Brow Beat

Watch Fred Armisen Show Off His Critical Analysis Skills in a Very Silly Tonight Show Game

Fred Armisen guested on the Tonight Show last night to promote the season premiere of Portlandia on Jan. 21, and host Jimmy Fallon took advantage of his former SNL castmate’s unique comic sensibility with a new musical game: Instant Song Analysis. It’s a little less well defined than other recurring Tonight Show competitions, like Wheel of Musical Impressions and Lip Sync Battle, but the gist is simple enough: One person sings a made-up song, and the other tries to dissect the deeper meaning of the lyrics. The potential for absurdity is high.

As usual, Fallon can’t keep himself from cracking up, but Armisen keeps an admirably straight face as he improvises profound-sounding insights like, “For some people, a house is a horse.” Though Armisen proves that he would make an excellent literature professor, Fallon needs to work on his critical reading skills—his response to Armisen’s song about 23 cousins with crew cuts was really more of a summary than an analysis.