A Brief Interview With Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen

A Brief Interview With Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen (photo)

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On Friday night at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, the much-anticipated IFC original show, Portlandia, premieres. The shows writers, creators, and stars Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, sat down with me for a lightning round of questions about the show.

IFC Now : East Coast or West Coast?

Fred: I’m East Coast.

Carrie: West Coast.

IFC Now : Any chance you’re going to start shooting each other up Tupac and Biggie style?

Fred : No, we embrace our differences.

IFC Now : Portlandia has some awesome guest stars. In fact, one star, Steve Buscemi, won a Golden Globe last night for his role in “Boardwalk Empire”. What is his role in “Portlandia”?

Fred: He plays a visitor to the feminist bookstore, and when we were looking to cast that part, I knew I wanted a Golden Globe winner and they guaranteed that Steve was going to win. They promised. So when he won, the first thing I thought was, ‘This is great!’.

IFC Now : Right, and now “Portlandia” will be his first role after his Golden Globe win.

Fred: We have to put that in the ads for the show. We should rewrite the copy.

Carrie: Kyle [Maclachlan] must have won for something too.

IFC Now : Best Lead Actor in a Drama for “Twin Peaks”. So you have two Golden Globe winners on Portlandia. Wow!

Fred: We should hang up and go re-write the press release right now.

IFC Now : Fred, you’re not from Portland, did you rely on Carrie to help you know what to …er, skewer or was it pretty self evident?

Fred : Well I don’t think we skewer anything. But, I’ve been there enough to observe things that seemed universal. You eat in the restaurants and go to the feminist bookstores or, rather, bookstore. You see stuff. But I did rely on Carrie to chauffeur me around. I never know what direction we’re going. I just sit in the passenger seat and she drives.

IFC Now : Did you have to learn how pronounce Oregon?

Fred : It’s Orey-gohne.

IFC Now : What about Couch street? [Pronounced cooch.]

Fred : Wrong, it’s couch [cow-ch].

IFC Now : What about Willamette?

Fred : It’s actually pronounced ILL-a-met. It’s a silent ‘W’.

IFC Now : Do you actually own any flannel?

Carrie: I’m actually wearing flannel right now. It’s what I wore on the plane and I slept in it. It’s how I’m bringing Portland to New York. Through flannel.

Fred: No. I don’t own any.

IFC Now : You had the local premiere of the show on Friday (the 14th) at the Hollywood Theater. What’s been the response to the show in Portland?

Carrie: The local premiere was a lot of fun. The show was actually a benefit and the first screening sold out in just a few hours. We added a second screening and that sold out too. There’s generally been a lot of enthusiasm. People are genuinely interested. For how analytical people in Portland can be, they also have a sense of humor. There’s a real spirit of benevolence in Portland.

IFC Now : Carrie, are you worried that creating this show will make you uncomfortable in your adopted home of Portland?

Carrie: I’m not really worried about the local reaction. I’ve existed in the creative community for years and I think this is just part of the ongoing creative conversation. I mean, I hope. Portlanders are pretty low key about these things. I hope I won’t get kicked out of anywhere. So far it’s been fine.

IFC Now : I’m from Portland and the thing I keep hearing is that people are worried this show will make people want to move to Portland. What would you say to them?

Carrie: People didn’t move to the prairie after “Little House on the Prairie.”

Fred People didn’t move into the Brady Bunch house

Carrie:People didn’t move to “Gilligan’s Island” or “Lost.” Except it is in Hawaii and everyone wants to live in Hawaii.

Fred: And “Sesame Street” is in New York and lots of people move here, but no one seems to mind.

IFC Now : I have a more personal question: My brother lives on SE Lincoln and really likes Apple products, were you specifically mocking him in the first episode?

Carrie: Yes.

Fred: No, I am making fun of me. But also yes.

IFC Now : Do you think people outside of Portland will get all the jokes in the show?

Carrie: The ideals and philosophy that are in the show, and in Portland, are present in a lot of other cities, whether its Austin or Williamsburg [Brooklyn] or Silver Lake [Los Angeles] or Boulder, Colorado. So a lot of the ideology in the show is present in a lot of states. If a state doesn’t have a Portland, there are subsets of the population that are striving to be Portland. Pittsburgh is trying to get on the Portland thing. There may not be entire cities who get it, but there are certain populations that will find the material relatable.

IFC Now: Do you have any art with a bird on it?

Carrie: Yes

Fred: Yes.

Carrie: Who doesn’t?

Portlandia premieres on IFC at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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