Kroll Show||Papi Jr||Episode: "Dine & Dash"|
|2013||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Osama Bin Laden||Episode: "10.338"|
|2013||Out There||Terry Rosachristas (voice)||10 episodes|
|2013||The Awesomes||Stage Manager (voice)||Episode: "Pilot, Part 2"|
|2013–2014||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Mlepnos||2 episodes|
|2014||Super Fun Night||Brian Headfoot||Episode: "Hostile Makeover"|
|2014||Broad City||Craigslist baby||Episode: "What a Wonderful World"|
|2014–present||Late Night with Seth Meyers||Himself||House band leader|
|2014||House of Lies||Vincent||Episode: "Comeuppance"|
|2014||Chozen||Various voices||Episode: "In a Pickle"|
|2014||Modern Family||Langham||Episode: "Las Vegas"|
|2014||Archer||Gustavo Calderon (voice)||5 episodes|
|2014||Mike Tyson Mysteries||Leprechaun (voice)||Episode: "Is Magic Real?"|
|2015||Man Seeking Woman||Tanaka||Episode:"Sizzurp"|
|2008||Grand Theft Auto IV||Pervert, Hot Dog Vendor, Internet Nerd (voice)|
|2010||Red Dead Redemption||Pedestrian, Background Character (voice)|
|2013||The Smurfs 2||Brainy Smurf (voice)|
|2013||Grand Theft Auto V||Hugh Harrison (voice)|
- "Fred Armisen". TVGuide.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
- "Talking to Fred Armisen About 'SNL', 'Portlandia', And Being Part of A Comedy Collective". Splitsider. June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Fred Armisen: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Itzkoff, Dave (September 30, 2005). "Eccentric on 'S.N.L.' Is 'Jus' Keeeeding!'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
- "Fred Armisen Interview – Fred Armisen Portlandia Interview". Esquire. 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
- Lucila Cejas Epple. "Why Fred Armisen Is So 'Fantรกstico' » Arts & Life". OPB. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
- Muther, Christopher. "'SNL' star Armisen drums up a career in comedy", Boston Globe, January 30, 2004 (fee required for full article)
- Karni, Annie (2010-12-02). "Painting the Town Fred | New York Post". NYPOST.com. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
- AP Photo (2012-01-05). "Photo from AP Photo – Fred Armisen, Hildegardt Gemer News, photos, topics, and quotes". 1click.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
- "Fred Armisen: Biography," TV Guide, accessdate=2009-11-10.
- Heisler, Steve. "Devo Made Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen Want to Be on TV", New York Magazine, February 11, 2011
- DeRogatis, Jim (February 5, 2003). "All Ke-e-e-ding Aside". Jimdero.com. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- Jason Lymangrover (2007-09-18). "Let's Stay Friends – Les Savy Fav | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
- Armisen interview, The A.V. Club, January 2006.
- Lavery, Lisa. Interview: "Whaddya mean you've never heard of....Fred Armisen?" at the Wayback Machine (archived September 27, 2007) Cult Cargo, 16 November 2006.
- Duncan, Alasdair (August 3, 2012). "Fred Armisen on Portlandia, video games and cross-dressing". Crikey. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
- Portlandia at IFC.com, 2010.
- "Fred Armisen". Voice Chasers. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- "Critic's corner". The Boston Globe.[dead link]
- "Fred Armisen and Bill Hader Say Goodbye to 'Saturday Night Live' – Connor Simpson". The Atlantic Wire. 2013-05-19. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
- "The Definitive 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch Rankings – Dave Johnson". TIME. 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
- Armstrong, Josh E. "Seven Questions with Fred Armisen". Armstrong Interviews. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- "Doppelgängers". This American Life. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
- Smooching Deadlines, The Austin Chronicle, 5 November 1998.
- [dead link]
- Jens Hannemann "COMPLICATED DRUMMING TECHNIQUE" on Drag City Educational Music DVD
- "Fred Armisen Joins Joanna Newsom In Concert". Stereogum. March 25, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- "Man Man: "Rabbit Habits (with Fred Armisen, Brett Gurewitz, others)"". Punknews.org. April 8, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- Murphy, Samantha (2011-11-18). "Fred Armisen Joins 'Late Night with Seth Meyers' as Bandleader". Mashable.com. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
- Borrelli, Christopher. "Fred Armisen: The Chicago Years", The Chicago Tribune, 11 January 2012. Accessed 5 February 2012.
- "Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss Marries SNL's Fred Armisen", People, 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
- "Elisabeth Moss, Fred Armisen divorce official" May 19, 2011, MSNBC
- Oh, Eunice; and Charlotte Triggs (19 August 2010). "Fred Armisen and Abby Elliott's Relationship in 'Early Stages'". People.
- Ravitz, Justin (27 September 2011). "SNL's Fred Armisen, Abby Elliott Split". US Weekly.
- "Real Time with Bill Maher". Episode 242. HBO. March 23, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Fred Armisen's Guide to Dance and Self-Defense, YouTube, includes interview with Butch Vig at 14:36
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fred Armisen.|
- Official website
- Fred Armisen at the Internet Movie Database
- Fred Armisen at AllMovie
- Fred Armisen on Myspace
|Late Night bandleader
February 24, 2014–present