Fred Armisen has long been a national treasure, going back to his early days on Saturday Night Live. It was then when we learned that he could perfectly imitate the distinctive vocal intonations of everyone from Barack Obama to Prince to NPR’s Ira Glass, not to mention all the other characters he created just for the show. And then there’s all the voices he’s provided for animated films and video games over the years. Basically, Armisen is our modern Mel Blanc.
Now, the Portlandia star is proving himself again to be our current reigning master of voices, with a special video from the Netflix Is a Joke YouTube channel, (via the AV Club). This comedic tutorial, which was taken from a 2018 special, shows how Armisen can perfectly nail every accent from just about every state in the U.S. And not only does he highlight the differences from state to state, but he covers the multiple accents within states like New York and Texas.
Armisen starts out in Maine, where perhaps the last vestiges of our British colonial ancestry can still be heard. He also manages to show just where the Southern drawl starts to dissipate and becomes a Midwestern accent, somewhere around Indiana. He also very correctly points out the differences between a Northern California and a SoCal accent.
But he doesn’t just limit himself to English, as this tutorial covers all of North America, which also means Mexico and Cuba. And of course he mentions Canada, eh. As for the states he leaves out, well, I guess we’ll have to wait for the sequel to hear how he gives us the sounds of Idaho, Wyoming, and a few others. If Armisen ever wants to go even more in-depth here, we are all for it.
Featured Image: Netflix / YouTube