Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummers Review

Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummers is a 2018 comedy special with the longtime comic riffing on his love of music and rhythm.

A lot went into giving Fred Armisen‘s new stand up special a very specific look, one tailored for a very specific fan. Awash in numerous drum kits and percussion paraphernalia, even the main aisle of the audience is stuffed with a history of kits all in a line. It’s so dedicated to the drum you almost expect the crowd – who must demonstrate drumming skills to even enter the auditorium – to use drumsticks for applause.

Armisen is no doubt a fountain of comedic ideas. His long stint on Saturday Night Live saw the creation of a number of popular characters, often many of them made to be slightly uncomfortable. And yet his style of comedy is decidedly linear. His best work has arguably come from his work on Portlandia, a sketch comedy show that gave him a lot more freedom to explore his skewering of culture, trends, the city itself, and life on planet Earth. The thing about Armisen though is, and this is what kind of defines him, is that you never lose him in the routine. No matter the makeup and costumes and voices and setting, you know it’s him. It’s kind of comforting.

With Standup For Drummers, he spends an hour as if shuffling through an index card file of disorganized ideas, randomly going through them one at a time and moving on. He goes from a decomposing fox on film to wanting a frightening funeral in mere seconds, this just a sample of his rapid fire assault. Mostly though, he goes off on drumming. In a good way. He’s a real talent on the kit, running through a mashup of dead-on impressions of many famous drummers. It rarely lingers on a joke or a gag for more than a half a minute, a few a bit longer, taking to task, in a sort of loving nod, the art and or lack of drumming skills and lifestyle. Nothing is out of range, from his jabs at jazz, zydeco, blues and more to NPR and that band you know at the local bar warming up.

Maybe the best part, if you’re a fan of drumming, is his departure from the stage as he settles into that line of historical kits in the audience, giving us a musical lesson on authentic drums and styles through the years. It’s a nice deviation, he capturing the feel of these classic movements with some genuinely great work with the beats. I only wish it had been longer.

If you’re a fan of Armisen, you might find yourself wondering where he went, as he stays in one outfit and avoids sketches, instead sticking to the premise with only a few deviations (a bit with accents across the USA is pretty spot on if not a little too long as it feels well out of place here). It’s unlike anything you’ve seen or are expecting. It’s gonna hit right where it’s intended for anyone who has any association with making music or appreciation of it, but for many, it’ll feel unfamiliar. Not all of it works, but most of it does and if you are a drummer, well, you’ll feel especially welcome.

Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummers Review

Movie description: Fred Armisen: Standup For Drummers is a 2018 comedy special with the longtime comic riffing on his love of music and rhythm. 

Actor(s): Fred Armisen

Genre: Stand Up, Comedy

  • Our Score
User Rating 2.4 (5 votes)


  1. Anonymous February 12, 2018
  2. Mike Torello February 15, 2018
    • Bart February 16, 2018