“Portlandia” Star Fred Armisen Loves Him Some “Red Dead Redemption”

“Portlandia” Star Fred Armisen Loves Him Some “Red Dead Redemption” (photo)

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In this weekend’s New York Times, actor/comedian/musician Fred Armisen talks about his Sunday rituals, part of which includes chunks of time devoted to Rockstar Games’ hit western. Armisen–one-half of the ThunderAnt sketch duo that powers “Portlandia”–owns up to a significant relationship with “RDR,” saying:

I play Red Dead Redemption — it comes from the same company that made Grand Theft Auto. I have a part in it: I’m the pharmacist. But I play it because it’s a beautiful game. The words “video game” seem a teeny way to describe it: it’s pure art, this whole universe of intense little interactions and consequences. It’s relaxing because it’s stressful. You get yourself into a physical panic whenever you play.

I didn’t even know that Armisen played that pharmacist character, but Rockstar’s games tend to sneak in a lot of unheralded, stealth cameos. Samuel L. Jackson voiced a crooked cop in “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” and all kinds of cult-fave musicians–Femi Kuti, DJ Premier, Roy Ayers and Iggy Pop–showed up as DJs in “Grand Theft Auto IV.” Speaking of “GTA IV,” SNL celebrated its release with this Weekend Update skit with Armisen playing the game’s infamous Vlad character.

Jokes aside, Armisen’s comments hit at the allure of “Red Dead Redemption,” as well as many of the best video games, right on the head. Master craftsmen like the folks at Rockstar transcend mainstream stereotypes of video games and deliver interactive fiction that stitches together emotional crossroads, reluctant violence and player agency into a “whole universe.” All Rockstar needs to do now is a put a bird on “L.A. Noire” and it’d be perfect.

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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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