Information Diet: Fred Armisen

Portlandia star is platform agnostic when it comes to his passion for music

Headshot of Emma Bazilian


Age 45

Accomplishments Co-creator, star of IFC’s Portlandia (the special episode “Winter in Portlandia” airs Dec. 14; Season 3 premieres Jan. 4); Saturday Night Live cast member

Base New York

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?

I usually go to Gawker and Reddit, and then The New York Times on my iPad. I’m actually not a fan of getting too much news; the only reason I ever look at the news is to see if there are any disasters. I don’t care about politics—I just want to make sure that if a ship sank, I know right away, so I can text my friends and go, “Oh my god, did you see this?”

What occupies your mind in the car, on the subway, train or bus?

Music, music, music. I put on my headphones, and I play music really loud whether I’m in the subway or walking or driving. Lately I’ve been listening to John Maus, Bill Callahan and Grimes—she’s so brilliant.

Are you a TV junkie or on an airtime-restricted diet?

I’m a TV junkie. I love television. I love all the channels, I love flipping around, I love watching stuff I don’t like, I love having it on and not watching it…I think TV is great! This year I’ve been watching Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Homeland, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Downton Abbey, Girls…I know these are all popular shows, but they’re great. I feel like TV is just in such a good place right now.

Before bed, do you bite into a novel, graze on Twitter or fast until morning?

Before I go to bed, I’ll look at music sites like Brooklyn Vegan, Stereogum and Pitchfork. There’s one called that you can really get lost in. It’s a mix of music and movies—like a clip of Blondie on some TV show in 1978 and then a clip from a Klaus Kinski movie. It’s incredible.

Which is more nutritious: print or Web?

Web. It’s more nutritious for trees.

Give us the skinny on your favorite app.

I’m always on iTrans, that subway app. But that’s kind of a boring answer. There’s a music app called Bloom that Brian Eno made—you press on different parts of the screen and it creates a melody, and it’s very relaxing.

What’s your biggest digital indulgence?

Apple products in general. I will blindly buy whatever new product comes out. I recently found all these Apple products from 10 years ago in a drawer, and I felt like talking to them, like, “Hey, iPod, you won’t believe the things that you will become in the future!” It’s just crazy.

With such a bloated media universe, how do you cut out the fat?

I try to not get too involved in social media. As it is, I text so much that I don’t need that extra layer of communication. I don’t think that Twitter or Facebook is bad, but in order to make my life somewhat manageable, I just think maybe I shouldn’t be on them.

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.