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Weekend Update Warrior

Fred Armisen’s 10 Funniest Weekend Update Characters

Fred Armisen Weekend Update

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Seth Meyers will join his  Late Night bandleader Fred Armisen on the Portlandia season finale this week, but the two have a long history together of making us laugh. They first found their unique chemistry behind the Weekend Update desk on Saturday Night Live. Seth’s bemused personality played perfectly off the parade of lunatics Fred brought to life. Here are a few of Fred, and occasionally Seth’s, Weekend Update highlights.

10. Garth and Kat

No matter how many chances Seth gave them, Fred and Kristen Wiig’s loveable loser characters Garth and Kat just couldn’t get their act together. Making up songs on the spot, while empathically denying they were doing just that, these two became such fan favorites they were welcomed back for the show’s 40th anniversary.


9. Nicholas Fehn

Aping on the comedy stylings of Mort Sahl, Nicholas would riff on newspaper headlines, without ever actually landing on a joke. Along with Garth and Kat, this character was clearly made up on the spot, and showed how brilliant Fred could be at seeming unprepared.


8. The Kelly Brothers

One of Fred’s earliest appearances behind the desk, he and Will Forte played The Kelly Brothers, constitutional scholars who explained the arcane aspect of constitutional law through song, but never quite got to the point.


7. Native American Comic Billy Smith

Again going for an anti-laugh of sorts, Billy Smith was famous for punch lines that made no sense to anyone outside of the Native American community. Trust him though, “these jokes kill on the reservation.”


6. Randall Meeks

“Weekend Update Tech Correspondent” Randal Meeks appeared just once, sharing how easy it was to use Google Glass. The only problem was, the darn thing never worked, leaving Randall in a constant panic as he flailed around, unable to even turn it off. The astute way Armisen picked apart the small, smug enclave who adopted this technology clearly predicts his work on Portlandia.

5. Best Friends Growing Up

Not a character, but a recurring bit, Fred and Vanessa Bayer played old friends to some of the world’s worst dictators, including Gaddafi, Vladimir Putin and even King Richard the III. And honestly, they’re really nice in person, even if they can be a bit cheap when it comes to tipping.


4. Deaf Comic Ritchie B

An early play on his stand-up comic with a gimmick routine, here a deaf comic has to rely on a black translator to impart his racist jokes. It stars Fred and Kenan Thompson, a duo we wish we had seen more of.


3. The Gay Couple From New Jersey

Romantic strolls through the streets of New Brunswick were the name of the game for these Sopranos-esque lovers, played by Fred and Bill Hader. They may make you an offer you can’t refuse, but that’s only because nobody can refuse a lovely weekend of antiquing in Vermont.


2. Steve Jobs

A character sadly retired for obvious reasons, Fred had fun making anything Jobs said…the…most…important…thing…in…the…world. Sure, Fred’s Jobs flat out lied about the iPhone’s capabilities, but who could refuse a phone with “150 kabillion contacts” and a clock?


1. New York Governor David Paterson

This accidental Governor didn’t seem like the most obvious target when Fred Armisen debuted his impersonation in 2008, but the blind, baffled politician who hates New Jersey became one of his most popular characters. This bit was not without its critics, but was so beloved even Fred’s departure from the show couldn’t stop it, coming back in 2014 to help send Seth Meyers off in style.

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Car Notes

Portlandia Keeps Road Rage In Park

Get a lesson in parking etiquette on a new Portlandia.

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It’s the most American form of cause and effect: Park like a monster, receive a passive-aggressive note.

car notes note

This unofficial rule of the road is critical to keeping the great big wheel of car-related Karma in balance. And naturally, Portlandia’s Kath and Dave have elevated it to an awkward, awkward art form in Car Notes, the Portlandia web series presented by Subaru.

If you’ve somehow missed the memo about Car Notes until now, you can catch up on every installment online, on the IFC app, and on demand. You can even have a little taste right here:

If your interest is piqued – great news for you! A special Car Notes sketch makes an appearance in the latest episode of Portlandia, and you can catch up on it now right here.

Watch all-new Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Naked and Hungry

Two New Ways to Threeway

IFC's Comedy Crib gets sensual in time for Valentine's Day.

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This week, two scandalous new digital series debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
Ménage à Trois invites people to participate in a real-life couple’s fantasy boudoir. And The Filling is Mutual follows two saucy chefs who invite comedians to make food inspired by their routines. Each show crosses some major boundaries in sexy and/or delicious ways, and each are impossible to describe in detail without arousing some awkward physical cravings. Which is why it’s best to hear it directly from the minds behind the madness…

Ménage à Trois

According to Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer, the two extremely versatile constants in the ever-shifting à trois, “MàT is a sensually psychedelic late night variety show exploring matters of hearts, parts and every goddamn thing in between…PS, any nudes will be 100% tasteful.”

This sexy brainchild includes sketches, music, and props that would put Pee-wee’s Playhouse to shame. But how could this fantastical new twist on the vanilla-sex variety show format have come to be?

“We met in a UCB improv class taught by Chris Gethard. It was clear that we both humped to the beat of our own drum; our souls and tongues intermingled at the bar after class, so we dove in head first.”

Sign me up, but promise to go slow. This tricycle is going to need training wheels.

The Filling is Mutual

Comedians Jen Saunderson and Jenny Zigrino became best friends after meeting in the restroom at the Gotham Comedy Club, which explains their super-comfortable dynamic when cooking with their favorite comedians. “We talk about comedy, sex, menses, the obnoxiousness of Christina Aguilera all while eating food that most would push off their New Year’s resolution.”

The hook of cooking food based off of comedy routines is so perfect and so personal. It made us wonder about what dishes Jen & Jenny would pair with some big name comedy staples, like…

Bill Murray?
“Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to… Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to avoid doing any kind of silly Groundhog Day reference.” 

Bridget Everett?
“Cream Balls… Sea Salt encrusted Chocolate Ganache Covered Ice Cream Ball that melt cream when you bite into them.” 

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney? 
“I’d make George and Gil black and white cookies from scratch and just as we open the oven to put the cookie in we’d prank ’em with an obnoxious amount of tuna!!!”

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen? 
“Definitely a raw cacao “safe word” brownie. Cacao!”

Just perfect.

See both new series in their entirety on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Dark Arts

Foot Fetish Jesus And Other Nightmares

Meet the minds behind Comedy Crib's latest series, Quirks and The Mirror.

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The Mirror and Quirks are really, really strange. Deeply disturbing yet hauntingly beautiful. But you really don’t need to read a synopsis of either of the aforementioned shows to understand the exact variety of nightmare-bonkers comedy these shows deliver — that’s why the good lord made links. Instead, take a peek behind the curtain and meet the creators.

Quirks

Let’s start with Kevin Tosi. Kevin does the whole show by himself. That doesn’t mean he’s a loner — Kevin has a day job with actual humans. But that day job is copywriting. So it’s only natural that his suppressed demons would manifest themselves in biting cartoon form, including “Foot Fetish Jesus”, in ways that somehow speak to all of us. If only all copywriters channeled their inner f*ckedupness into such…expressive art.

The Mirror

Onward to the folks at Wham City Comedy.

These guys aren’t your typical comedy collective in that their work is way more left-field and even elevated than your standard digital short. More funny weird than funny ha-ha. They’ve done collaborations with musicians like Beach House, Dan Deacon & Wye Oak, television networks (obviously), and others. Yeah they get paid, but their motivation feels deeper. Darker. Most of them are video artists, and that explains a lot.

See more of The Mirror and Quirks on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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