Comedian and actor Fred Armisen welcomed Primus bassist Les Claypool as a special guest during the first of three sold-out nights of Comedy For Bass Players, But Everyone Is Welcome at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. Each show features a mix of music and standup comedy as well as a different special guest, with Green Day‘s Mike Dirnt and The Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine participating in nights two and three, respectively.
Comedy For Bass Players, But Everyone Is Welcome follows Armisen’s previous instrument-focused standup specials, the Grammy-nominated Standup For Drummers, which is available to stream via Netflix, and 2020’s Comedy For Guitar Player, which featured appearances by Brad Paisley, Bill Frisell, and Vicki Peterson of The Bangles (who filled in for Wendy Melvoin of Prince and The Revolution).
Armisen opened the show with drummer Scott Amendola and pianist Jon Spurney as Fred Armisen Jazz Trio, playing a song he said was called “Autumn” by Alexander Olafsen. He later revealed that both the song and its composer were completely made up. “I can never really hear the notes played on the bass in a jazz song, so I wanted to see if I could just play anything,” he said.
The Portlandia and former Saturday Night Live star, who also serves as the drummer and bandleader for the 8G Band on Late Night with Seth Meyers, then offered a series of impressions that included guys struggling to dance to math rock, musicians wandering around Target, and bored people standing in line at Disney World while dramatic movie music plays around them. He also donned an electric guitar to demonstrate the different strumming patterns used by folk musicians from around the world.
The highlight of night one came when Armisen welcomed Primus frontman Les Claypool to participate in a skit along with a member of the audience. Claypool did several humorous impressions of his own, shredding like Eddie Van Halen as he impersonated famous bass players including The Who‘s John Entwhistle, Paul McCartney, and Rush‘s Geddy Lee, who he explained recently taught him “the proper way” to play “YYZ” (the joke being that it was indistinguishable from “the improper way” he used to play it).
Armisen subsequently provided a lesson on the history of punk music, shared how his own sound and style as a drummer has evolved over the years, and gave a tour of the West Coast’s many regional accents and dialects. The 75-minute set ended with Armisen taking requests for songs from Saturday Night Live and Portlandia.
Watch Les Claypool and Fred Armisen jam at Comedy For Bass Players below.
Fred Armisen & Les Claypool At Comedy For Bass Players, But Everyone Is Welcome
Fred Armisen’s Comedy For Bass Players, But Everyone Is Welcome concludes tonight, Sunday, January 29th. Tickets for the performance are sold out.
[h/t Riff Magazine]