Review

  • If you like sketch comedy but have not yet discovered this series, take my advice - see this show. 'Portlandia' is, for me at least, the best American sketch comedy series I've seen since 'Upright Citizens Brigade'.

    I don't know how accurately it depicts Portland and its denizens, but I do know that (A) it really makes me want to visit there and (B) it really, really makes me laugh.

    Carrie Brownstein is new to me as comedian, though I of course know her musical work with indie darlings Sleater-Kinney. The brilliantly versatile Fred Armisen has deservedly earned a big fan base (including my family) through his work on SNL. Yet, who could have predicted that this combination of talent, in such an off-the-wall concept, could work so well? It really does, and I want to congratulate all associated with the series, notably the legendary Lorne Michaels for once again nurturing talents like Fred and Carrie and giving them the chance to do a great show like this.

    Once you get the style and shape of the show, you'll be hooked. The sketches are, for the most part, really good and some (e.g. Chicken Farm, One More Episode of Galactica) are destined to become enduring classics.

    The stars (in their multiple roles) are ably assisted by a fine cast of supporting performers and a BIG highlight of the series is the many surprising and hilarious cameo appearances, including people like Edward James Olmos, Aimee Mann and Greg Louganis (playing themselves) and of course the wonderful Kyle McLachlan as the Mayor. These bits work not only because of who the stars are, but also because in just about every case they are perfect for and in the sketch (c.f. Eddie Vedder's great cameo in the "boyfriend's tattoo" sketch).

    Thanks Fred and Carrie and all the cast and crew - it's been a real delight to discover such a clever, quirky, inventive comedy series that consistently takes unexpected turns, gives a lot of laughs, and leaves you wanting more every time.