Armisen at the 2014 Imagen Foundation Awards
|Birth name||Fereydun Robert Armisen|
December 4, 1966 |
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, U.S.
|Medium||Stand-up, music, television, film|
|Genres||Character comedy, sketch comedy|
(m. 1998; div. 2004)
(m. 2009; div. 2011)
|Notable works and roles||Saturday Night Live
Late Night with Seth Meyers
Fereydun Robert "Fred" Armisen (born December 4, 1966) is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and musician. Widely known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 2002 until 2013, Armisen has portrayed characters in comedy films, including EuroTrip, Anchorman, and Cop Out. With his comedy partner Carrie Brownstein, Armisen is the co-creator and co-star of the IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia. Armisen founded ThunderAnt.com, a website that features the comedy sketches created with Brownstein, and is the bandleader for the Late Night with Seth Meyers house band, The 8G Band.
For his work on Portlandia, Armisen was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2014. He has also won two Peabody Awards, one in 2008 as part of the Saturday Night Live political satire cast and one in 2011 for Portlandia.
Fereydun Robert Armisen was born on December 4, 1966 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He moved with his family to New York as a baby and briefly lived in Brazil in his youth. He was raised in Valley Stream, New York, where he was a high school classmate of fellow SNL alumnus Jim Breuer.
His mother, schoolteacher Hildegardt (Mirabal Level), is Venezuelan, with family from San Rafael de Atamaica, Apure. His father, Fereydun Herbert "Fred" Armisen, who worked for IBM, was born in Soltau, Lower Saxony, Germany, to a German mother and a Korean-born father, Pak Yeong-In. Fred had incorrectly thought his paternal grandfather to have been Japanese for much of his life; he was actually born in Ulsan, Korea, and had adopted a Japanese name and persona because Japanese rule of Korea began when he was two. Pak was a prominent dancer and choreographer known as Masami Ehara (Japanese: ? Hepburn: Ehara Masami), pen name Masami Kuni (Japanese: Hepburn: Kuni Masami, or marked as Hangul: ; RR: Bang Jeongmi; MR: Pang Ch?ngmi), or birth name Bak Yeong-in (Hangul: ; Hanja: ; RR: Bak Yeongin; MR: Pak Y?ngin). Masami studied esthetics in Tokyo Imperial University and became a professional dancer before moving to Germany. He worked for Joseph Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry in Nazi Germany. Pak Yeong-In's family were members of the Korean aristocracy, who could verifiably trace their lineage back to the 1600s.
Armisen attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan before dropping out to begin a career as a rock drummer. He has mentioned watching the bands The Clash and Devo perform on television, and wanting to be a performer since he was a child.
In 1984, Armisen played drums in a local band along with his high school friends in Valley Stream, New York, but the group soon ended. In 1988, he moved to Chicago to play drums for the punk rock band Trenchmouth, and in the 1990s, he played background drums with Blue Man Group.
Armisen played drums on three tracks for Les Savy Fav's 2007 album Let's Stay Friends, as well as tracks for Matthew Sweet's 2011 album Modern Art and Wandering Lucy's 2015 album Leap Year.
While not playing with the band Trenchmouth, Armisen's interests switched to acting. In a January 2006 interview, he said, "I wanted to be on TV somehow. For some reason, I always thought it would be an indirect route; I didn't know that it would be comedy and Saturday Night Live. I just wanted to do something with performing that would lead me there."
Armisen's subsequent television work, such as some "memorable Andy Kaufman-esque appearances" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, as well as work for Crank Yankers and Adult Swim, led to a role in 2002 as a featured player in the cast of Saturday Night Live. In the 2004 season, he was promoted to a repertory cast member.
Fred participates in Sister City, the fifth episode of the second season of "Parks and Recreation", broadcast on NBC in the United States on 2009. Fred is Raul Alejandro Bastilla Pedro de Veloso de Morana, heads as deputy director of the parks department and with others Park department officials from Boraqua, Pawnee's sister city in Venezuela, visit Leslie (Amy Poehler), Donna (Retta), and Tom (Aziz Ansari) from the parks department of Pawnee. Venezuelan intern Jhonny (JC Gonzalez) falls in love with April (Aubrey Plaza), who convinces him that she is feared and very powerful. Leslie takes them to a public meeting to show them democracy in action, but all citizens ask Leslie angry questions. Raul wonders where the armed guards are to take the protesters to jail. When Raul tells Leslie that they live like kings in Venezuela and do not respond to anyone, she explodes with rage, insulting their uniforms and Hugo Chávez. The episode ends with Leslie and Tom receiving an online video from April, who tells them that she and Donna are on vacation with Jhonny (JC Gonzalez) in his Venezuelan palace, which is protected by armed guards.
Armisen has landed several minor yet memorable roles that were defined by an interviewer as "feral foreigners" in comedy films such as Eurotrip, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Deck the Halls, The Ex, The Promotion, The Rocker, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny and Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Armisen stars in the IFC sketch series Portlandia alongside Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney); the first season debuted on January 21, 2011. He and fellow Saturday Night Live alum Bill Hader write, produce, and star in the IFC mockumentary series Documentary Now!
In the Cartoon Network series The Looney Tunes Show, Armisen voices Speedy Gonzales. Armisen, along with Carrie Brownstein, appeared on the Simpsons episode "The Day the Earth Stood Cool", in which they play The Simpsons' new neighbors who encourage everyone to be cool like them.
The following is a partial list of notable roles Armisen has played in Saturday Night Live sketches. At the time of his 2013 departure from the show, Armisen was the third-longest tenured cast member (behind Darrell Hammond and Seth Meyers), having been a member since Season 28. As of February 2015, Armisen had appeared in 856 SNL sketches, putting him second only to Kenan Thompson in appearances on the show, and had the third most distinct impressions of any SNL cast member with 99. Armisen hosted the season 41 finale on May 21, 2016, with musical guest Courtney Barnett.
Armisen's list of notable impressions has included:
Armisen has also done impressions of political figures such as Hugo Chávez, Vicente Fox, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Barney Frank, George H. W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, Ben Bernanke, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Mike Gravel, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak and Michael Bloomberg. He has also impersonated celebrities such as Martin Scorsese, Desi Arnaz, Corbin Bleu, Sam Waterston, Joy Behar, Tony Danza, George Carlin, Dov Charney, Howie Mandel, Alan Osmond, Ben Gibbard, Joey Lawrence, Harrison Ford, Liberace, David Gregory, Mick Jagger, Larry King, Penny Marshall, Kevin McHale (as Artie Abrams from Glee), Randy Newman, David Lee Roth, Gene Simmons, Ringo Starr, Lawrence Welk, Paul Lynde, George Lopez, Randy Newman, Thom Yorke, John Oates, and Ice-T.
In 1998 he posed as a music journalist for the short film Fred Armisen's Guide to Music and South by Southwest. It was filmed by then-girlfriend Sally Timms and featured Armisen's "pranking musicians and industry types" during the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. A year later, Armisen starred with alternative rock legend Steve Albini in Chevelle's Point #1 EPK.
Armisen is part of ThunderAnt, a comedy duo with Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein. The duo specializes in creating comedic short skits often about independent vocations such as one man shows, feminist bookstores, and bicycle rights activists.
Armisen has directed music videos for bands like The Helio Sequence. Armisen also had a role in the Wilco documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which featured footage from his stint opening for front man Jeff Tweedy's 2001 solo tour. He also appeared in video segments on Blue Man Group's How to be a Megastar Tour 2.0. Armisen occasionally writes for Pitchfork Media and interviewed Cat Power for that company. Fred appeared as Jens Hannemann on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 19, 2007, promoting a 28-minute DVD called Fred Armisen presents Jens Hannemann: "COMPLICATED DRUMMING TECHNIQUE". In 2010, Armisen briefly joined Joanna Newsom's tour for her album Have One on Me as his character Jens Hannemann. On SNL, Armisen often plays musical instruments in sketches, has two recurring characters who are musicians (Mackey the drummer from the Rialto Grande and Ferecito from Showbiz Grande Explosion), or impersonates famous figures in the music world such as Liberace, Phil Spector, Lou Reed, and Prince.
Armisen performed as a singer/drummer/comedic actor in the Blue Man Group's "How to be a Megastar Live!". He played the part as a salesman on TV who advertises for the Megastar Rock Manual. He also drummed in the performance and was a backup singer.
Armisen was married to English singer and songwriter Sally Timms from 1998 to 2004 and to actress Elisabeth Moss from 2009 to 2011. He has been in a relationship with actress Natasha Lyonne since 2014.
Armisen currently[when?] resides in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Prior to his move he was a resident of Portland, Oregon's Pearl District. Armisen enjoys the work of outlaw artist Joe Coleman. He stated on Real Time with Bill Maher that he is an atheist.
Crisis of Conformity
Ian Rubbish and The Bizzaros
|1998||Guide to Music and South by Southwest||Various||Short film|
|1998||Fred Armisen's Guide to Dance and Self-Defense||Various||Short film|
|2002||I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco||Himself|
|2002||Like Mike||New Age Dad|
|2003||Frank International Film Festival||Frank||Short film|
|2003||Melvin Goes to Dinner||Vesa|
|2004||Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy||Tino|
|2004||Eurotrip||Creepy Italian Guy|
|2004||Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie||Tino|
|2005||Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo||Frenchman||Uncredited|
|2006||Deck the Halls||Gustave|
|2006||Griffin & Phoenix||Unknown|
|2006||Kiss Me Again||Professor Szabo|
|2006||Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny||Security Guard|
|2007||Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters||Time Lincoln (voice)|
|2008||Baby Mama||Stroller Salesman|
|2008||Christmas on Mars||Noachis|
|2008||The Promotion||Scott Fargas|
|2008||The Rocker||Wayne Kerr|
|2008||Bang Blow & Stroke||Kerr||Short film|
|2009||Confessions of a Shopaholic||Ryan Koening|
|2009||Post Grad||Guacanator Pitchman|
|2010||Cop Out||Russian Lawyer|
|2010||Our Family Wedding||Phillip Gusto|
|2010||Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore||Freidrich|
|2010||Presidential Reunion||Barack Obama||Short film|
|2011||The Smurfs||Brainy Smurf (voice)|
|2011||The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol||Brainy Smurf (voice)||Short film|
|2012||The Dictator||Death to Aladeen Restaurant waiter||Cameo|
|2012||Fun World||Fred (voice)||Short film|
|2013||The Smurfs 2||Brainy Smurf (voice)|
|2013||The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow||Brainy Smurf (voice)||Short film|
|2015||Addicted to Fresno||Gerald|
|2015||Staten Island Summer||Victor|
|2015||Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run||Speedy Gonzales (voice)||Direct-to-video|
|2015||The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead||Himself||Documentary|
|2016||Zoolander 2||The VIP|
|2017||The Little Hours||Bishop Bartolomeo|
|2017||Take the 10||Driver|
|2017||The House of Tomorrow||Tour Video Narrator (voice)|
|2017||Battle of the Sexes||Rheo Blair|
|2017||The Lego Ninjago Movie||Cole (voice)|
|1999||Fred||Himself, Various||TV Pilot|
|2001||Late Friday||Father Fred, Fericito||2 episodes|
|2001||Premium Blend||Sergeant Fred||2 episodes|
|2002||Late World with Zach||Interpretive Bongos Wizard, Various||29 episodes|
|2002-13||Saturday Night Live||Himself, Various||220 episodes|
|2003-07||Crank Yankers||Chip Douglas (voice)||13 episodes|
|2004||Comedy Lab||Jeremy||Episode: "12.21"|
|2004, 2008||Aqua Teen Hunger Force||Poncho, Robot Husband (voice)||2 episodes|
|2005||New York Noise||Himself||Episode: "Beggars Group 10th Anniversary in NYC Party"|
|2005-08||Squidbillies||Miguel, Jesus, Hippie Killed with Chainsaw (voice)||4 episodes|
|2006||Freak Show||Various voices||3 episodes|
|2006||Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Event for Autism Education||Himself, Prince||TV special|
|2006||Tom Goes to the Mayor||Phillip Priest (voice)||Episode: "Jeffy the Sea Serpent"|
|2007, 2012||30 Rock||Raheem Haddad, Frank 2.0/Phone Lady||2 episodes|
|2007||Tim and Eric Nite Live!||Dr. Pat Gordon Hall||Episode: "1.3"|
|2007, 2008||Human Giant||Himself, Dr. Marker, Doctor||3 episodes|
|2007, 2010||Yo Gabba Gabba!||Himself, Larry the Treasure Hunter||2 episodes|
|2008||The Sarah Silverman Program||Taylor Magenheim||Episode: "Patriot Tact"|
|2008||Blue Man Group: How to Be a Megastar 2.0||Rod Popeil||TV film|
|2008-12||Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday||Various||8 episodes|
|2008, 2010||Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!||K.J. Nutt, Tennis Buddy, Sal & Al's Customer||2 episodes|
|2009||Parks and Recreation||Raul||Episode: "Sister City"|
|2010||Ugly Americans||Larry King (voice)||Episode: "So You Want to Be a Vampire?"|
|2011-present||Portlandia||Various||Also co-creator, writer, co-executive producer
Peabody Award (2012)
Writers Guild of America Award for Comedy/Variety (including talk) series (2013)
Nominated--Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series (2012-14)
Nominated--Writers Guild of America Award for Comedy/Variety (including talk) series (2014)
Nominated--Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2014)
|2011-13||The Looney Tunes Show||Speedy Gonzales (voice)||30 episodes|
|2011||The Soup||Himself, CARL||Episode: "Fred Armisen"|
|2012||Up All Night||Gideon Kirk||Episode: "Hey Jealousy"|
|2012, 2013||Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Lady Hedith||5 episodes|
|2012||The Simpsons||Terrence (voice)||Episode: "The Day the Earth Stood Cool"|
|2012||Unsupervised||Martin (voice)||6 episodes|
|2013||Bob's Burgers||Tommy (voice)||Episode: "Nude Beach"|
|2013||Conan||Conan O'Brien||Episode: "Occupy Conan: When Outsourcing Goes Too Far"|
|2013||Kroll Show||Papi Jr||Episode: "Dine & Dash"|
|2013||Jimmy Kimmel Live!||Osama Bin Laden||Episode: "10.338"|
|2013||Out There||Terry Rosachristas (voice)||10 episodes|
|2013||The Awesomes||Stage Manager (voice)||Episode: "Pilot, Part 2"|
|2013, 2014||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Mlepnos||2 episodes|
|2014||Super Fun Night||Brian Headfoot||Episode: "Hostile Makeover"|
|2014||Broad City||Craigslist baby||Episode: "What a Wonderful World"|
|2014-present||Late Night with Seth Meyers||Himself||House band leader|
|2014||House of Lies||Vincent||Episode: "Comeuppance"|
|2014||Chozen||Various voices||Episode: "In a Pickle"|
|2014||Modern Family||Langham||Episode: "Las Vegas"|
|2014||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Himself||Episode: "Fred Armisen Wears Black Jeans & Glasses"|
|2014||Archer||Gustavo Calderon (voice)||5 episodes|
|2014||Mike Tyson Mysteries||Leprechaun (voice)||Episode: "Is Magic Real?"|
|2014||Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas||Chadwick (voice)||TV special|
|2015||30th Independent Spirit Awards||Himself (host)||TV special|
|2015||Man Seeking Woman||Tanaka||Episode: "Sizzurp"|
|2015||7 Days in Hell||Edward Pudding||Television film|
|2015||The Jim Gaffigan Show||Dr. Weiss||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2015-2017||Difficult People||Garry Epstein||3 episodes|
|2015-present||Documentary Now!||Various||Also co-creator, writer, executive producer|
|2016||New Girl||Brandon||Episode: "No Girl"|
|2016-2017||Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt||Robert Durst||4 episodes|
|2016||Saturday Night Live||Host||Episode: "Fred Armisen/Courtney Barnett"|
|2016||Man Seeking Woman||Jesus||Episode: "Honey"|
|2016||Blunt Talk||Dr. Larry Simon||Episode: "Love Is Not Linear"|
|2017||Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special||Peter Salanz||Variety special|
|2017||Nature Cat||Herbert the Hermit Crab (voice)||Episode: "The Shell Game/Heron Food Blues"|
|2017||Son of Zorn||Lord Vulchazor (voice)||Episode: "All Hail Son of Zorn"|
|2017||Animals.||Alabaster (voice)||2 episodes|
|2017||Comrade Detective||Orzan (voice)||Episode: "Two Films for One Ticket"|
|2017-present||Big Mouth||Elliot Birch / various voices||10 episodes|
|2017||Lady Dynamite||Miss Cookie Wolf||Episode: "Apache Justice"|
|2017-18||The Last Man on Earth||Karl Cowperthwaite||3 episodes|
|2017||I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman||Jesus||Episode: "Episode 10"|
|2017||A Christmas Story Live!||Mall Elf||Live television program|
|2018-present||Final Space||KVN (voice)|
|2008||Grand Theft Auto IV||Pervert, Hotdog Vendor, Internet Nerd|
|2010||Red Dead Redemption||Pharmacist|
|2013||The Smurfs 2||Brainy Smurf|
|2013||Grand Theft Auto V||Hugh Harrison|
|2014||Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes: Cartoon Universe||Speedy Gonzales|