23 April 2014 11:30 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Heads turned when Seth Meyers announced the bandleader for his new “Late Night” series on NBC: fellow comedian and “Saturday Night Live” alum Fred Armisen.

Since the show’s Feb. 25 debut, though, it’s become clear Armisen was a natural choice. The dry, offbeat funnyman, 47, brought his background as a punk drummer and his seasoned comedic chemistry with Meyers to give the fledgling show a quirky musical spirit and anchor it in something familiar.

The pitch came from “Late Night” producer Lorne Michaels, who also shepherds “Portlandia” (which meant Armisen’s obligations to the IFC series were blessed from the outset). “I’ve always wanted to write a TV theme song,” says Armisen, “and it sounded like I could put together the aesthetics without having to be there every day.”

He assembled his 8G Band, named for the studio where the show is taped, just two weeks before the test show. »

- Tim Greiving

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