Fred Armisen bangs the drum loudly for 'Portlandia' and Seth Meyers

Fred Armisen bangs the drum loudly for 'Portlandia' and Seth Meyers
Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein star in "Portlandia." (Associated Press)

Fred Armisen hasn't been on "Saturday Night Live" for quite a while, but he seems to be everywhere else. He's just started the fourth season of the quirky IFC sketch comedy show "Portlandia," which features him and Carrie Brownstein poking subtle fun at the people and rituals of Portland, Ore.

He's taken on a major gig as a bandleader, with his 8G Band, for NBC's "Late Night with Seth Meyers," and he's making the rounds at other events. He was even a presenter at last week's Independent Spirit Awards.


We caught up to the comedian-performer-writer-musician while he was taking a brief break from all his activities.

How crazy has juggling all these things been for you?

"Yeah, it's been crazy, but it's something that has been good. There are many hours in the day, and plenty of things to do. It's a joy to do both comedy and play music."

"Portlandia," which used to be known as this quiet, subtle comedy,  seems like it's really got momentum in kicking off the fourth season.

"Carrie and I have done all these press events -- we really have worked hard to make sure people know about the show. We're at a good place now -- the first season we really had to explain what 'Portlandia' was. We don't have to spend that much time defining the show. We've got brilliant writers that really tore into the material."

Doing both "Portlandia," which you also write and produce, and "Late Night" seems like it might be a bit daunting.

"When 'Portlandia' starts up again and it's time to write, I will go and take time to do that."

Some people scratched their heads when they heard you were going to be leading a band on a late-night show?

"Really? It's a learning experience. I don't know how to read music. I'm learning how to play guitar. I'm also learning how to play drums. The truly great part of it is that I get to hang out with my friend Seth."

How would you define the style of the 8G Band.

"Post-punk. Always."

Carrie's a talented musician. Are we going to see her sitting in at some point?


"Yes, we will see her -- she's one of my favorite guitar players. She's a brilliant musician. You're going to see many special guests."

You seem very excited about everything.

"Doing all this makes me happy to be alive. I'm doing everything I ever dreamed of as a kid."