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 Portlandia alongside Carrie Brownstein. He received an Emmy® nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” in 2014 and four overall nominations for “Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.” In 2015, 2016 and 2017 the show received Emmy® nominations for “Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.” In 2013 Armisen, along with the other writers, won a Writers Guild Award for “Outstanding Comedy/Variety Series,” and they were nominated again in 2014 and 2018.Portlandia received the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in 2011.
Upcoming, Fred is set write, executive produce and star in a Spanish-Language pilot for HBO titled Mexico City: Only Good Things Happen about a group of friends living in a dreamy version of present day Mexico City who are obsessed with horror films and monster makeup. He is also currently in production on a series he created for Amazon with fellow SNL alum Maya Rudolph, that stars the duo as “a long-term married couple residing in Southern California.”
This past year, Armisen lent his voice to the Warner Bros. animated film, The Lego Ninjago Movie, as Cole the Earth Ninja: a ninja who loves to move and groove. Additionally, he starred in Aubrey Plaza and Liz Destro’s The Little Hours alongside Alison Brie, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, and Nick Offerman.
Armisen also worked with IFC to create the critically acclaimed comedy, Documentary Now! The show is a curated series of half-hour documentaries and biopics, each about a completely fictitious subject. The show has received two Emmy® nominations for “Outstanding Variety Sketch Series” and a WGA nomination for “Comedy/Variety – Sketch Series.” Armisen and Bill Hader play the primary roles as well as writer and produce. In 2015, Hader and Armisen released a 12″ vinyl EP called Catalina Breeze by their fictitious ’70s soft-rock band they portray on the show, The Blue Jean Committee, via record label Drag City.
Also in 2015, Armisen teamed up with Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, NBCUniversal Telemundo, and fellow SNL alum Horatio Sanz to create a digital comedy channel aimed at the English-speaking Hispanic audience called Mas Mejor.
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 to half of “Weekend Update’s” unforgettable 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 won the WGA for “Best Comedy / Variety Sketch Series” in 2017 and received a WGA nomination for his work on the SNL: 40th Anniversary Special in 2016.
He has appeared in countless feature films including Battle of the Sexes, Band Aid, Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special, Ordinary World, Zoolander 2, 7 Days In Hell, Easy A, The Rocker, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and The Dictator 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, Baby Mama, The Ex, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
On the small screen, he has made guest appearances on New Girl, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Animals, Modern Family, Difficult People, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 30 Rock, Broad City, Parks and Recreation, I Love You America, Last Man On Earth and the cable comedy shows The Sarah Silverman Show, and Tim and Eric Aawesome Show, Great Job! He was also seen in the smash kids show Yo Gabba Gabba on Nickelodeon and did voice-over guest spots on Comrade Detective, Big Mouth, Archer, and Chozen.
In February 2014, Armisen 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.
His career began as a musician in the Chicago-based post-punk band Trenchmouth as well as the Blue Man Group. His transition to comedy came with the 1998 underground short film Fred Armisen’s Guide to Music and South By Southwest which followed him through the Austin, Texas “South by Southwest” music festival posing as a journalist. In 2006, he interviewed Cat Power for the influential music website Pitchfork.com, and later released a comedic instructional DVD, Complicated Drumming Technique, in 2007. Armisen has landed on Rolling Stone’s “Hot List” and has also been included several times on Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must List” for his many projects.
Armisen splits his time between Portland, New York, and Los Angeles.