Before IFC’s Portlandia, and before NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Fred Armisen showed up on your TV screens in unusual ways and sometimes even without credit.
Armisen performed a number of short videos for HBO in the late 1990s, for instance, that ran as interstitials between movies. He’d take one of his characters there, “Sgt. Fred,” to Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2000/2001 for a stand-up set in character as well as his first TV credit.
Some 16 years later, Armisen just turned 50 and could laugh with O’Brien on Conan on Monday, reminiscing about his TV debut and how his friends celebrated his 50th at Hollywood Forever Cemetery with his very own grave.
Armisen’s Late Night set doesn’t appear quickly in YouTube searching, so here’s one of Sgt. Fred’s HBO clips in the meantime.