Metro Weekly

Funny Mann

Aimee Mann isn't as dour as her music may lead you to believe

For the record, Aimee Mann doesn’t do windows.

That’s despite what you may have seen on Portlandia. In the IFC sketch comedy show, the rocker Mann plays herself as an employee of a housecleaning service hired by a Portland eccentric, played by the show’s Carrie Brownstein, herself a real-life rocker. Brownstein’s character and her best friend, played by co-creator Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live), put Mann through the ringer, relishing the fact that they get to boss their favorite singer-songwriter around.

Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann

(Photo by Cheryl Nields)

”I feel like Fred is a comedic genius, so anything he would ask me to do I would immediately say yes,” says Mann, who cites Armisen as a good friend. But the skit works because it features a deadpanned Mann taking the abuse in total stride, as if it were all in a day’s work. (Just try to imagine Madonna in the role.) ”I honestly didn’t really feel like it was making fun of me personally,” says Mann. ”It was just this surreal situation and they were goofing on the idea.”

Turns out, Mann isn’t as dry and dour as her music may lead you to believe. She has an exceptionally droll sensibility. In addition to her turn on Portlandia, her Twitter banter between comedian friends, from Patton Oswalt to Rob Delaney, has led The Huffington Post to tout her as one of ”13 Funny Musicians You Should Be Following on Twitter.” And in her two most recent videos, Mann pokes still more fun at herself — most notably in ”Charmer,” where Mann is a tired performer who hires a ”robot double,” gamely played by actor Laura Linney, to tour and meet the public so she doesn’t have to.

Of course, it’ll be the real Mann playing next week at the Birchmere. ”I think I’ve played the Birchmere more than any other club,” says Mann, a native of Richmond, Va. She’ll be supported by a full, five-piece band performing tracks from her new album, Charmer, as well as older stuff. How about her 1985 pop hit ”Voices Carry” with her new-wave band ‘Til Tuesday?

”Every now and then I’ll play kind of a goofy version of it if I’m in the mood, which is not very often,” she responds. ”It’s not in the repertoire.”

Aimee Mann performs Wednesday, Oct. 24, and Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m., at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $49.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.