Hi, my name is Fred Armisen, and I feel productive about being Conan O'Brien's friend.
What does that mean?
You're such an oddball. I've never met a man like you before, and I never will again. Oh, thank you.
Ring the bell. Brand new shoes walking loose on the first. And we are going to be friends. Shakuntala. Hello, this is Conan O'Brien. Welcome to Conan O'Brien, needs a friend starring me, Conan O'Brien, narrated by Conan O'Brien. I'm just trying to get my name in as many times as possible.
I also do most of the tech. I know. I know. I believe you wouldn't be hearing this.
OK, so what you're saying is I'm probably not very good at tech.
With all due respect, you're an active hindrance to the tech.
I, I can't help it. It's just not not my strong suit. That's not fair. You did really well today. Yeah. Today people don't realize that during these times, these unusual times we're in, it's necessary. Sometimes we can be in studio together and sometimes we can't. Today we're all separate. And so I'm supposed to get on a, you know, my computer and I'm supposed to. That's all I know. It's a computer.
I don't know anything about it. It's a computer. And so and then I'm supposed to you guys talk me through the quick time player and then you got to press this and drag that file. And it's a sad commentary on my abilities. I do not think I made for the modern world. I am a 19th century man at best, probably more of a 17th century man. I only get 17th century diseases. Oh, you're lucky.
Yeah, I have palsy right now in the grip. Yeah, I have Biddle's flux. I take all different kinds of oils when I get sick, I make a mix up a mustard plaster and I have it put on my chest and I lay in a four poster bed. I bleed myself occasionally to energize my bodily humors.
Oh well you know, that's how cool. Yeah. That people used to bleed themselves to. I mean one of the saddest things you can ever read is about the death of George Washington, who was otherwise very healthy, still relatively young. And he went out for a ride in the rain and he comes back to Mount Vernon and he's not feeling great. And then he wakes up in the morning with a sore throat and a fever. And what happens because he's George Washington immediately.
Thirty five doctors come rushing in and say, we're here to save you, father of our nation. And they start to bleed him and they bleed him and they bleed him and they bleed him and they bleed him. And then finally he just puts up his hand and says, enough, let me die. And he just dies. Oh, my God. Yeah. Is that. Yeah.
What are those four humors. Blood, phlegm. Bile is one bile in black bile. I think so. Yeah.
That's nice. Yeah. I mean this is before people advanced to phrenology where they would try and determine what was wrong with you by what bumps you had on your head.
So basically I think if George Washington had immediately been rushed to a hospital and given some antibiotics, he'd be alive today.
He'd be alive today. He'd have a lot to answer for. So don't do that if you're not feeling well. Yes, my public service announcement, don't bleed yourself, OK? Don't try to equalize your bodily humors. Now, we are rocketing into this year, 2021.
We're all hoping it's going to be a better year or rocketing it. We are. We're rocketing through it.
So now are you having are you having a good year so far?
Yeah, I haven't done anything. I binged the show Bridgton on Netflix in a day.
I hear that that's literally a bodice ripper that there's a lot of. Oh, that that's that. It's one of those period dramas, but there's a lot of sex. Is that true?
Yeah, I was sweating through some of it. It's wow. I know. And I feel so like repressed. Oh my God. Can you do it if you feel repressed because you're the least repressed person I've ever met. Yes. If if this is a show that made you sweat, it would make me explode. Just be my wife would hear me watching the beginning of Bridgton. Oh, Bridgton. Here we go now. And then the show would start and then three seconds into it should hear a loud splat.
It should come in and I'd be gone. There'd be a vapor and the walls would be covered with a reddish smudge on your forehead.
My four bodily humors all over the wall.
Oh. Wow, so are you recommending it, do you think I could watch it? I don't think you could watch it. I think it's a lot of fun. It's very soapy. It's a period. It's fun. There's lots of butts in it and.
Yeah, and there's I like it, but I like to see a but every now and then, I mean, I usually watch anything that's kind of softcore on Netflix because that's all my friends talk about. So basically you'd watch the news, you'd watch a lot of the news like financial news if they were all naked people. Yes.
I mean, the funny thing is you how who doesn't want their financial news like that would be really funny if you suddenly became really smart about. No, no, no, no. You've got to. That's about stocks and about making all these business. And it's like, wow, that's really impressive. So and then I just found out that Netflix had a fight, a nightly financial news show that was very good and very in depth.
But it was porn stars, you know, telling you all this information while they're doing it. And it was really beautifully shot. Yeah, I think well, not porn stars, but like actual financial people, they were just naked, I think.
Kramer, that guy, Mad Money, you know. Oh, my God, I'd love to see Kramer naked.
I've often dreamed of it and now want to even think it's a possibility, you know, him doing the exact same show where he's yelling and hitting a button and yelling and waving his arms, but he's just naked would be the camera goes in and out on him. Oh, yeah.
I think we've gone we've gone far enough with this one. Yeah. I'm going to pull us back on this one. Matthew Crawley, how are you? I'm OK.
You know, I mean, look at me. I'm just let myself go to hell.
Oh, you got a nice you got a nice salt and pepper beard. You look at you look distinguished. I've given up. No, you haven't. That's funny.
You think you've given up and you just look like a very well regarded anthropologist.
That's you know, it's the thing anyone's ever said to you.
Do you look very you know, it's not like you have a hillbilly beard. You have a very distinguished good luck on the exam. It's been it's been an honor knowing you all, you know, and then you leave the dais, you know that you have that look. Oh, thanks.
I feel better now. How are you doing? Well, thank you. I only asked you guys so that you can come around to me. We know we and hey, do me a favor.
Edit out the parts where you guys talk about how you go.
Oh, it's all just to get to you. I'm the insane puppet master with no puppets, and he's the one who would do that. You're asking me to just edit him slowly. The part where you tell us how you are as a human being. Edit that out. You got it. And then put how I am on a loop. So go. It plays seven times with six commercials for various ways to save your photographs on glass.
I got still on it. And it's been years. It has not. Why did Fracture leave us? Why did. Because they were getting all the free advertising. I know. Hit me again. I'm talking about them again.
Yeah, I'm doing OK. I'm still optimistic about this New Year. I do feel fortunate that we get to make this podcast. I really do, because I have to say, you know, we're not able to make the show right now in the theater the way we've been doing it because of the surge here in Los Angeles. And so it's nice. Like I was really excited to, oh, I'm going to get to do the podcast and be silly with a really funny guest and talk to Seona and Matt.
And I just I was feeling grateful for that, because I'm telling you, first of all, in my house, everyone's tired of my shtick.
Like my kids and my wife are really at it. They've been sick of it for a while. And I you know, can you blame them? You have to understand why. Right? Come on.
You here, you devastating.
That was a devastating. You hear you didn't I just. Speth, condemnation of ever heard.
Sometimes when my kids say like, oh my God, you've got to shut up, I'll say to them, how do you think I feel I'm in here? Yeah. And I gesture to myself and they get really confused, like, but wait, you're you and I go, I know I'm trapped in me. Yeah, well, we can't we can't waste any time.
We've got such a great guest today. We can't. And I always say that every time I say we can't waste time, we've got fish to fry. And we really do have some top bass on the griddle today. No sense.
Stupid analogy. Awful.
My guest today was, of course, a cast member on Saturday Night Live for 11 seasons. He also created and starred in the hit IFC series Portlandia and Voices Elliott on the Netflix series Big Mouth. I've known this gentleman for a very long time. I'm thrilled he is with us today.
Fred Armisen, welcome, Fred. Fred, you're a strange fellow. I do love you. I really do, and I'm happy that you feel productive. The feeling is mutual about being my friend, but we have a lot to talk about. You are a hard nut to crack. I've known you since you came on my show in 2000, the year 2000.
You came on my show as a standup.
It is. This is going to sound like an exaggeration. It is a very vivid memory. And it was the first time I was ever on network TV. The feeling I had was, oh, my God, I love this.
I remember the camera, the red light being on and everything. And you were so nice to me was I hope I was nice to you. Oh, my God. You were so nice. Oh, good.
That was my introduction to TV, so thank you. And then did you notice that after me, like people like no one else was as nice as me after that.
Right afterwards, other people were very well. I just think the business is filled with cruel, arbitrary maniacs. And I feel bad, Fred, that I gave you a false read on what show business is like in the moment.
I thought maybe it's not always going to be like this.
And it wasn't like you did stand up unlike everything else you do. It was really original. You didn't just come out, do jokes. You pretended to be a self-defense, I think, instructor, a self-defense expert.
So I was very happy to meet you. And then, of course, you you started gaining all this fame on Saturday Night Live.
And I don't know how I feel about this, but there's a couple of people in my life who I've I never have real conversations with. I only do bits with them. And I mean only that I've never had a real interaction with them.
And you were one of those people who for years when I was doing The Late Night Show, you'd see me in the hallway or something and you'd be walking along wearing like very nicely dressed, wearing your beautiful dark rimmed glasses, and you would say, Hello, Conan, and I would grab you and push you up against the wall and say, Why are you Lawrence clown? You're just a clown. There's no real you you're just a clown for Lorne Michaels.
And I really I mean, I was I don't know why I did that bit, but I just would do it over and over again. And you would always play along. And I realized, I think easily fifteen years with I think we had what was going on with those interactions.
I loved those interactions because the idea of a clown in a building full of comedians.
Yes. Yes. So it was such a strange concept that I'm like, everyone's a clown and you're like you're just you're not a clown. Yeah, I used to say there's so much more to you. I can see it in there. But instead you're choosing to be Lawrence Puppet, Lawrence Clown. And I'd be looking right into your eyes and and sort of grabbing you by the shoulders, like trying to shake sense into you. And I thought, well, I hope so, because you could have charged me with some kind of crime.
And one of the things I notice with you is that you're you're able to shape, shift and become different people. It's a real talent, but also it can probably lead people around you to somewhat think, well, wait, who's the real Fred?
I mean, I do feel like doing bits in the hallway or wherever we were and at Rockefeller Center is like you still make some kind of a bond, just being I don't know, there's something in it that, like becomes friendly where it's not just didn't feel like just a bit. And then I think later we've had some real interactions and yes.
Conversations and stuff. And I've been to your house, which is really nice.
Well, you you snuck in. To be fair, I'm not bragging, by the way. You got past my security system. Yes. I remembered I was signing for a package when I realized that the UPS guy was you and then you just and then you just walked right on in wearing the brown outfit and you made yourself a swan.
I've never seen someone make themselves a flon very quickly.
Yeah, I don't know. I can't tell because I'm not another person dealing with me. So I you know, I feel like in my mind, I'm like I feel like I'm being pretty genuine and normal. But who knows?
I thought, oh, he's very much like Peter Sellers in that you are such a funny performer. And then sometimes you get very quiet. I always would hear that Peter Sellers would be at a party and sometimes he'd be very quiet and people would think, well, why isn't Peter Sellers, who is known for famous for playing Inspector Clouseau, why isn't he doing all these crazy bits in the middle of the room? And of course, that's not what he was.
He was this person who could become that when the moment called for it. And I thought, oh, yeah, he seems I think Fred is kind of like a Peter Sellars type, which is a compliment, a huge.
Oh, I'll take it I'll take it as a and then I later heard that I was reading an interview and Bob Odenkirk, he said the same thing and he hadn't even heard me say it. He just was that was his observation. So I don't know. If you must, you must get that sometimes that you bear some resemblance to him in an of and accept that, I think Bob was very careful to say because Peter Sellers was notoriously difficult. He was saying, you're like Peter Sellers, except a really nice guy, which is true.
I mean, it's a really nice thing to hear.
I idolized Peter Sellers a lot. Even the more I find out about him, you know, he was like a drummer originally. They marketed him as like that was his original vocation was like a young British drummer. But it's really hey, it's a nice thing to say.
But let's let's let's stick on that theme for a second, because I feel like drumming is core to who you are.
Absolutely. I approach everything as a drummer. It's could be like a pretentious thing to say, but I really do. It's just I've been drumming for so long that going up to do stand up, going up to be in a sketch.
I always feel like a drummer first just because I've been doing it for so long. And and I was in a band for so long before I was doing comedy. It's comforting. It's comfortable, it's not comfortable place to be to be like, OK, this is like going on stage and playing drums. The role of a drummer in a band I really like. I'll take my hat off to getting warm.
Yeah, I just took off my I was I'm so excited talking to you, Fred, that my body temperature has gone up like 10 degrees because we started talking and it transferred. Yeah. And so I just had this like little wool vest on and I just took it off and now Fred's taking his clothes off so far. This is going very well. It's going great rinsing.
I know Johnny Carson was obsessed with drums and he was a very good sort of big band drummer and had a drum set. And you can tell because his rhythm and timing was so impeccable. And I think there's got to be a connection there between the way you play comedy and you plugging into some sort of internal rhythm that comes to you through the drums or one comes from the other.
But you don't know where it starts.
Yeah, when you're a drummer, you're sort of relying on other musicians. You know, you can't just it can't just be a drummer. So I think there's something in there, too, where, like, you feel like people can lean on you and then you can there's other people are sort of the the center of the show. But as far as like you as a musician, I can tell that you've got a very different relationship than a lot of people with your instrument, because I could tell you get real serious.
I do get serious. You get real serious. It's not like a goof. Like I play a little guitar and I remember this one video of you picking up George Harrison's Telecaster.
And there's something about that that it's not like you weren't even starstruck, like, oh my God, I can't believe this is a Beatle guitar. You were like in that guitar, you were in it.
You were like because it was really heavy. I remember you're like, wow, this really weighs a lot.
But you did not you kind of also weren't doing any bits, you know, like we're like lost in this heavy guitar.
And we all know, like, the significance of it, you know, from being on let it be and stuff.
But like, I know exactly what you're talking about.
It was Danny Harrison. So he had all of George Harrison's guitars. And I had told myself before I shot this thing, I'm not going to try and play it because that's disrespectful. Who am I to even touch one of George Harrison's guitars? But I picked it up and then I just thought suddenly it was just a guitar and I wanted to try and play something on it that sounded halfway decent. Then afterwards was retroactively embarrassed.
Well, because I thought, who are you to play that? And I can't believe you just played that and started acting like it was just any guitar. And then there was part of me that was saying, it is a guitar. And I do think George Harrison or had he been around, well, he probably would have said, let go my fucking guitar, but and who are you?
And get the fuck out of here.
But yeah, it's funny how we both geek out about instruments.
I remember you came to my house once because we were going to do something for a charity event together. And you sat at my kitchen counter. Yeah. And we we said, do you want something to eat? And you went, Oh, that would be very nice.
I would like that. Yes.
And so my wife put out some food for you and you were like, oh, Lisa, this is really good. And you were sort of sitting like a kid. That's like you were a Christian, you were like a kid, was like the paper boy, skinned his knee in front. We said, come on in, Billy, we'll clean up that wound. And you want a sandwich? Yeah, I sure would. And you were just sitting there going, oh, this is very good.
This is very good. Well, thank you so much.
And then it's because of your stools, because you've got these stools that make everyone turns into a child. Yes. They're so tall. They are sort of like your legs are dangling. And it just I should tell people, yes, I have 60 foot high stools in my house just to humiliate people. So no matter who comes in, you know, Clint Eastwood can come by for a sandwich, as he often does, and he gets in the school and suddenly his.
You're no longer intimidated because it's Clint Eastwood with his feet dangling and sometimes I keep baby booties around and sometimes I'll just quickly put baby booties on them and then suddenly I'm not intimidated by them anymore. He's a little cutie then? Yeah, he's a little cutie pie. I'm like, oh, wait, do you want his pumpkin pie?
And he's like, You shut the fuck up. And I go, Oh, trophy Whuffie clanky winter.
And then he just beats me. Beats me with a stick.
Fred, maybe, you know, there's so much to talk about, but I saw you do something that my kids are obsessed with, where it was the history of punk. I think this documentary that yes. You remember this and it was such a funny idea where you're part of this amazing punk band and you did this with Bill Hader, but then your character is an amazing punk singer songwriter who's incredible. But you're one floors that.
You're very pro Thatcher. Yes, he is. And what I love is that I had seen it before and then kind of forgot about it. And then my kids, who are 15 and 17, were like, oh, my God, you've got to see this. It's the funniest thing in the world.
And they know all about Thatcher because Thatcher was explained in this season of the Crown like, you know, her policies and how that was very unpopular with artists and the fact that a punk, a British punk rocker from the late 70s and you were very, very, very your songs were good, go really in-depth about her policies and how they were really helping. And you got to give time. And I thought that's one of the funniest comedy ideas. I just love that one of the most.
I mean, really the most uncool thing you could do in the late 70s in London is to be a professor. So you were a punk and to be part of the punk scene.
So, yeah, I mean, we also just wanted any excuse to be a punk band from then, you know, to, you know, get that that that TV quality, you know, like. Yes. You know, about video quality they had back then.
So we just wanted an excuse to do it.
Well, you and Bill Hader clearly just play off each other so well. You like to play with other people and I mean comedically, you like to play with other people. And yeah, I can see it with you and Bill. I can see it in Portlandia. It's like the same thing like you you like to find out the other person's rhythm and then play off that rhythm.
And it's similar also to I'm sorry to bring it back to this, but to being in a band, it's the same kind of thing where, you know, I like playing with certain people. I'm like, why don't we just keep going and, you know, turn this into something?
It's fun to do this with people. Yeah. And then you get to be a part of something. So if someone else does something great later on, you get to think, oh, hey, I was a part of that. I was there, you know.
So that's that's the kind of fun of it, too.
Yeah. So I'm in agreement with you. Yes.
Yes. You didn't elevate what I said. You just you just checked it. You just said check.
But that's a version of elevating something, chequing something and moving it forward.
That's part of what elevation is. It doesn't have to be at another level. It's just a platform that just keeps going. I totally disagree.
I completely disagree. I disagree. All you did was check with you and I were in an improv group together and we were an improv team. And all you did was I'd say, well, I sure like this candy store. They have every kind of candy. And here comes the proprietor, nice candy store proprietor.
And you said, that's correct. So you're not looking at the linear time the sketch got extended. It kept going. The audience was there to watch it. Keep going. You know, if this was a car race, if this was NASCAR, it can't go uphill the whole time.
It can't it has to be on a plane so that people can watch the cars go around.
I've told you this and you agreed with me at some point. And for some reason you're back to this thing of it having to be elevated. It does not have to be elevated.
The sketch must be elevated. And your theories, I think, are insane. Your comedy theories are dangerous. And if they're allowed to spread, it will destroy comedy. Your idea that someone in a comedy team or part of a duo can just say yes, correct. Check I have. You may proceed. That's madness. Pure madness. Didn't make you the most.
Are you done?
How dare you even speak to me. Let's look at let's look at classic comedy. Let's look at The Honeymooners. Let's look at Gilligan's Island. Let's look at I Love Lucy.
Yeah. Let's look at my three sons. Yes, yes. I'm with you. I'm waiting for you to make a point. You can't say, please, please agree with me. Let's let's look at Voltaire. Let's look at an onion. Let's look at a jar of honey. Let's look at a bag of popcorn. Look at them all and you'll see what I'm saying. Let us know let us know what you know, here's what I want to get back to.
You're just you've always been Lorne Michaels clown, his clown. You're just a clown. And you know what? You need to be shoved up against a wall hard by a tall Irish guy who looks kind of like a woman as he ages.
And I'm going to shove you up against the wall and say, you're just Lorne Michaels clown. Look at you. Look at you. Just a clown. Is that what your content to be? Because you could be so much just remembering right now. Another thing I used to say to you is the reason I'm so tough on you, Fred, is I know you're capable of so much more.
Yeah, that was one of the things I would always say to you. What I like, what I liked about it is it didn't seem like you did it to anybody else. I didn't I don't know why I'm honored.
That's an I. I know.
I just think maybe there was 15 years there where I could have been talking to you and having a really lovely conversation and finding out things about you. And instead, I was pursuing this insanity.
And what I remember is something I remember I saw you by Central Park once.
And we were talking about you were talking about buying property and we discussed how well this makes me sound like an asshole. It was actually really nice. Oh, Fred. Yes. Yes. It's nice to see you. Sorry I didn't recognize you instantly, but I'm thinking of buying several islands in Greece. Well, that's a great picture, Bryan. It was really nice. It was. It was really nice. I won't go into it. But we were discussing the Dakota and we were a marvel.
We were marveling at. Yeah. And there were years when I didn't own an apartment in New York City. And what I would do is I would sublet for a year or two and then move. And I I think I lived in like eight apartments in nine years and I mean, all over Manhattan, I just kept moving like a serial killer. And that's all I'll say. But I do remember bumping into you and being like, oh, man, wouldn't it be cool to live, you know, in the Dakota?
Would that be so cool? They had a no Irish policy still up there.
That sign is still up there. No Irish. I guess that there was so much animosity towards the Irish. I can't understand. This was just a weird concept to me.
Yes, it is funny until you meet lots of Irish people and let me tell you something, friend, then it all makes sense.
Now, what is your I know you have a very complicated background, which I think is appropriate because like, for example, where you're born doesn't seem like the place you'd be born in. I was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Right.
Right. My parents went to college there, University of Southern Mississippi, and they're immigrants, my dad from Germany and my mom from Venezuela. And so that's just where they went to school. That's where they met German, Venezuelan, Mississippi. It's like, let's take three things that you don't ever associate with each other. Yeah. And put them together and then you get Fred Armisen.
Yeah. It's just happened that way. They really wanted to study here and that's that's where they ended up. Mm hmm. I mean, I'm, I'm glad that I'm alive.
I'm glad we found each other. Oh. So you're saying that you're glad that you're reformed. Yeah. Huh. Well, let's agree to disagree, Fred.
I'm not you know, I'm I didn't say I was elated that I was formed. I'm glad that I.
I think you and I were in Chicago at the same time because I did a very little known kooky stage show with Robert Smiggle and Bob Odenkirk, it was during the writers strike and it was 1988.
And we came to Chicago.
I went I got to Chicago in around eighty eight. Eighty nine. Yeah. I think you got there and we didn't know each other.
No, but what I remember is they shut down the streets every 10 minutes to have some kind of fest like Jazz Fest or a blues fest or something. And what they do is it's just an excuse to eat massive amounts of sausage. Yeah. And drink beer in the street. And any time, because a lot of the streets on the north side are one way, I'd be trying to get to the theater and I'd be driving in my crappy 1973 Plymouth Valiant and a policeman to go like, Yeah, you can't go down Diversey.
I'd be like, why not? We're gone now. We're having the fest fest. It's a fest celebrating fests. And I'd say, OK, and he'd be holding two sausages and I'd be like, all right. And then I'd try to go down another street and go like this. Just one way, buddy. What don't you know? You got to know that streets closed. And I'm trying to we're having a fast, fast here. My memory of a Chicago police officer is exactly that.
That voice that you're doing. I got yelled at for double parking and he just rolled up roll down his window and said, you think you're fucking special.
And that you said and you should have said, yes, my father is German, my mother is Venezuelan, and I was born in Mississippi. That makes me pretty special. All right, get out of that car. I got a tune up, pal. The anger, the anger directed at me.
You know, Bob Odenkirk saved my life because I had parked we had a little driveway next to like an alleyway that we were allowed to park in. And it was right near Wrigley Field. And I parked my 73 Plymouth Valiant, which was mustard yellow. It's like a car from Dragnet, from the TV show Dragnet. It's like a police car that policemen in the early 70s drove around in. That was pretty lame. I parked it in the alley and this cop came up to me while I was getting out of it.
And he was like, I you can't park here. I'm going to have to write you up. And I was like, no, no, I live here. I live here. And the guy started to say, nope, nope. But he started writing me up a ticket and I started. I never I don't get mad at the police. I start to get really mad because this was just incorrect and wrong.
So I started to say, like, no, no, no. Hey, listen, hey, listen. And Bob put is started to get near me because Bob was from Naperville. And so he was he knew, like, don't talk back to Chicago. Yeah. Yeah. And the guy looked at my license plate and said New York on it because I had driven from New York.
I was a writer at Senate Life. And he looked at me and as he was right, as he was handing me the ticket, he looked at me and said, why don't you just go back to New York?
And I started to get really mad and I started to get, like, I almost like step towards the cop. And I was like, go back to New York, you know, do you know that? And Bob put his hand on my chest and looked at the guy and said, He gets it, officer, we're good. We're good. And he led me away and was like, You don't you don't do that, Conan. You don't.
And I was like, hi, later. I later realized that, yes, Bob was absolutely right. And probably I'd be in jail right now in Chicago.
We said, why were you in Chicago? So you there was a Writers' strike in 1988 and I was a writer on CNN Live. And so Robert Smiggle and Bob Odenkirk said, hey, let's go to Chicago. We know some really good performers there. And we could just instead of just sitting around on our asses during this writers' strike, there's nothing to do. Let's go to Chicago where they had some connections and let's do a little show and we can perform sketches that we never got on Saturday Night Live because they were too weird.
And so we did that. And it was really fun.
I mean, it really solidified my get up in front of people.
Bug Bob is great. Bob is a real he makes things happen. He does. He's a force. Bob is a is a force of energy and always was. I remembered seeing he did a one man show.
There's a famous biography of Jerry Lewis and the photo is of course, Jerry Jerry Lewis and half his face is painted like the clown and the other half is sad, you know, which is pretty, pretty mawkish and inexcusable.
But that was the and so Bob is it's one of my favorite titles ever for one man show. It was Bob with half his face made up and the other looking sad.
And the title of the show was Half My Face is a Clown. And then Bob did this one man show that was absolutely hilarious. And and I remember he just made this happen. So anyway. Yeah. Yeah, I hate talking about how talented and funny other people are. All right, no, it's you. It was all you. You inspired him. Hey, thank you.
And you elevated his show just by just by being there. I think I elevated it. Yeah. I would often just say. That's right, Bob from the audience.
Oh, goody. That was my Bob. You know, your Andy is really good.
You're Andy impression.
Once in a while you do him and you sound like him and everybody know I always do just sing, just making it just to be very darkish with each other all the time. But in a loving way, I, I think at least it is on my part.
He's always telling me you're a sociopath and a freak. And I think that's a great riff. That's a good one, Andy.
Andy Richter will come in the room and I'll just in front of everybody say like, Hey, I'm Andy Rank and I'm stupid. And then, of course, he'll let loose on me for 20 minutes.
So that's the basis of our relationship. Good.
That's healthy. That's how I do all kinds of impressions, you know? I mean, just throw anyone at me and I can do an impression of them.
OK, let's see. How about Biden? Can you do Biden? Hello, Governor.
I was the vice president and vice president, but it's like a recording of Biden.
It's great. Close your eyes, close your eyes and tell me how I'm doing. And I can see. Here you go. His eyes are closed and here we go.
Oh, oh. I was vice president by January 20th, all by a president.
Who was it? That was a recording of Biden. Hey, man. Yes, that's an actual recording of a speech he gave to parliament a week ago. Yes. He flew over there to tell parliament to reassure them that he would be the next president to reassure them. Well, you know, people are worried. Well, Trump really stepped down with something crazy happens. And he went over there and went and he did that voice to convince them it's all going to be OK.
It worked. Yeah. How are you surviving this pandemic, Fred?
I mean, you're a guy who needs a crowd to feel validated, to feel alive and look at you.
It's been so far, OK. I mean, I've gotten to do work stuff. I mean, I get to play music. I'm I'm not happy that it's a pandemic.
But, you know, did you say you're happy it's a pandemic or not? I couldn't. Oh, you're not happy. Yeah. So how about you?
What about me? What do you really want to know? You're bringing what are you doing right now? You just you can't stop my podcast and just say, how about you?
It's not stopping. I haven't stopped the podcast. You just stopped it cold. No, it's part of the podcast. It's a part of it.
Hey, what about you? Silence. I like the silence.
The silence. Part of it is it says a lot. What about you? And we just leave it there. People can picture your face.
They can imagine, you know, what are you thinking about?
Also, I suppose you already answered it. You had already answered that you haven't been sick. So it sounds like it sounds like you're doing well. My heart is now beating. I think it's two beats a minute now since you. Did what you did and stop this podcast called No, I. We started a new podcast, I think that moment was a different podcast. Welcome to Quiet Time with Fred Armisen and Conan O'Brien.
Aren't you proud of how much I got together with technology?
I've got my laptop here. I've got my microphone. There were many things that were asked of me, which I don't mind doing.
But I can I really I'm going to pay you a compliment because of the pandemic.
We are doing this remotely. I don't know exactly where you are. I think you're in Havana.
I mean Havana, but you're in a lovely music space. There's some drums behind you I can see. And this is a compliment I'll pay you. We always are tech people always have to get on the line with whoever we're dealing with for the for the Xoom and for the audio hookup.
And they have to spend about 15 minutes getting them all straightened out on how to do it and saying no. OK, now, Mr. Danson, press this button. Now, press that button. Now, drag that over here. And I'm not signaling out or singling out Ted Danson to be cruel. He just he had a lot of trouble. And they have to do this with me every single time. They have to do it with in fact, we were doing it just before I talked to you.
And I think you got to hear some of it where it's like they're talking to a chimp that's in outer space and they're trying to get it, bring it back to Earth. And they're saying, no, no, Bobo, no. Bobo grabbed the big blue lever and then they just hear me. And so they have a really hard time talking me through this. Matt Gawley testify that this is exactly true.
Yeah, it's like teaching of small mammal to build a nuclear bomb.
It's incredible. Why is it so complicated, though? Because I read part of it. I'm just not a tech person. But so I said to my people today, OK, we probably got to get going, you know, with Fred, we're going to have to give him time to get set up. And they said, oh, Fred is a whiz at this and he's going to take care of it all himself and he'll be ready to go whenever you're ready.
I didn't realize you were a tech.
I'm not I'm not a whiz at it. I mean, I was you know, I wanted some credit for getting it together.
But that's how you go in the Hall of Fame, Fred, of all the guests that you're up there, top five, I mean, maybe top three even.
Yeah, I think I think, you know, I really do think it's a lot of luck because I've also had calls and interviews or resumes with the way I've frozen where something wasn't working or something didn't record. It's all this is like I want to tell you.
And this is not just blowing smoke up your ass, but about nine months ago I did a podcast episode. You can listen to it with the ghost of Steve Jobs. And he couldn't get online.
He didn't know how to work. He didn't know how to work a computer. He had all kinds of trouble and it took us forever to talk him through it. So you, by comparison, are fantastic. I mean, what you did was was very impressive. Thank you. Yeah.
In fact, you've just been moved up to top to you and JJ Abrams.
Oh, that's right. Yeah. JJ Abrams was off the charts. Well, how so. Well he was giving us tips.
Yes, we were trying to walk him through like, OK, open outlook now drag this one over here. And he was like, you know, what you can do? Oh, you know, is you can go over to the edit window and you can pull down to this bar. And if you triple click this link, you triple click it. Oh, don't laugh. Like that's not a real thing. Still an open outlook. That's got me all right.
OK, that's all. Laugh at the idiot, by the way. This is what my son does. My son is fifteen. My son back at his fifteen and he's really good, he's very good at computers and all he ever does is I say so wait.
So when you click that file and he goes, excuse me and he won't right away he'll just smile a little bit and go, Excuse me, what. And I'll say, you know, when you and he went would you say when I went, come on back here, just how do I go? No, no. I just want to hear what you were going to say and I'll go. When you click on anyone, click on it. When you click, you don't click and then he'll be missing.
Yeah, exactly. I'll say, what do you first of all, that was a bad example because I think you do click on a file.
Oh, what I'm saying is, I don't know. I don't know what it is. I'm a man. I'm a man.
From another time I write with parchment and will I walk through the fields, I breathe the air.
And I appreciate what God has made, not man.
So to be hounded and ridiculed because I'm not a computer fellow, I find to be harsh and unfair.
I leave it to you. What's my judgment? We do want us to apologize. I don't think I'm that much of a whiz either.
Well, compared to me, whenever I try and do anything on the computer on Zoome, within five minutes, there's peanut butter all over my face and I'm crying and I don't even have access to peanut butter and and Sonus on the computer. Yeah. As soon as always they're saying, what did you do? So I come to my defense, tell them I really come to your defense yet. No, tell them I'm a real computer man. He's a real computer man that even when you're trying to fake it, it's just there's no way it's believable.
Well, Fred, I'm trying to get to it. You seem to be good at very many things. You are a musician, comedian, writer, producer. You do.
Voiceover I have been told by a little bird that you don't like to go to the beach, that you hate the beach.
I hate it.
Not only do I hate the beach, I feel like for my whole life I've been dragged to the beach by family members, just like my life is people saying you've this time it's going to be great.
And every time I go, it's just there's too much sand. The power of the of the water is too much for me. I don't understand the waves. I don't I don't like that there are so many animals in the water. I don't like the sun.
I don't like the parking lot, the walk over carrying stuff that's full of sand, the exhaustion driving back to the house.
I really am not a fan of the beach. I've never had a good time at the beach.
Yeah, I heard that you were that you were really didn't like the beach.
And I bring it up because I relate. I am not guilt.
I am not built for the beach. And it goes back to my childhood in the early 70s before the invention of sunscreen, when my parents would take all six kids to the beach. And I have I'm completely I'm as I have no natural sun protection. I have a few freckles and red hair and they take me to a beach.
And there was no sunscreen that worked back then because, you know, there was just nothing that really worked. So my mom would put a white Hanes T-shirt on me and say, this will protect you short sleeve. And I'd go in the water with a white Hanes T-shirt, which is a really sexy look, by the way.
And what I later learned is that that magnifies the size and then I would get horrible burns and chills and shivers and my my skin would come off in sheets.
The water part I also don't like like there's this, you know, hey, let's go into the water. And it's always first of all, it's scary before you go in.
Hey, watch out. There's a riptide or whatever it is, and you go in and when you're in the water, you start getting pulled and everyone thinks it's funny.
What part of that am I supposed to enjoy being dragged around? And it's it's a risk to your life. What is the fun in that?
Well, first of all, it sounds like you're going out in very dangerous waters.
No, no, no, no, no. That's not true. And not everyone has the experience of the minute you set foot in water, you're being torn asunder by forces you can't understand. I don't think anyone here would agree with that. That is not that's you going in maybe. Yes. During a, you know, Class six hurricane.
But no, no, I disagree with you that people wouldn't agree with me.
I think people would find the same experience. We're talking about childhood.
So maybe to me, when I was, you know, five and six. Yeah. To me, it must have been like a hurricane.
Look at me. Ask you something. Let me finish.
You're not looking at you're not the entirety of someone's life in their experience of the ocean. Now, if I exaggerated the feeling, OK, it's still is a feeling that existed at some point.
I don't I rest my case. No, I don't validate your I don't validate your feeling. I think it's a false memory.
The most interesting part of what you said is that you said I was being pulled underwater and everyone was laughing. That's the part as your therapist that I want to close in on, who's laughing at your friend?
Why are they you're drowning. Why are they laughing?
I don't think you let me clarify. They're not laughing at me.
I think that when people are out in the ocean, they always seem to be laughing. They're just like goofing around and laughing like this is fun.
That was my observation, Mr. O'Brien. Not that they were laughing. Excuse me.
It's Dr. O'Brien. Dr. O'Brien. Well, I've talked to you now for a good long time, and I deem you insane.
I think you're very troubled. I look into your eyes and I see a man who still desperately trying to be Lorne Michaels clown.
You've never found the real you. You still haven't found the real you.
What do you think?
I think that. The way that you're reflecting that is that it is, in fact, you that there is no me. Maybe you're talking about a reflection of, my God, you know, we both have our glasses on, it's it's true.
Maybe it's maybe I don't exist in that that realm.
Maybe it maybe maybe I'm talking about me the whole time. Yeah.
Come Fred never even got on Masoom call. Fred was never here, was he. No. He failed because he's not good at tech and he couldn't log on. And this whole time I've been talking to myself. You're in comedy but you love music. That's me. Yeah. You're Lorne Michaels clown.
That was always me. You're German in Venezuela. You're German and Venezuelan. That's me. Yeah, this has always been me. I don't like the beach. That's me. It's you, me and it's me. Think of the name. It's it's. It's an anagram. What have you got the name. It's a mish mash. Konan Almazan Credico. No it's this is a joke in the name. There was this insane. Anyone listening to this right now is their minds been blown because what they're listening to is about them, not about either of us.
Because we don't exist. That's all it is. That's all it ever was. We were always back home in Kansas. There was no eyes. There was no Fred. There was no Koenen.
It was just you, the listener. There's no cops. Think about that. You've never been there. I've never been cops in Chicago ever.
Think about it. Think about this is incredible, man. I'm so glad we did mushroom's before we spoke.
Yeah. I'm so glad I was. I wasn't sure we should do this. But you insisted and I got your FedEx package and I just chomped him down. You know what? You know what?
I felt bad about saying that I've been to your house.
I was like, am I disclosing something like that?
No, no, no. People are allowed to know that I live in a house. That's fine. You didn't disclose anything. I think the part that was creepy is I'm walking through the park one day when I see Conan who starts babbling about real estate. I'm listening and I'm like, that guy's an asshole and friend. You must consolidate land. And Fred, if people are squatting on that land or making their living on that land, you must evict them so that you can amass more land.
That's the picture of Conan O'Brien you painted.
I'm sorry. No, no, Fred, I will say it. You are a delightful person to talk to. You make so much funny stuff that makes me really happy. And I'm glad that you were born. I will say I know we brought that up earlier.
I was kind of fifty fifty on you being born, but now I'm definitely 70, 30. Well 70, 30 that I'm glad you're born.
Thirty percent wishing never had been. The feeling is mutual.
Maybe I'm sixty forty with you can say no Fred I really a delightful and I can't wait to have you in my house again soon and you can sit on a really tall stool your feet dangling and I'll make you a you know, peanut butter and honey sandwich.
I'll say thank you. Thank you so much. Wow. Thank you. So just said. Oh thank you Lisa. Oh, that's a look. This table holds things. Oh that's cool. Look, look, this still supports me.
Yes. That's nice. Fred Armisen. God bless you, sir. God bless you.
All right, let's do some review, the reviewers, we haven't done that in a while, and I've got a good one here. OK, but a good one. I hope you mean a positive review. Yeah. Generally, it's from Gnat's Insider. It's five stars. Well, sometimes if I were an assassin, if I really wanted to take Conan down and I'm talking about myself in the third person, I would give myself five stars so that then the review would be read.
Oh, yeah, that's what I'm saying. Now, I think you're safe here. It's just an issue that's come up. The title of the of the review is shirt.
Huh. OK. It goes like this. Hi, Matt.
Seona and Conan top billing. The show is awesome.
However, there is a problem with the merch I bought. Conan O'Brien needs a friend t shirt a while ago. It has orange lettering on the top and gray lettering on the bottom. The problem area is the microphone in the middle. I have been told on multiple occasions that the microphone, in fact, looks like a phallic shape from far away. What should I do if people say I'm walking around with a penis on my shirt?
Well, we didn't have an actual microphone to use as a rendering, you know. No, no, no. So we were forced. This is something I'm not thrilled about. I'm a celebrity.
So it couldn't have been me. Yeah, but our engineer, Will Beckton, volunteered.
Well, so what we did is we drew his penis, which is very microphone shaped, and he was called in his single days. Ladies raved about. I just had a great date with the mike.
How do you think you got this business? And I went on Mike last night and, you know, all those kind of puns, hot mike, all that kind of stuff. And so we did that and I just cleaned it up a little bit. But, yeah, it's it's just been a no no.
I don't know what to say to that. I don't have that much control over the merch. I found a photo of it. Let me see.
Does it look like a penis? Yep. I see it from far away. Yeah. Yeah.
But it doesn't look like a penis. It's not bend to the side. It's not. Oh well. Asymmetrical. It doesn't have weird sores. Oh come on.
How is that a penis doesn't have a strange odor. It doesn't. This is not a penis. It doesn't confound urologists worldwide.
Doesn't cause women. When you're single to say I can't do this, you seem ill.
This this is in no way is this a penis.
I could do this joke for so long and I know that I've gone longer than you thought I would, but I'm going to keep going.
There's no way this looks like a penis. It isn't a source of worldwide derision. It's not listed as a medical malady in the New England and the New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet magazine.
It doesn't need to be soaked every night in a series of creams, bombs and ointments just to keep it barely functioning and I mean barely. How is this a penis? And it's erect penises don't do that. Canaan's self-deprecating riff went on for ninety five minutes. You had to download the podcast in two parts.
Look, I'm sorry, I did not. I mean, I feel bad because I should be, you know, I should be all over it. Right? I should.
No, not really. I didn't even know either. Yeah.
Why should you be all over Merche? I think one of the things that would fix this is if they put a little bit of texture on the top of the mike to give it the look of a screen, you know what I mean?
Little little tiny reel to reel tape spools at the bottom.
Yes, yes. Reel to reel tape, spools at the bottom and some sort of I don't know the way that the tip of the mike can receive the sound, some kind of a slit or something that allows the sound to go in, you know, and to show you that Mike has been well maintained, maybe a little oil spurting out from that. These are just nice suggestions. Yes. From the top. Yeah. Not insider.
We recommend you take a Sharpie to this thing and fix it. Yeah, fix it based on my specific format and my specific instructions. And you'll have no more penis talk.
Call us from jail.
Yeah. Man, I'm so glad my parents don't listen to this.
Conan O'Brien needs a friend with Sunim Obsession and Conan O'Brien as himself produced by me, McCallie executive produced by Adam Sex, Joanna Solotaroff and Jeff Ross at Team Coco and Colin Andres. And Chris Benan at Airwolf theme song by The White Stripes, Incidental Music by Jimmy Luisito, our supervising producer is Aaron Belayer and our associate talent producer is Jennifer Samples. The show is engineered by Will Beckton. You can rate and review this show on Apple podcast and you might find your review featured on a future episode.
Got a question for Conan. Call the Team Coco hotline at three, two, three, four, five, one, two, eight, two, one and leave a message at two. Could be featured on a future episode. And if you haven't already, please subscribe to Conan O'Brien needs a friend on Apple podcasts, stitcher or wherever fine podcasts are downloaded. This has been 18 cocoa production in association with DeWolfe.