Fred Armisen is one of the most diversely talented performers working today with credits that run the gamut from acting, producing and writing in both comedy and music.
He is the co-creator, co-writer and co-star of IFC’s Portlandiaalongside Carrie Brownstein. He received an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2014 and a nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series in 2012, 2013, and 2014 for his work on the series. Last year, Armisen, along with the other writers, also garnered a Writers Guild Awards nomination for Outstanding Comedy/Variety Series and they won in 2013. The show received the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in 2012. The critically acclaimed series began its fifth season in January 2015.
Armisen’s most recent venture is his new IFC comedy, Documentary Now!. The show is a curated series of half-hour documentaries and biopics, each about a completely fictitious subject. Armisen and Bill Hader star while also serving as creator/executive producer/writers alongside fellow SNL vet Seth Meyers. Produced by Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Television and directed by SNL’s Rhys Thomas, the series will premiere on August 20, 2015.
Further, it was recently announced that Armisen will join Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in Zoolander 2. The film is slated for a February 12, 2016 release.
Earlier this year, Armisen wrapped production on the film Geezer which is written and directed by Lee Kirk. The film is a punk rock mid-life crisis story with Armisen starring alongside Billie Joe Armstrong, Judy Greer and Selma Blair. Armisen also stars in Jamie Babbit’s raucous comedy Fresno alongside Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne. The film, about two sisters that find themselves in trouble after one accidentally kills someone, premiered at South by Southwest on March 14, 2015.
This past February, Armisen co-hosted IFC’s Film Independent Spirit Awards and this May he hosted the Peabody Awards. The previous year, in February 2014, he was named band leader of the 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The band, curated by Armisen, includes members of indie rock bands Les Savy Fav and Girls Against Boys.
Previously, Armisen starred in HBO’s one-off comedy event 7 Days in Hell. It was described as a mockumentary send-up of professional tennis. Based on an original concept from Murray Miller and Andy Samberg, the former wrote the script, with Jake Szymanski directing. In addition to Armisen, the cast included Andy Samberg, Kit Harington, Lena Dunham, Will Forte and Michael Sheen.
An eleven season veteran of Saturday Night Live, Armisen has engaged audiences with memorable impressions and characters including world leaders like President Barack Obama or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the popular digital short “Iran So Far Away” to “Weekend Update” fixtures like political comedian Nicholas Fehn or half of the songwriting team of Garth and Kat (with Kristen Wiig) to name a few. He closed out his last season in the guise of British punk rocker Ian Rubbish with a star-studded performance of the original song “It’s a Lovely Day.”
Armisen has landed on Rolling Stone‘s “Hot List” and has several times on Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must List.” He has appeared in countless feature films including Easy A, The Rocker, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Eurotrip and The Promotion as well as lending his voice to the feature The Smurfs. He has also appeared in the films Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny with Jack Black, Baby Mama with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, The Ex with Zach Braff and Jason Bateman, and in Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’sAnchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
He has made guest appearances on Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 30 Rock, House of Lies, Super Fun Night, Deadbeat, Ambiance Man, Broad Street and Parks and Recreation and the cable comedy showsThe Sarah Silverman Show, Human Giant and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. He was also seen in the smash kids show Yo Gabba Gabba on Nickelodeon and did voice over guest spots on Archer,Chozen and Bob’s Burgers.
His career began as a musician in the Chicago-based post-punk band Trenchmouth as well as playing with the Blue Man Group. His transition to comedy came with the 1998 underground short film Fred Armisen’s Guide to Music and SXSW which followed him through the Austin, Texas “South By Southwest Music Festival” posing as a music journalist. In 2006, he interviewed Cat Power for the influential music website Pitchfork.com and later combined his love for music and comedy by creating the role of drummer Jens Hannemann and releasing an instructional DVD, Complicated Drumming Technique, in 2007.
Armisen splits his time between Portland, Los Angeles and New York City.