BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The shaggy-haired rocker who set up his amplifier in the posh hotel lobby looked a lot like Fred Armisen. And wasn’t that Seth Meyers snapping his picture?
It was indeed a bewigged Armisen getting in a few guitar licks and Meyers recording the moment, part of the promotion for IFC’s new “Documentary Now!”
The series parodying famed documentaries and genres reunites former “Saturday Night Live” colleagues Armisen, Meyers and Bill Hader, with the trio serving as writers and producers (with Rhys Thomas) and Armisen and Hader also starring.
“I love that we figured out a way to keep working together,” said Meyers, who fitted the project in with his duties as an NBC late-night host. His partners in comedy also are busy: Armisen is the creator and star (with Carrrie Brownstein) of IFC’s “Portlandia” and the bandleader for Meyers’ show, while Hader stars in the Amy Schumer film “Trainwreck.”
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The series, which boasts Helen Mirren as the host, debuts 10 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 20.
As younger viewers, Meyers and Hader said they were impressed by “The Thin Blue Line,” the 1988 documentary about a wrongly convicted man. Armisen, on the other hand, fondly recalled being influenced by the 1970s pop parody film, “The Rutles.”
“That to me was the turning point for a new kind of entertainment,” Armisen told a Television Critics Association meeting Friday.
His impromptu lobby set was done in character as a fictional rocker, Gene of the Blue Jean Committee, featured in a “Documentary Now!” episode parodying a music chronicle.
Others films that come in for ribbing include “Grey Gardens,” here reinvented as “Sandy Passages,” and the 1922 documentary “Nanook of the North.” Alex Buono is the series’ director.
Meyers said the series doesn’t require familiarity with the films being satirized but he thinks there’s more awareness of documentaries than ever.
“This is a time that documentaries are having a moment” because they are widely available, including on streaming sites, he said, and the hope is that viewers will be drawn to “Documentary Now!” for that reason.