The aforementioned documentary satire, Armisen and Bill Hader’s Documentary Now! is so esoteric and aboriginal it deserves to be regarded as the actor-comedian’s best work. Armisen and Hader embody famous figures across the history of the filmmaking style, lampooning everything from the earliest material—Nanook of the North—to much more recent films like Jiro Dreams of Sushi. He even throws in a few original ideas, too. It’s the best thing he’s ever done.
Coming from the mind of his frequent collaborator and fellow sketch comedian Nick Kroll, Netflix’s animated Big Mouth is a vulgar cartoon with heart. It tracks a group of kids as they go through puberty and face off against their hormones, and Armisen gets used frequently because of his knack for character acting. Big Mouth scores the second spot here simply because of how often they utilize his many talents.
Armisen’s first creative endeavor post-SNL departure, Portlandia is a show he co-created with Sleater Kinney member-turned-writer-comedian Carrie Brownstien. The program spoofs the many facets of Portland culture in the state of Oregon, managing to extend its reach outside the city to spoof all kinds of pop culture staples of the 2010s: stuff like craft beer, hipsters, indie music, DIY culture, and countless other subgroups. It’s fully realized and finely tuned to the pulse of modern times, something only Armisen and Brownstein could do so well.
Armisen’s most recent show is a collaboration between SNL alum Maya Rudolph and comedy writer Alan Yang. It’s surreal and suburban, tackling everyday married life with an absurdist angle. everyone here is obviously great, making for one of Armisen’s best projects to date.
Armisen didn’t get the leading role on Fox’s short-lived but highly-regarded sitcom The Last Man on Earth, but that doesn’t mean that his multi-episode arc isn’t one of the best stretches the show ever had. It came from the minds of Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and Will Forte (who also stars), so it’s not surprising to see how funny the show is or how good Armisen is on it.