While there were many impressive, meticulously crafted documentary parodies in the first season of Documentary Now!, the most popular of the bunch was the two-parter dedicated to the fake soft rock band Blue Jean Committee. It was a wonderful send-up of the Eagles documentary from a few years ago, and to help promote the episodes, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader appeared as the Blue Jean Committee on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The second season of Documentary Now! is premiering Sept. 14 and to promote it, Armisen and Hader performed on Late Night again, but this time they were a new act.
Their new group is called Test Pattern, and they are clearly a riff on Talking Heads. This fits perfectly with their show, as one of the most famous music documentaries of all time is Jonathan Demme’s Stop Making Sense. Test Pattern, introduced as an “iconic art rock band from Connecticut via the Lower East Side,” played their classic song “Art + Student= Poor,” with Armisen in the David Byrne role, which jives since he is actually a musician. The song feels doesn’t feel a lot like a Talking Heads song, but it is a pretty en pointe parody of art rock, including the TVs with words like “monopoly” written on them. You know, a lot of weird for the sake of weird.
Perhaps most importantly, the song is quite short. Hader and Armisen — and also Meyers who also works on Documentary Now! but doesn’t star on it — have proven themselves to know the keys to good parody. One of those keys is to not overstay your welcome, especially when it comes to music. If the Test Pattern episode is as good as the Blue Jean Committee episodes were, it will be well worth checking out.