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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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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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