Fred ArmisenUnfamiliar Kin

Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen is featured in Season 4, Episode 2: Unfamiliar Kin (check local listings).

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 and 2016, the show received an Emmy® nomination 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. PORTLANDIA received the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in 2011. The critically-acclaimed show just wrapped its seventh season. Its eighth and final season will air in 2018.

Armisen’s most recent venture is his IFC comedy, DOCUMENTARY NOW! The show is a curated series of half-hour documentaries and biopics, each about a completely fictitious subject. The first season received an Emmy® nomination for “Outstanding Variety Sketch Series," and the second season premiered in September for which Armisen received a 2017 WGA nomination for “Comedy/Variety – Sketch Series.” Seth Meyers is an executive producer for the series along with Armisen and Bill Hader, who play all of the primary roles. In 2015, Hader and Armisen also 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.

Additionally, last year 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.

Also last winter, Armisen starred alongside Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Christine Taylor and Kristen Wiig in ZOOLANDER 2 and opposite Billie Joel Armstrong, Selma Blair and Judy Greer in ORDINARY WORLD. He will appear in upcoming releases BAND AID, THE LITTLE HOURS, which are both going to this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and will lend his voice to Cole in THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE, due in theaters September 2017.

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.

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 “Best Comedy / Variety Sketch Series” award this year and received a WGA nominations for his work on the show in 2016.

He has appeared in countless feature films including 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, MODERN FAMILY, DIFFICULT PEOPLE, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, 30 ROCK, BROAD CITY, PARKS AND RECREATION, and the cable comedy shows THE SARAH SILVERMAN SHOW,  and TIM AND ERIC AWESOME SHOW, GREAT JOB! He was also seen in the smash kids show YO GABBA GABBA on Nickelodeon and did voice over guest spots on ARCHER and CHOZEN.

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, 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.



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About Season Four

Season four of Finding Your Roots series moves fluidly from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, uniting us all through emotional moments that enrich and enlighten—encouraging us to look at our world through a wider, more inclusive lens. Learn more here.

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