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Documentary Now!

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Documentary Now!

Documentary Now!
Genre Mockumentary
Created by
Directed by
  • Rhys Thomas
  • Alex Buono
Presented by Helen Mirren
  • Fred Armisen
  • Bill Hader
Theme music composer Josh Moshier
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 7 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Fred Armisen
  • Bill Hader
  • Seth Meyers
  • Lorne Michaels
  • Rhys Thomas
  • Andrew Singer
Production company(s) Broadway Video
Original channel IFC
Picture format 16:9 HDTV
Original release August 20, 2015 (2015-08-20) – present
External links

Documentary Now! is an American mockumentary television series on IFC, created by Saturday Night Live alumni Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and Rhys Thomas, with Armisen and Hader starring in the series and Thomas co-directing. The series spoofs celebrated documentary films by parodying the style of each documentary with a similar, but fictitious, subject. Helen Mirren serves as host for the series, which is executive produced by Armisen, Hader, Meyers, Thomas and SNL creator Lorne Michaels. The episode "The Hunt for El Chingon" premiered online on August 10, 2015,[1] followed by the regular television premiere on August 20.[2] The series has been renewed through season 3.[3]


  • Development 1
  • Production 2
  • Cast 3
  • Episodes 4
    • Season 1 4.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6


On March 20, 2014, the series was announced under the working title American Documentary.[4] Documentary Now! parodies well-known documentaries—such as The Thin Blue Line and Grey Gardens—but with fictitious subjects.[5] British actress Helen Mirren serves as the host for the series, to add "gravitas" to each documentary. Each of the six episodes is shot using different styles of documentary filmmaking, and "honors some of the most important stories that didn't actually happen."[6]

The idea for the series was born on Saturday Night Live, where Armisen, Hader and Meyers were former cast members; in 2013, Armisen and Hader portrayed faded British punk rock stars in a segment, Ian Rubbish and the Bizzaros: History of Punk, made in the style of This Is Spinal Tap.[7]


The producers made it a priority to realistically spoof famed documentaries, even going so far as to track down the original 1920s-era camera lenses used to film Nanook of the North (1922).[5] They declined to do another Spinal Tap-type mockumentary and consciously avoided any similarities in editing or style. “Spinal Tap set such a great precedent that we had to watch out for repeating any of those same beats," Armisen said. "It’s one of the greatest movies ever.”[8]

The six-episode order limited the first season of the show, Seth Meyers told, stating that they were not able to spoof Michael Moore documentaries, or the phenomenally successful HBO miniseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. “The Jinx happened a little too late for us," Meyers said of the miniseries, that aired in February and March 2015. "We almost tried to pull it off. We talked a lot about that kind of documentary, where the filmmaker sets out to make a documentary, and then, very slowly, it becomes clear the documentary is about himself.”[8]

Two of the episodes were shot in Iceland and The Hunt for El Chingon filmed in Tijuana.[8]



Season 1

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Subject parodied Original air date[9] U.S. viewers
1 1 "Sandy Passage" Rhys Thomas & Alex Buono Seth Meyers Grey Gardens August 20, 2015 (2015-08-20) 0.16[10]
2 2 "Kunuk Uncovered" Rhys Thomas & Alex Buono Seth Meyers Nanook of the North August 27, 2015 (2015-08-27) 0.25[11]
3 3 "DRONEZ: The Hunt for El Chingon" Rhys Thomas & Alex Buono Duffy Boudreau, Bill Hader & Rob Klein VICE News documentaries[12] September 3, 2015 (2015-09-03) 0.11[13]
  • This episode was originally scheduled to air August 27, but IFC postponed its release due to a scene in which two journalists are killed on-camera, this following the live broadcast of two television station employees' murders in Virginia one day earlier. The episode "Kunuk Uncovered" aired in its place. "Dronez" was previously available online via the Vice website, which supported the episode, but later pulled it per an agreement with IFC.[14]
4 4 "The Eye Doesn't Lie" Rhys Thomas & Alex Buono Bill Hader & John Mulaney The Thin Blue Line September 10, 2015 (2015-09-10) 0.09[15]
5 5 "A Town, a Gangster, a Festival" Rhys Thomas & Alex Buono Seth Meyers & Fred Armisen September 17, 2015 (2015-09-17) 0.16[16]
6 6 "Gentle and Soft: The Story of the Blue Jean Committee, Part 1"[17] Rhys Thomas & Alex Buono Fred Armisen, Bill Hader & Erik Kenward History of the Eagles September 24, 2015 (2015-09-24) 0.11[18]
7 7 "Gentle and Soft: The Story of the Blue Jean Committee, Part 2" Rhys Thomas & Alex Buono Fred Armisen, Bill Hader & Erik Kenward History of the Eagles September 24, 2015 (2015-09-24) 0.10[19]


  1. ^ Locker, Melissa (August 7, 2015). "Documentary Now! Takes You Inside the Republican Debates".  
  2. ^ Whitney Friedlander (2015-05-11). "‘Documentary Now’ IFC Dates Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers Show". Variety. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  3. ^ Porter, Rick. "TV shows renewed for 2016 and beyond". TVbytheNumbers. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "IFC Unveils New Comedies From Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers & Rob Huebel As Part Of 2015 Slate".  
  5. ^ a b Saad, Nardine (July 31, 2015). "Hader, Armisen, Meyers comedy 'Documentary Now!' spoofs their favorite docs".  
  6. ^ "About".  
  7. ^ Snierson, Dan (2015-05-15). "Bill Hader and Fred Armisen channel Grey Gardens in IFC's Documentary Now!". Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  8. ^ a b c Radish, Christina (August 7, 2015). "13 Things to Know about DOCUMENTARY NOW! Starring Fred Armisen and Bill Hader".  
  9. ^ "Docmentary Now! on IFC".  
  10. ^ "SHOWBUZZDAILY’s Top 100 Thursday Cable Originals (& Network Update): 8.20.2015". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  11. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (August 28, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY’s Top 100 Thursday Cable Originals (& Network Update): 8.27.2015". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 2015-09-10. 
  12. ^ "'"Jack Black as 'Dronez' Founder in IFC's 'Documentary Now!.  
  13. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (September 4, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY’s Top 100 Thursday Cable Originals (& Network Update): 9.3.2015". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ "IFC’s ‘Documentary Now!’ Delays Episode Due to Virginia Shooting," from Variety, 8/27/2015
  15. ^ "SHOWBUZZDAILY’s Top 100 Thursday Cable Originals (& Network Update): 9.10.2015". Showbuzz Daily. 2015-09-11. Retrieved 2015-09-23. 
  16. ^ "SHOWBUZZDAILY’s Top 100 Thursday Cable Originals (& Network Update): 9.17.2015". Showbuzz Daily. 2015-09-18. Retrieved 2015-09-23. 
  17. ^ "Documentary Now! Season 1". IFC. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  18. ^ Metcalf, Mitch. "SHOWBUZZDAILY’s Top 100 Thursday Cable Originals ( & Network Update): 9.24.2015". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  19. ^ Metcalf, Mitch. "SHOWBUZZDAILY’s Top 100 Thursday Cable Originals ( & Network Update): 9.24.2015". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 

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