SNL's Fred Armisen on Imitating Mubarak: Comedy “Unites People”

Fred Armisen, who imitated Hosni Mubarak on "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend, told Niteside at the Apple Store in SoHo Monday night how he channelled the embattled Mideast leader.

“I looked at a photo,” the comedian said about the Egyptian president, whose rule sparked an uprising on January 25. “That’s all I ever do. I Googled him, and in every picture he had an under bite and he was frowning. So I just kept looking at him and looking at him and I went from there.”

Armisen was at the downtown tech spot with new co-star Carrie Brownstein, promoting their new sketch comedy show, "Portlandia." The "SNL" funnyman said that he believed comedy was important in times of political unrest.

“I think it unites people,” he said. “You watch "SNL" and you realize that others view a situation the same way you do. I really feel like it bonds everybody together.”

The comic and Brownstein, formerly of the band Sleater-Kinney, called their IFC series a "real bizarro world." The duo said it is an extention of the work they did together in their internet sketch comedy group "ThuderAnt."

“We just wanted to get married at first,” she said. “Then we were like, you know what would last longer is to just do a show together.”

“We wanted to make a baby, and we made ‘Portlandia,’” Armisen added.

Armisen called the show “a love letter—or a love postcard” to Portland, Oregon. All six episodes were shot on location, and the sketches poke fun at the people who inhabit the notoriously liberal, free-spirited, and environmentally friendly city.

Niteside asked Armisen and Brownstein about the relationship between Portland hipsters and those that live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“They seem so similar to me,” said Armisen. “I can’t think of the differences, really.”

“There might be some subtle differences in their mustaches,” Brownstein said.

“But they all make their own soap and candles,” Armisen added.

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