Apr 242013

In this episode of the Wait Wait… Fred Armisen is a cast member on Saturday Night Live, a star and writer of Portlandia on IFC, a former drummer in a bunch of punk rock bands, and for a while, the world’s preeminent Barack Obama imitator.

We’ve invited him to play a game called “I regret regretting that I regretted the error.” Three questions about journalism’s best retractions of the year, inspired by the Poynter Institute’s list of “The best (and worst) media errors and corrections 2012.”

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And now the game where we ask somebody who can do a lot of cool things to do something he can’t do, which is going to be hard because Fred Armisen can seemingly do everything.

He’s a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” a star and writer of “Portlandia” on IFC, a former drummer in a bunch of punk rock bands, and for a while, the world’s preeminent Barack Obama imitator. Fred Armisen, welcome to WAIT WAIT…DON’T TELL ME!



SAGAL: So great to have you.

ARMISEN: Thank you. Thank you.

SAGAL: So we were researching your life and we found out a couple of interesting things. First of all, we found out that you have said that when you were a kid you always wanted to be famous.


SAGAL: That’s true?


SAGAL: I mean it wasn’t like I want to be a fireman, I want to be a doctor, it was, like, I want to be famous.

ARMISEN: Absolutely. I would see people on TV or I’d see bands I really liked and I though, I want that.

SAGAL: When you were a kid and thinking about it, did you imagine any of the benefits of fame, like the money or whatever else?

ARMISEN: No, nothing like that. I just liked – the amount that I enjoyed it, I thought that must be a nice thing for people to enjoy something visual and musical.

SAGAL: Right. And so you ended up, like, becoming a musician.




SAGAL: Drums, you play drums.


SAGAL: In, like, a bunch of rock bands. You actually were here in Chicago, playing in the scene here.

ARMISEN: Yeah, I was in a punk band called Trench Mouth, and we played here all the time. You know, it’s a lot of work. You know, it’s a lot of carrying things.


ARMISEN: Into a van, carrying things out of a van, upstairs, back into the van. It’s like a moving job.

SAGAL: Yeah, basically.



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