Audiences are accustomed to seeing Fred Armisen impersonating a variety of famous faces like President Barack Obama, Governor David Paterson, and Prince each week on “Saturday Night Live.” While he continues his night job of nine years, Armisen and Carrie Brownstein created, wrote and starred in the new sketch comedy series “Portlandia” for IFC.
Senior editors Rob Licuria and Chris Beachum recently chatted with Armisen who cited “Flight of the Conchords” and “Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show” as inspirations for “Portlandia.” He revealed that he and Brownstein pitched the show to IFC as an off-shoot of their website Thunder Ant. Setting the show in Portland was a key to its success as “locations were the most important part of the series.” And while they are always on the hunt for more off-the-wall characters to play, Armisen believes they “are never really making fun of them; it’s all done in love.”
“Portlandia,” which has lured guests like Kyle MacLachlan, Aimee Mann and Jason Sudeikis, will be vying for a spot in the competitive Variety Music Comedy Series category at the Emmys. “The Daily Show” has owned this award for the last eight consecutive years. Perennial also-rans include “SNL,” “The Colbert Report” and “Real Time with Bil Maher.” And, as Emmy rules preciude variety performers from submitting as leads, Armisen and Brownstein are entering the Supporting Comedy races.
The majority of the conversation below is captured on video but a technical glitch meant that the last few minutes are audio only.