Emmy Contender Fred Armisen Gets Workaholic ‘High’ Mocking Docs on ‘Documentary Now!’ (Video)

“Portlandia” star talks about turning the world’s greatest docs into the funniest — even if you never saw ‘Grey Gardens’ or ‘Nanook of the North.’

Last Updated: May 27, 2016 @ 3:05 PM

A version of this story first appeared in the print edition of TheWrap Magazine’s The Race Begins Emmy Issue.

Never mind that he is a co-creator, writer and star of the IFC series”Portlandia,” and that he serves as the bandleader on “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” and that he also acts in movies and does live comedy shows.

Fred Armisen decided to add another TV series to his plate this past season, co-creating and starring in “Documentary Now!”, a wickedly funny sendup of various documentaries that had a six-episode run on IFC and has now been renewed for two more seasons.

“I want to obliterate my life with work,” said Armisen, 49, with a smile. “I want to just bury everything, because I love doing it so much. I like the feeling of ‘there’s too much, how am I gonna handle this?’ It’s a little bit like juggling, and there’s a high to that.”

Fred Armisen, "Documentary Now!"

Photographed by Jana Cruder

He created Documentary Now!” with former “Saturday Night Live” castmates Seth Meyers and Bill Hader and director Rhys Thomas, creating twists on famous nonfiction films like “Grey Gardens,” “Nanook of the North” and “The Thin Blue Line.”

And if his audience hasn’t seen the films the show is parodying?

Fred Armisen, "Documentary Now!"

Photographed by Jana Cruder

“We were hoping that it would survive on its own whether people had seen them or not,” he said. “I remember that when I was a kid, I’d watch political sketches on “SNL” and not have any idea who they were talking about, but it would work for me anyway. That gave us the confidence to do this.”

Fred Armisen, "Documentary Now!"

Photographed by Jana Cruder

Watch the interview below:

See more of TheWrap Magazine’s The Race Begins Emmy Issue:
The Race Begins Cover


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