Fred Armisen Biography

Fred Armisen is a multi-talented American comedian, actor, writer, and musician who has been entertaining audiences since the late 1990s. Starting his career as a drummer, he quickly transitioned to television and made a name for himself with the HBO music series Reverb. However, his true breakthrough came when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, where he remained as a writer even after retiring as a cast member. Armisen’s talents extend beyond television, as he has also appeared in films and co-created popular sketch comedies like Portlandia. Although he has received numerous award nominations, including 14 Primetime Emmy Awards and 1 Grammy Award, Armisen’s true success lies in his ability to captivate audiences with his unique brand of humor and creativity.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Fereydun Robert Armisen
  • Age: 57 Years, 57 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Elisabeth Moss (m. 2009–2011), Sally Timms (m. 1998–2004)
    • Father: Fereydun Armisen
    • Mother: Hildegardt Mirabal
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By Fred Armisen
  • Actors
  • Height: 5’9″ (175 cm), 5’9″ Males
  • U.S. State: Mississippi

Childhood & Early Life

Fred Armisen was born on December 4, 1966, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His father, Fereydun Herbert Armisen, was of Korean and German descent, while his mother, Hildegardt Mirabal Level, was from Venezuela. They met while studying at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg.

Soon after his birth in Hattiesburg, the family moved to New York, where at some point of time his father found employment with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) while his mother became a teacher. Later they spent two years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before moving back to the USA.

Back in USA, they settled down in Long Island in Valley Stream, New York, where he attended Valley Stream Central High School and learned Spanish at the encouragement of his mother. Sometime now, he also developed an aspiration to become an artist, which was equally supported by his mother.

In 1984, he began playing drums in a local band. However, the group did not last long and on graduating from school, he left home to enter the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

Music Career

In 1988, Fred Armisen dropped out of School of Visual Arts and moved to Chicago with his friend Damon Locks. There they formed a punk band, Trenchmouth with Armisen as the drummer, Locks as the vocalist and percussionist, Chris DeZutter, as the Guitarist and Wayne Montana as bassist.

Described by music critics as an “uncategorizable quartet”, Trenchmouth incorporated diverse genres into their music, fusing Caribbean rhythms with hardcore punk, post-punk, funk, no wave, and reggae etc. In 1989, they released their debut LP, a post punk track titled Snakebite. In 1991, they released their debut studio album, Construction of New Action, which was followed in 1993 by Inside The Future and in 1994 by Trenchmouth Vs. the Light of the Sun. While the first two were not very successful, the third earned them some recognition and was named “Album Pick” by AllMusic.

After Trenchmouth, they released two more studio albums; Volumes, Amplifiers, Equalizers in 1995 (1994)2 and The Broadcasting System in 1996. However the group was dissolved soon after that and Armisen went to work for Blue Man Group, receiving his first paycheck for it.

Career on Screen

In 1997, Fred Armisen began his television career with Reverb, a weekly HBO music television series spotlighting emerging talent. Featured as a special correspondence, he appeared in 82 episodes until 2001. Concurrently he started dabbling in filmmaking.

In 1998, he released two shorts, Guide to Music and South by Southwest and Fred Armisen’s Guide to Dance and Self-Defense. In them he interviewed celebrities, using unique accent as well as mannerism that put him on the comedy map.

In 2000, he appeared in a few episodes of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, further attracting critical attention.

In 2001, he appeared as Father Fred, Fericito in two episodes of the music video show, Friday Night and as Sergeant Fred in two episodes of the stand-up comedy show, Premium Blend.

In 2002, he appeared in 29 episodes of Late World with Zach and worked for some other television productions including Adult Swim. Also in the same year, he debuted in films, appearing as a new-age dad in the sports comedy film, Like Me.

In 2002, he appeared as himself in a documentary film called I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco. However, his greatest break came when in the same year, he was invited to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, remaining with the program for the next eleven years.

In 2004, Fred Armisen was promoted to a repertory player at the Saturday Night Live. Meanwhile, he continued to appear in numerous films like Melvin Goes to Dinner and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy in 2003 and Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie in 2004.

Equally active on television, he appeared in 13 episodes of Crank Yankers, giving voice to Chip Douglas in 2003-2004. In 2003, he met actor-musician-comedian Carrie Brownstein and by 2005 they started collaborating on a series of comedy sketches titled ThunderAnt for the Internet.

In 2008, he got his first star role in a movie, appearing as Scott Fargus in the comedy film, The Promotion. From 2008 to 2012, he appeared in eight episodes of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday.

In July 2009, he, along with Carrie Brownstein, decided to create a full-fledged sketch comedy show based on Portland, Oregon. Later, they collaborated with director-producer Jonathan Krisel to create the award-winning sketch comedy television series, Portlandia, which ran from 2011 to 2018.

Meanwhile he continued to appear in other productions, lending voice to Speedy Gonzales in thirty episodes of The Looney Tunes Show from 2011 to 2013, playing Lady Edith (Hedith)4 in five episodes of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012-2013.

In 2013, after appearing in 229 episodes of Saturday Night Live, he decided to leave the show. In 2014, he joined Late Night with Seth Meyers, since then starring in it as the bandleader. Meanwhile in 2015, he co-created a mocumentary television series call Documentary Now, which continues to run till now.

In 2019, he co-created and co-wrote another comedy television series called Los Espookys, also starring as Tico in it. His other important works of this period are Big Mouth, Final Space, and Forever.

Personal Life

Concurrently, he continued to appear on big screen, starring in films like Ordinary World (2016) The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017), All Together Now (2020), How It Ends (2021), The Bubble (2022) etc. His latest work, an untitled Mario film, is scheduled to be released in April 2023.

Major Works

Fred Armisen is probably best known as the co-creator Portlandia, a sketch comedy show based on Portland, Oregon. He not only starred in it but also co-wrote the entire productions. The show received numerous awards and nominations, including Primetime Emmy Award.

Family & Personal Life

In 1998, Fred Armisen married English singer and songwriter Sally Timms, but it ended in divorce in 2004. Again in 2009, he married actress Elisabeth Moss, which was also dissolved in 2011.

In a 2013 interview to Howard Stern, he had said that he was not only a terrible husband, but also a terrible boyfriend and felt bad for everyone he had gone out with.

Leave a Comment