Fred Armisen performed Friday evening as part of New York Comedy Festival to an enthusiastic sold out crowd at Town Hall. Constructed as a variety show of sorts, the night included funny thoughts, an explanation of musical genres liked and disliked, rock & roll performances with a full band, a Q&A session, and much more.
Armisen opened the show by playing snippets on his iPod Touch with accompanying explanations on why he hates jazz and considers doo wop to be the original heavy metal, and then segued into imitations of the different types of accents found throughout New York City (West Village is the deepest, of course).
The next section of the evening included so-far-unseen Portlandia clips (you’ll soon be able to see a dramatic unboxing of a B-52s box set and find out what happens when you want to finally buy a white rug), and a short set of sketches by Ana Fabrega.
Front and center throughout the night, music played a major role, notably a song by one of Armisen’s favorites, Syl Sylvain, and a performance of a catchy punk song called “Art + Student = Poor.” He also discussed his love of indie rock bands Bully, Kurt Vile, and Chairlift, and finished the show with an intentionally off key rendition of “Blackbird.”
The joyous, buoyant celebration of comedy and music lasted around 90 minutes before closing with twenty minutes of Q&A. An audience member in the back opened by asking, “So when does the comedy start?” Armisen paused, smiled, and said that people have asked him that question forever. He then took the crowd on a quick journey of his career path and noted a few who “didn’t get it” along the way. He concluded by playfully remarking that he’s just gonna keep doing what he’s doing, while that audience member will likely remain in the balcony. Cheers to that, Fred.