Fred Armisen is an acquired taste.
That’s something we all probably can agree on, whether or not you agree with my takeaways from his first Netflix special, Standup For Drummers.
You can see parts of many of his characters, from his long-running Portlandia on IFC to his SNL Weekend Update personas such as Nicholas Fehn or Garth from Garth and Kat, influencing his stand-up. Plenty of his stand-up comedy premises, in fact, sound like pitches he might still be making on Monday afternoons were he still working at SNL.
The live audience, presumably made up entirely of drummers – signs inside and outside The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, echoed by a doorman, shouted: “Drummers only!” – and we see audience members challenged to play a drum kit to gain entry, even. They’re treated to plenty of jokes about drums, and both appearances and performances by famous drummers, including Sheila E., Tre Cool, Stella Mozgawa, Thomas Lang, Clem Burke and Vinnie Colaiuta. Armisen also shows off his impersonations of Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Larry Mullen, Stewart Copeland, Meg White, and Tito Puente. That latter bit allows us to see where Armisen found inspiration for his first breakout character on SNL, Fericito, once more laying his head into his arms after a rim-shot punchline.