Hi guys, we are the co-creators and co-stars of Portlandia on IFC. The new season starts this Thursday. Ask us anything. We're here with Victoria from reddit.

/u/CarrieBrownstein is going to tweet.


well I love reddit. And certainly we will do this again sometime. Carrie would like to say thank you to everyone who asked a question, and Fred and I always love the opportunity to connect with our audience, and we had a great time. Thank you reddit for having us! We hope you like the next season. It's our favorite so far. We're very proud of it. We are proud to call you our fans. Tune in Thursday nights on IFC.

Comments: 3048 • Responses: 102  • Date: 

Hiawathaaaaa1484 karma

Of course. Fred Armisen is doing an AMA and I can't think of anything to ask. Shiiit.

Fred_Armisen2316 karma

Well now I can't think of anything to answer. Dammit.

GrumpyHour1160 karma

First of all, I love you guys. Portlandia is great. Both of you are great. Wild Flag is great. The Creepy Italian Guy from Eurotrip is great.

But you know what's not great?

The fact that the Cinetopia sketch from last season opened with the location being established as "North Portland," when Cinetopia (particularly that one) is actually located in the suburb of Vancouver, WA, my hometown. We had one cool thing going for us, and you presented it to the world as your own.

Care to explain your web of lies?

Fred_Armisen1158 karma

Good eye. Sometimes we have to change locations for legal reasons.

CarrieBrownstein1041 karma

Is that true?

Fred_Armisen922 karma

Sometimes we have to change. We can't give real addresses for some reason. But I might be wrong about that.

general_ennui1025 karma

How much of the show is scripted and how much is improvised?

Fred_Armisen2090 karma

90% improvised and about 10% scripted.

Fred_Armisen1785 karma

we sort of write out a storyline, and then we do our own dialogue.

my5ticdrag0n919 karma

Peter and Nancy are my favorite characters on the show. What was the inspiration for Peter's pasta addiction and will they go anymore adventures like starting a B&B??

Fred_Armisen1165 karma

That came from a real dinner that Carrie and I had in Los Angeles. And we were looking at the menu, and we just thought "well obviously we can't order pasta, so I guess we have to order this." So we started talking about, why do we have to avoid pasta so much? So it was more that we were weighing the difference between the difference between enjoying life and really living, or ordering salmon.

CarrieBrownstein1246 karma

or salad.

And we talked about how, on our deathbeds, we aren't going to say "I'm so glad I ate so many salads." And then we watched jealously while this hearty Australian couple at a giant bowl of pasta. And were really unhappy.

Fred_Armisen980 karma

I forgot about that.

CarrieBrownstein1647 karma

We sat and watched it like porn.

mickcube725 karma

what's the longest you've ever waited for brunch?

CarrieBrownstein1481 karma

probably 45 really angry minutes.

Fred_Armisen1079 karma

Same, probably the same brunch as Carrie.

Fred_Armisen1105 karma

I've been so angry that I've left to go get food at diners.

dalai_alpaca720 karma

Will there be a dream of the 1790s?

Fred_Armisen903 karma

That's not a bad idea.

CarrieBrownstein1654 karma

I don't think they had dreams in the 1790s.

Fred_Armisen1274 karma

It was a very transitional time. They were just getting over the revolutionary war.

salesk675 karma

Carrie--You've tweeted out some photos of you at dinner with Amy Poheler, Aimee Mann & Kim Gordon, basically the Mt. Olympus of badass white women. What do you guys talk about, world domination? Also, are you accepting applications for new best friends?

CarrieBrownstein940 karma

Yes, we do talk about world domination. And I'm always accepting applications. Send them by carrier pigeon! Or via cute puppies.

cubosh654 karma

Did you guys just tell Kyle MacLachlan to improvise literally ANYTHING for the "anthem of portland"
*Edit here is video link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZqB5R8afjw

Fred_Armisen806 karma

Yes, that's true. We played him a backing track that was already recorded, and we gave him direction on the spirit of it, but told him to come up with his own lyrics.

tfb-632 karma

From a friend of mine who is redditless and a big fan,

Fred, have you ever "touched Bill Hader's butt?"

Fred_Armisen1134 karma

I think the question is, have I ever NOT touched Bill Hader's butt?

Frequently, often, and SNL can often be stressful, so a good butt massage...

CarrieBrownstein1226 karma

My question is: Cheeks, crack or anus?

Fred_Armisen1732 karma

My question is: Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday? Any day will do.

mindgrapes87578 karma

You guys have had some fantastic guest stars on the show, who is still on your list of people you’d love to have appear? I am envisioning maybe Kate McKinnon being a rival feminist bookstore owner/scorned lover. GOLD.

Fred_Armisen670 karma

Kate is brilliant, we've known her a long time and would love to have her on.

vera214usc549 karma

Did you ever figure out what A-O River! meant?

Fred_Armisen675 karma

It's almost like "attention! This way! I'm here! This is my location!"

Fred_Armisen720 karma

Carrie made it up.

CarrieBrownstein859 karma

My dream is that a river rafting guide uses it in their prep talk.

CarrieBrownstein1673 karma

Or that somebody announces that before they start their period.

beastfacemcgee528 karma

Was that chicken's name actually Collin or was that just a stage name?

Fred_Armisen1079 karma

The chicken is in CAG (the Chicken Actor's Guild) so… we can only use his legal name for credit.

CarrieBrownstein1607 karma

Fred and I both dated Colin for a bit.

Fred_Armisen1763 karma

And please, nobody freak out about this. It's 2014, love is love, we're not marrying Colin, we didn't have any babies, but it's modern times.

gerbaire448 karma

You guys are awesome, never cacao what you're doing.

My question:

Should I put a bird on it?

Fred_Armisen785 karma

Put a bird on everything you can. Put a bird on little things. Put a bird on big things. Put a bird in your thoughts.

CarrieBrownstein881 karma

Put a bird on a bird.

groucho_is_high_as_430 karma

AMA's are OVERRRR!!!!

CarrieBrownstein681 karma

not this one!

Javeloz357 karma

Fred, any tips on avoiding long bathroom lines?

Fred_Armisen934 karma


CarrieBrownstein1016 karma

Pee outside the bathroom.

Fred_Armisen656 karma

I just want to leave that as-is.

mattmccarty323 karma

Fred, has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful eyes?

CarrieBrownstein1105 karma

All the time! All the time people do!

That's why he had to start wearing glasses, because it was distracting people. Imagine two unicorns walking around. That's what Fred's eyes are like.

Fred_Armisen1109 karma

My eyes are like two unicorns tied together.

CarrieBrownstein327 karma

All the time! All the time people do!

SinewaveZB300 karma

I got the new portland monthly today... did you read it? Its crazy

Fred_Armisen328 karma

I haven't seen it yet.

missbologna291 karma

What haven't you pickled yet?

Fred_Armisen973 karma

Pickles. We haven't done a double pickle yet. Like we've never gotten a jar of pickles and picked that. Brand-new concept.

CarrieBrownstein410 karma

I'm not a huge fan of pickles.

CarrieBrownstein629 karma

But I would be interested in pickling pizza. I would just take an entire pizza and pickle it.

That's one of the most disgusting things I can think of.

Fred_Armisen609 karma

You would need a big, huge, flat jar.

izzy1198276 karma

Are you guys in the same room right now?

Fred_Armisen468 karma


PatrickBecerra273 karma

First off: you two are brilliant, I love the show!

Two questions:

How are you able to maintain such an intimate friendship while doing something as stressful as Portlandia?

And for Fred: is the gig with Seth Meyers going to affect Portlandia negatively in any way?

Fred_Armisen402 karma

It's because of our friendship that we are able to work easily.

And never. All experiences are positive. Because any negative experience I've had in my life has led to Portlandia, so therefore, they all benefit the show, and schedule-wise, when we're ready to start writing in May or maybe even April, then I'll focus on Portlandia. So it all helps it out.

ander3jc273 karma

Carrie - What is your favorite track on "Good Kid/m.a.a.d. City"?
Fred - What is your favorite track or album released in 1977?

Fred_Armisen603 karma

My favorite albums from 1977 would be Never Mind the Bollocks, Talking Heads 77, and the Clash's first album. And the Damned.

CarrieBrownstein439 karma

Oh, the Kendrick album?

CarrieBrownstein778 karma

Backseat freestyle.

marathonlimit271 karma

What is the dream of the 90s?

Fred_Armisen775 karma

Lollapalooza for ever, and ever and ever. Mainstage, side stage, all of it.

CarrieBrownstein1414 karma

I think the 90s had this...monolithic quality to them. Because it was pre-9/11, and everybody thought we were veering towards the Millenium, with all of these institutions in place, and the notion of the future was that it was going to keep getting bigger and better. It seems like a pre-anxiety decade to me.

rainlandorsunvalley231 karma

Hey guys! How do you react to criticism of Portlandia that comments on how the show is inspiring people to move to Portland, therefore contributing to gentrification issue and population issues in the city?

Fred_Armisen683 karma

I don't think a TV show has that big of an impact on migratory patterns. It's just a TV show.

TheftScottFitzgerald207 karma

I love the show - you guys are fantastic!

How is Matt Berry in person? I saw him on the IT Crowd and he's hilarious. Was the Squiggleman episode as much fun to film as it is to watch?

Stay on the air forever!

Fred_Armisen233 karma

He is a comedy hero of ours, we really wanted him to be on the show. It was a lot of fun because he actually spent some time BEFORE shooting that episode recording the song, so that was also fun. We really love him a lot.

Trickbballin23183 karma

what does bruce willis' armpit smell like?

Fred_Armisen323 karma

Really nice. I really enjoyed working with him. He was nice.

Fred_Armisen291 karma

No, he was great! It was just the two of us that whole day and we had a really great time. And I like him as a person.

CarrieBrownstein382 karma

I concur. You know what? After Fred worked with Bruce, he called me afterwards and said "You know whose armpits smelled better than yours? Bruce Willis'."

Fred_Armisen450 karma

Carrie's armpits smell like cinnamon.

CarrieBrownstein491 karma

And Bruce's smell like cinnamon gum.

Lloiu180 karma

Hey Carrie and Fred! Love Portlandia! I especially love Candace and Toni of the Women and Women First sketches. What inspired those characters ( or are they just general caricatures)? What about Peter and Nance (love them too!)?

CarrieBrownstein266 karma

The Feminist bookstore characters were inspired by feminist heroes that Fred and I have. By rule-breakers, smartie pants, punk rockers, misfits, and people who embody and embrace contradictions. they are very real to us.

Fred_Armisen222 karma

We're inspired by a real place, so the signage and everything around it really inspires them as well.

Sexual__Redditor178 karma

Fred, Can I borrow 20 bucks?


CarrieBrownstein308 karma

I'm sorry Fred, I wrote that in.

Fred_Armisen621 karma

I put that in your ATM. Go to your ATM and withdraw $20. That $20 is from me.

thedrunkmonk162 karma

Hey, you two. I love your show, thanks for the laughs & for making celery sexy again.

If you kept a packed suitcase under your bed for an easy escape at any time, what item(s) would you pack it with?

Fred_Armisen234 karma

Passport, toothpaste, toothbrush

Fred_Armisen215 karma

Maps. Toiletry bag for said toiletries. I would go with iPad and phone for quick getaway.

CarrieBrownstein201 karma

Me too. And cash.

CarrieBrownstein231 karma

I would say underwear, floss, running shoes...

Fred_Armisen232 karma

Finger nail clippers, phone charger

CarrieBrownstein190 karma


munkyyy153 karma

Please tell me Cat Nap is going to reunite on the new season.

Fred_Armisen202 karma

We should reunite at some point.

CarrieBrownstein196 karma

Yes, we will.

EternityOfDeath137 karma

My gf and I absolutely love Portlandia! What is your favorite sketch that you have done from the show? 'Vagina pillows' and the 'cacao' one are my two favorite.

CarrieBrownstein338 karma

That tells us a lot about you. And we like you.

guitarsarecool135 karma

Did you ever get to try Crazy Craigs Guac Tac's?

Fred_Armisen190 karma

I'm allergic to avocado.

CarrieBrownstein225 karma

This is true. You should see his business card.

Fred_Armisen310 karma

I do showings. Tonight at the 92nd street Y, $70 a pop just to look at it.

back3rman126 karma

What's one role you wish you'd gotten at the time but looking back are glad you didn't?

Fred_Armisen313 karma

Mad TV. I auditioned for Mad TV and I didn't it. Although I'm not GLAD I didn't get it, but I auditioned for it and it just didn't happen.

CarrieBrownstein231 karma

I don't know. I'm sure there's some childhood play I auditioned for that I didn't get.

sethrosenkrans126 karma

what made you choose portland?

Fred_Armisen253 karma

It was because Carrie lived in Portland, and we were already shooting videos there, and it just seemed like the right frame for what we wanted to do.

CarrieBrownstein490 karma

I think Portland is a great microcosm for the themes on the show, and I think there's a version of Portland in almost any city in the US. Also Portland is more of a mindset than a city, so there's a slight transcendent quality.

minusthelela110 karma

What TV shows are you two currently binge watching?

CarrieBrownstein442 karma

Girls and True Detective.

Fred_Armisen454 karma

House of Cards, Walking Dead, and when Game of Thrones comes back, I can't wait.

chris_trash106 karma

I'm late for work. What excuse should I use?

Fred_Armisen297 karma

Be honest. When you get into work, address that you're late, don't pretend that you're not late, and whatever reason that you're late, admit what it was.

adustingofsugar90 karma

Hello! You guys are da best. 1. Do you have favorite characters to play on Portlandia? 2. Has the show taken you places you weren't expecting to go?

Fred_Armisen224 karma

Yes. We went to the DMV in suburban Portland, which is someplace I never expected to be.

It changes but sometimes it's fun to play Spike and Iris, but his girlfriend is also sort of righteous. So those can be fun, because for that workday, we get to be really aggressive.

CarrieBrownstein355 karma

I'm still astounded that we get to take over City Hall every year and go into the mayor's office and we're left completely to our own devices, there's no security, and also one time Fred and I sat in a cop car while a cop stood 20 feet away talking to a bunch of skaters. I'm always amazed how friendly the city of Portland is.

I'm really drawn to Kath, and Nance, and Toni, all the women who wear comfortable clothes but act like they are wearing really uncomfortable attire.

Guealah9779 karma

Love Portlandia! Who's idea was it to have the mayor join a reggae band? Loved it! Keep up the good work Carrie and Fred!

CarrieBrownstein167 karma

We don't recall who specifically came up with that idea, so many of our ideas are collective or go through the process of one idea that is transformed and added upon by the other writers. But we were basing it loosely on the fact that Portland, at the time, had a gay mayor, and we liked the notion that someone could be a closeted reggae player. I should say that the Portland mayor was out, and was a wonderful mayor, and is routinely on our show.

Fred_Armisen201 karma

He plays the mayor's assistant.

CarrieBrownstein149 karma

He's been on every season.

MurrayPhilbman55 karma

Do you consider a hamburger to be a type of sandwich, or an entity of its own?

CarrieBrownstein116 karma

That's a good question.

One time I was playing the game 20 questions, and the answer was "a hamburger" and the clue kept being sandwich, and I never guessed hamburger.

Fred_Armisen141 karma

Because the proper name of any sandwich has the word sandwich in it. The Hamburger has its own name. Therefore, it's its own category. Because it does not have the word sandwich in it. Just because it has a bread type and something in between does not mean it's a sandwich.

phirenze44 karma

Would you like to double down on your meal?

CarrieBrownstein66 karma

Yes, we're starving!

katzein38 karma

do you guys happen to drive Subarus?

Fred_Armisen69 karma

I don't. They're great cars. I'll say this: My sister does. And she has kids, and lives in Northern California. And she has a station wagon that she likes very much.

Fred_Armisen201 karma

I drive two motorcycles tied together.

CarrieBrownstein42 karma

I do not.

stephydee12335 karma

If you were an animal, what would you be and why? Also, do you have any pets. If so, tell me about them!

Fred_Armisen79 karma

I would be a raven. They look great, I feel like they have a pretty safe environment. They are the smartest birds.

CarrieBrownstein105 karma

If you needed a place to rest, I would let you rest on my giraffe head.

Fred_Armisen178 karma

Look for our children's book, The Raven Who Rested on the Giraffe's Head.

CarrieBrownstein63 karma

I would be a giraffe.

I had 2 dogs.

Da_Car25 karma

Pancakes or Waffles?

CarrieBrownstein57 karma


Fred_Armisen77 karma

Pancakes as well, because they lend themselves more to the ingredients that can be worked into the actual pancake. You don't see it as much with waffles. You know? Like you'll get wheat waffles. But there's only so much you can do with waffles.

izzy11988 karma

Carrie, out of all the stuff you have released musically, whether it be Sleater- Kinney, Excuse 17, or Wild Flag which album are you most proud of?

CarrieBrownstein34 karma

I think my favorites are Dig Me Out, and One Beat.

Fred_Armisen28 karma

What about the Hot Rock? It's just one of the best albums I've ever heard.