An interview with Carrie Brownstein

AE: How did you approach landing guest stars?
We wanted to work with people that had always made interesting choices as performers. Someone like Kyle MacLachlan who we loved on Twin Peaks and Steve Buscemi, who is a consummate actor and also makes interesting choices. These people like to explore the weird and the unusual and go to places that are off the beaten path and we wanted to work with people who would have fun with what we were doing, which is very unscripted and it doesn’t follow a lot of rules. The actors are given a lot of freedom to make up their characters and embody their characters with whatever traits they wanted. We just wanted to work with people who were willing to go there and have fun with us. Fred is friends with Aimee Mann but other than that, we’re really cold-calling people.

AE: Lorne Michaels (SNL) is involved as an executive producer. Have you discussed popping into Saturday Night Live at all?
: We haven’t discussed it. I really think that those worlds are separate. Lorne Michaels has been a huge supporter of Portlandia and he’s been really generous with it but I think that Fred and I really want to keep this special. It’s its own kind of art or film or comedy project. It exists in its own world and I think it’s important to keep that world kind of rarefied and to keep it a little bit pure. Even though Fred gets to crossover, I’m fine doing this and the music — or something else.

AE: How are you balancing Wild Flag and your new book?
I don’t know. I don’t sleep very much. [Laughs] I really thrive on chaos and I thrive on being busy and work. I don’t do really well with feeling settled or sedentary. I have no complaints. I feel so fortunate. Last year and this year have just been so many new beginnings with so many projects. I would never claim that it’s just not anything but enjoyable.

AE: What’s next for Wild Flag?
We’re about to have another practice session. We tour in March, record in April, album out in fall. I’m staying busy, that means I’ll be happy.

AE: If there’s a Season 2 of Portlandia, would you consider adding gay characters?
I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Fred. Just kidding! [Laughs]  We’re open to anything. What is nice about comedy and about art are those gray areas and not having people be able to project on to our characters into a situation what they want. You have Toni and Candace who may always be ambiguous. Some people will interpret their sexuality one way, and other people another way. I think we’re OK with that area that is a little undefined. That’s what’s nice about art and about creativity is all the areas that don’t fit into specific categories. But of course. We’re always open to having a recurring character that would be gay. That would be representative of Portland and the world and why not?

AE: There’s not a whole lot of that on TV right now.
It’s a valid question. I don’t think Fred and I really think about that much when we’re writing characters. There are so many different ways to index ones identity, it’s not one that we think of when we’re writing the characters so a lot of our characters are straight and married and whatever. Certainly, I think there’s plenty left to explore and we want to represent everyone and be inclusive of everyone.

Portlandia premieres Jan. 21 at 10:30 p.m. on IFC.

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