You might know Fred Armisen as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. You've probably seen him playing feral foreigners in moves like EuroTrip, Anchorman and Cop Out. You definitely should be watching him in Portlandia, the breakout indie TV comedy hit he created, writes and stars in. But did you know he also voices characters in video games? We grilled Armisen about character acting, cross-dressing, gaming and whether the people of Portland love him or hate him ... You and Carrie Brownstein come from such different backgrounds -- you from Saturday Night Live, she from a riot girl band -- I’m curious to know how you got together and started doing comedy? Well, we kind of knew each other a little bit, we had some mutual friends. We met and I knew as soon as I met her that we'd have a friendship. We knew we wanted to collaborate on something together, but we really didn't know what that collaboration would be. We thought about music, but that just seemed way too obvious, the idea of us sitting together and jamming. We didn't want to be those people -- it didn't seem original. So we came up with the idea to do some videos -- just weird, short videos that didn't necessarily have any jokes in them, but they were just our own thing. As soon as we started shooting those, we put them on a website called Thunder Ant, and we were able to pitch that as a show after a couple of years. I guess it just sort of happened, and became its own life form. The characters in Portlandia skate a very fine line, because the satire feels loving, but can also get pretty vicious -- do you feel affectionate towards them? Absolutely. I don't think we're being vicious -- for us, I guess we're just trying to honour these people. They're not that different from us. Anyone I've played on the show is just a version of me. I really don't feel like the characters are the opposite of me, or that they do things I'd never do. They have traits that are mine, too. We deliberately don't change our voices that much for the characters – except for when it comes to Nina and Lance, obviously. They sound like us most of the time. Even if they look different. If we're skewering anyone, it's ourselves. We have a lot of affection for Portland and all these people who have this kind of lifestyle. I really like it when you and Carrie cross dress as Lance and Nina, but those characters are so creepy and weird … do you feel a little dirty when you do it? Sometimes it feels a little weird. It's like, in my mind, I think I look like an attractive girl, a real woman, and then when I see photos I'm like, oh my god. It’s weird to get into. The characters are pretty defined, and we have fun while we do it, although it is one of the weirder ones. You’re based in Portland yourself, right? I spend most of the year in New York, but then in the summer, from June to September or whenever, I’m in Portland. You guys portray a satirical version of Portland, but a lot of people don’t seem to get it, and complain that you’re not representing the real city. Do people approach you a lot with that? People are always very nice. I'm just glad that people watch it … I could never assume that people would want to watch it. It's a really nice thing. It's funny, because it seems like people in Portland appreciate it. I haven't heard one negative thing from a person on the street. People say, "oh, I have this bakery for cats, a cat food bakery, do you want to do a show here?". I get approached by people like that, and businesses, people who have these very eccentric, Portland businesses, but they’re all very cool about it. You’ve just been renewed for a third season of 12 episodes, which is twice as long as the first season -- do you feel any pressure to produce more? Well, the first one was kind of … the quickest answer is yeah, I do feel pressure. I want to get it right, and do something good. We don’t want to overwork ourselves, but we want to make the best show we can, to be entertaining and funny. I have my fingers crossed that we can try to focus on making it good. Will you guys be introducing a lot of new characters in the third season? I think some. I think we'll be bringing back a lot. We had some new characters in the second season, so we'll be exploring those a lot more. We'll have some new ones too, I think. The sketches that you do in Portlandia have a very improvised feel to them -- how much of what we see is scripted versus improvised? I think about 70% is improvised, maybe more. We have a blueprint for a script, we look at it and get the general idea, then we just go from there and improvise as much as possible.