Late night band leaders used to be good for one thing: smarmy small talk and way-too-loud laughs at their host’s lame jokes.
But thanks to new “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon’s hiring of the Roots in 2009 for “Late Night,” now we expect the house band to rock a little bit. That’s why I’m so psyched that Fallon’s pal and former “Saturday Night Live” castmate Seth Meyers has tapped another “SNL” alum to lead his “Late Night” band, the incredible Fred Armisen.
When the show debuts on February 24, the multi-talented Armisen will curate and lead the 8G band, which includes guitarist Seth Jabour (Les Savy Fav), bassist Syd Butler (Les Savy Fav), keyboardist Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys) and Beyoncé’s touring drummer Kim Thompson. In addition to singing and playing guitar, Armisen will also get time off to continue making the world awesome on his other show, “Portlandia.”
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) February 10, 2014
But why Armisen? Aside from the fact that he totally ripped it as the drummer in 1990s Chicago punk band Trenchmouth and played percussion for the Blue Man Group, Armisen is also one of the funniest men around.
Here are six reasons why Armisen will totally kill his new gig:
1) Way before he became famous on “SNL,” Armisen went to the South By Southwest Festival in 1988 and basically punk’d everyone by playing a variety of weird characters.
2) He had this epic drum-off with the Roots’ Questlove on Fallon’s show last January and he’s posted a series of hilarious “Complicated Drumming” videos that help you learn beats like the “Polynesian Nightmare.”
3) He’s Ian Rubbish, in’t he? The fake British punk leader of the Bizarros has not only released a free EP with such not-hits as “Sweet Iron Lady,” “Living in the Gutter” and “Maggie Thatcher,” but he also lived his dream of performing “Hey Policeman!” with the members of the Clash.
4) He was never prepared, but his Garth always figured out a way to make beautiful, totally made up music with Kat (Kristen Wiig).
5) His shy Prince was dead on.
6) He made Portland in the 1890s seem amazing. If you didn’t run out and buy suspenders, pickle your own vegetables, carve your own ice cubes and groom your muttonchops with a straight razor after this one, then clearly you didn’t get the message that the “dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.”