A Portlandia Q & A: You asked, Fred Armisen answered


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Looking for a way to fill a few minutes before tonight’s brand new episode of Portlandia, which airs at 10/9c? Step right this way: A few days on Facebook and Twitter (@IFCportlandia) we asked Portlandia fans (a.k.a. everyone) to submit questions for the show’s star, writer and co-creator, Fred Armisen. You responded with a flood of questions and we picked the best, brightest and wackiest (Ikea Monkey?) and passed them along to Fred.
Here are his answers. Read ’em and (don’t) weep:

1. If you could be a shrub, what kind of shrub would you be?
A Disney character.

2. How do you drink your coffee?


3. What does Carrie smell like?


4. What would be your spirit animal?

A human being

5. If you could put a bird on anything, what would you put it on?

The Washington Monument

6. Who is the greatest entertainer that has ever lived?

Paul McCartney

7. Name three songs you wish you’d written.

E=MC2 – Big Audio Dynamite
Numbers – Kraftwerk
Life Goes On – The Damned

8. I’m moving to Portland in two months. What’s the first thing I should do when I get there?

Go to baggage claim

9. On average, how many toothpicks would you say you use per year?


10. How psyched are you that you and I have the same birthday?

There’s a whole bunch of us! Did you know that? I just found out

11. What is your favorite kind of milk?


12. You have great hair. What kind of shampoo do you use? Would you do a shampoo infomercial?

Thank you! Kiehl’s. An infomercial? Only if it was shot on location in an Icelandic lagoon.

13. What are your thoughts on Ikea Monkey? Should he be held in captivity or returned to his owner so he can resume his fashionable lifestyle?

Owner? You don’t see that he was a secret shopper sent to check up on the employees? Look again closely at the photos.

14. What is the weirdest pickled thing you’ve ever eaten?

Some kind of red cabbage-y thing

15. What was it like working with Kevin the cat? Is he doing any solo work these days?

He’s a hard worker. A bit of a perfectionist. Really open to jamming, which is nice.

16. Favorite internet cat?

The one where the camera person is hiding from the cat, but as he shoots video and hides again, the cat gets closer and closer. It’s so funny.

17. Which Spice Girl is your favorite?


18. Do you like chicken and waffles?


19. What three things come to your mind when you hear “Feel It All Around”?

All of the art direction surrounding Washed Out. They have this aesthetic that looks like an extended family vacation out in some dreamy landscape. Or waterscape maybe. It’s so cool and they are amazing. I truly love that song.

20. A hamster and a dog are left inside a jug of water (empty). How does the hamster escape?

Why does he want to?

21. Did you wash your dishes today?

There was no need to.

Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter@IFCportlandia and use the hashtag #portlandia.

Portlandia airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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