'SNL's' Fred Armisen moves to 'Portlandia'
January 21st, 2011
03:04 PM ET

'SNL's' Fred Armisen moves to 'Portlandia'

Fred Armisen clearly has a thing for sketch comedy.

Already well known for his portrayal of President Barack Obama, Larry King and others as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” Armisen is sharing his talents with the new IFC show “Portlandia.”

The project is an outgrowth of the web series “ThunderAnt,” which Armisen and friend/co-star Carrie Brownstein started a few years ago. The “SNL” star told CNN the city of Portland, Oregon, turned out to be the ideal setting.

“We weren’t sure about it being funny - it’s just such a comfortable place that it’s almost Utopian,” Armisen said. “Carrie is from there and it’s pretty welcoming and open. There was something about it that was welcoming enough that we felt like we could build sketches there and create characters.”

With its beautiful green space, funky shops and cool vibe, it wasn’t hard to draw big names to Portland, he said. Consequently, quite a few stars showed up, including Heather Graham, Kyle MacLachlan, Jason Sudeikis, Aubrey Plaza and Steve Buscemi.

“We didn’t make them the butt of a joke,” he said. “When I do stuff, as strange as it may sound, I try not to make fun of anyone. Like when I am impersonating someone, they are people I like.”

“Portland is a place that we like and we like the people,” he added. “We never did anything to say that these people are foolish, and in fact we are very much like them."

Armisen said the new show is pretty different from his duties on “SNL.”

“The main thing is that it’s not in front of a live audience,” he said. “Being in front of a live audience every Saturday is its own really intense, incredible experience. ['Portlandia'] is more like camping, going to a different city, setting up an office and writing and filming all day.”

"Portlandia" premieres at 10:30 p.m. EST Friday on IFC.


soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Todd

    Love Fred and love Steve Buscemi but this was beyond plodding. One note to the extreme, and if the comments I've read are true, you need to have lived in the city to have any resonance at all.

    January 31, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. dave

    What a funny show. Living in portland, its cool to see the situations I observe on the daily spoofed. No need to make fun of fake people in L.A. portland has much more character!

    January 29, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pablo Hack

    Watched the first episode. Classic Armisen humor. I live in Portland. The locations they have chosen fit the comedy sketches perfectly. We can all laugh along with the realistic portrayal of everyday life here in P-town. These spoofs were right on the money!! Looking forward to the next show on Friday.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lisababy

    I used to watch Davis Rules i have always wanted to go there

    January 23, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nancy

    sounds like it might be a fun show

    January 23, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    Portland, a place where young people go to retire. So funny, it's true, whenever I am down town during the day I always see kids wandering around the streets, but I love you anyways Portland. I hope this show isn't a bust, it looks promising.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |

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