Interview with H. Jon Benjamin of "Archer" on FXX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

H. Jon Benjamin

Interview with H. Jon Benjamin of "Archer" on FXX Tuesday, April 25

Operator:                          If you should require assistance during the call, please press star then zero. I'll now turn the conference over to Kristy Silvernail for opening remarks. Please go ahead.

Kristy Silvernail:                  Hi everyone, and welcome to the Archer conference call with the voice of Sterling Archer himself, H. Jon Benjamin. I'd like to thank everyone for joining today and remind you that this call is for print purposes only, no audio may be used. As a reminder, Archer is currently airing its eighth season on Wednesday nights at 10 pm Eastern and Pacific on FXX. With that out of the way, let's go ahead and take our first question.

Operator:                          Thank you, our first question will come from Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite.  Go ahead, please.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Good morning.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Morning.

Suzanne Lanoue:             Since this season's a little darker and more dramatic, did you find it challenging as an actor?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Did I find it challenging, what was the end of that? Sorry.

Suzanne Lanoue:             As an actor?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Oh.

Suzanne Lanoue:              More so.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Well, I'm a pretty consistently transparent actor, especially in Archer, I know. For Archer, it's pretty much always kind of the same tone, despite the fact that sometimes the setting changes. I think the show tries to keep Archer as consistent as possible. Even in a coma, he's a bit of an asshole.

Suzanne Lanoue:             All right, thank you.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Even in his dreams. I guess dreams don't really change your personality much.

Suzanne Lanoue:             Thank you.

Operator:                          Thank you, then for further questions, please press star one now. Okay, we have a question from John Schwartz, with Bubbleblabber, go ahead please.

John Schwartz:                  Hey Jon good morning, thank you so much for taking the call. I wanted to see if, you know, Adam had talked about in an interview that this eighth season is kind of the beginning of the end for the Archer franchise, but I wanted to get your take on if you really think it's the end of Archer as a whole? Can you still see the possibility of the franchise expanding? You know, you guys have always talked about doing a movie and video games, would you like to still see that come to fruition?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Yeah, I definitely would. I think that Adam Reed, basically constructs, conceived and constructs the show as far as the writing goes and the sort of concepts and the path the show takes. It's really up to him how much he can do. My role is pretty simple, I'm always up for doing another season of Archer, and I certainly there's definitely been talk of a movie. I would hope that would come to fruition but maybe that would be something they would consider trying to do after the run of the show is done. Yeah, maybe after that, that would be good. I think we could just get some North Korean financing in place and go from there.

John Schwartz:                  That's a good point, we'll get right on that.

H. Jon Benjamin:              No, please write everybody you can over there.

John Schwartz:                  Yes, we'll do.

Operator:                          Okay, thank you, our next question is from Preston Barta, with, go ahead please.

Preston Barta:                  Hi Jon, do you think that Archer's feelings about Woodhouse's death, outside of Dreamland, may differ from how he reacts to it inside of Dreamland?

H. Jon Benjamin:              That's funny, I mean Archer's spent basically, at least the entire run of the show prior, denigrating Woodhouse in every possible way. I think in his dream life, I think we're probably, or at least the show's exploring his real deeper feelings towards Woodhouse as a father figure. I certainly didn't treat, or didn't have the freedom to treat my dad like that in real life, but I wish I did. Yeah, I think, maybe this is sort of Archer's id, to get Freudian. I love to get Freudian.

Preston Barta:                  Mm-hmm (affirmative), isn't he already?

H. Jon Benjamin:              In [bed 00:04:41].

Preston Barta:                  Oh okay.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Yeah, I think this is probably an expression of Archer's like more true feelings toward Woodhouse. Yeah, maybe he can only express that in his dream life.

Preston Barta:                  Great, thank you.

Operator:                          Thank you and for further questions, please press star one now. Okay, we have a question from Dan Buffo with KCK News, please go ahead.

Dan Buffo:                         Hey Jon, what's going on?

H. Jon Benjamin:              How are you, how's Casey doing?

Dan Buffo:                         Good, yeah good, just keep writing up a storm. I wanted to ask you, you know you're approaching a hundred episodes, are there some of the ones you look back on and go, man, that was a really good episode? Is it just, do you find something in every script that's kind of fun? For me, I can't laugh hard enough when I watch the Burt Reynolds episode.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Well, yeah, that was a particularly good one, I mean it was pretty good to ... I mean I didn't really work with Burt Reynolds, I worked apart from him, but beside him, and that's the nature of voice over work. That was a proud moment. Yeah, I mean, it's all, it depends, I like certainly there's so many great episodes over the course of the series, I always sort of have a fondness for the first season, because it was the most ... You know, the season where there's no expectations I guess. As well, more recently, when Adam sort of goes off on a tangent for the whole season, I enjoy that too.

Dan Buffo:                         All right, thanks.

Operator:                          Okay thank you and we do have a follow up from John Schwartz with Bubbleblabber, go ahead please.

John Schwartz:                  Hey Jon, so do you look back at the entirety of the run of Archer and today, kind of say to yourself, wow we've come a long way in certain aspects of the show? For me, my personal favorite growth of watching Archer, because of the art direction. You know Floyd and those guys have really done a really great job of upping the ante in terms of the visual aesthetic of the series, but are there are any features of the show that you feel have come a long way? That you're really impressed with personally?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Well, you know I spoke out publicly, I know that just doesn't make me a hero, but art direction, I think was always an integral component to the show from the very beginning. I've been on a lot of animated shows that have done a lot less, like I was on a show called Dr. Katz, where they, you know, line drawings that they squiggled [crosstalk 00:07:37] that. They weren't really going for like the grandest art direction or the most beautiful. Archer's that ... I'm glad you brought it up, because I think it's probably an underappreciated element of the show. I think they work really hard to push the look. It's gotten better and better even from the beginning. Now, it's just like a really beautiful looking show. The book that came out, the Art of Archer, I think sort of solidifies that. I mean how deep in the process they are.

John Schwartz:                  It sits on my coffee table and I couldn't agree more, I think everybody on the call should get it.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's really cool and like I said, I think it shows how important it is to the show and the people who work on it, to make it look amazing.

John Schwartz:                  Thanks Jon.

Operator:                          Thank you, our next follow up is from Preston Barta with, go ahead please.

Preston Barta:                  We've seen Abbiejean grow up throughout the seasons and my question is do you ever think that Abbiejean might ever meet up with the wee baby [Shamus 00:08:51] down the line?

H. Jon Benjamin:              I hope someday they date. You know, one of those weird mishaps, where you end up meeting your half brother and start sleeping with them.

Preston Barta:                  I'm sorry what was that?

H. Jon Benjamin:              What's that?

Preston Barta:                  I'm sorry, couldn't hear you, what was that?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Oh, I said, like I hope down the line they end up like, casually dating.

Preston Barta:                  That would be very interesting.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Well yeah, and then they like find out and then it's like, oh no.

Preston Barta:                  Well, in reality, [crosstalk 00:09:31] kid anyway right?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Oh no, we didn't.

Preston Barta:                  All right, well thank you.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Sure.

Operator:                          Thank you, our next followup is from Suzanne Lanoue with TV MegaSite, go ahead please.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Thanks. Have you already voice all of the episodes for the season already?

H. Jon Benjamin:              This season, yeah, we finished probably about a month ago. We recorded the last one and I assume they take a little time to catch up on the animation, so they've finished the audio and probably added the audio track, before they complete the animation. Yeah, like about maybe, yeah, I think a month ago was the last recording.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Okay. I read that Adam said that Archer doesn't wake up at the end of this season. How far in advance, I mean, do they tell you what's going to happen next season already, or do you just find out later?

H. Jon Benjamin:              No, Adam sort of surprises the cast I think, or I sometimes will get a phone call. About like a couple weeks before and probably after he starts writing or he's had the idea for the concepts of the season, just to give me a heads up. Yeah. Yeah. I usually find out a little bit before the season starts what he's got in mind.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Okay, cool. He hasn't told you about when or what the circumstances are about Archer waking up.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Well, I've heard some things about what he has in mind about season 9 and 10, which I'll probably keep secret for now.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Yeah.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Like I said, sometimes Adam deviates from his own plan, so I'm not sure that he'll stick with the idea that he's floated. There is I think a grand scheme that he does have to finish out the entire show. That can change, like that's happened before, where he's probably changed his mind.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Right.

H. Jon Benjamin:              He'll decide more seasons, which will be good.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Yeah. You're pretty busy with this show and Bob's Burgers. Do you find time for other acting as well?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Sometimes yeah.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Anything coming up?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Yeah, like usually do some stuff in other people's shows. I'm working on a show right now with John Roberts from Bob's Burgers for HBO.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Oh.

H. Jon Benjamin:              We're writing that now.

Suzanne Lanoue:              Oh, great. Well, thank you.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Sure.

Operator:                          Okay, thank you and we have a follow up from Dan Buffo with KCK news, go ahead please.

Dan Buffo:                         Yeah, speaking of Bob Belcher, do you think Archer and Bob could have a good conversation? Could that be a good spinoff perhaps? Maybe for HBO.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Archer gets a job for the restaurant.

Dan Buffo:                         [crosstalk 00:12:47] Spy mission.

H. Jon Benjamin:              I could hear the both of them talk all day. I mean I do. I do hear the both of them talk all day in my head.

Dan Buffo:                         Awesome.

Operator:                          Okay, thank you and one last time, press star one for any additional questions. Okay, we're back to John Schwartz with Bubbleblabber, go ahead please.

John Schwartz:                  Yeah sure, hey Jon, so in June Bob's Burgers has back to back, I think almost sold out shows in LA for the Bob's Burgers live. I always fondly remember the Archer live shows as well. Is that something you'd like to do again? Have you heard anything about maybe doing, you know one final tour or anything to that respect?

H. Jon Benjamin:              I mean, they would sort of usually done as one offs occasionally when everybody's schedule ... I think a lot of people are very busy. Aisha has like 10 or 11 shows on the air now.

John Schwartz:                  She's coming out with a movie.

H. Jon Benjamin:              She just came out with a movie. I assume she's in right now, [inaudible 00:13:59] and exercise video of some sort. I mean, I think Chris Parnell who is, I think he's just had a new baby, so like they always came up, but they're always difficult to schedule for everybody. Yeah, I think we should do, they were always fun to do. I feel like we should probably maybe try and do more before the show wraps up.

John Schwartz:                  I agree, hopefully it happens.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Yeah, it was a good excuse to sort of public drunkenness.

John Schwartz:                  Yeah. Thanks a lot Jon.

Operator:                          Thank you, we'll go back to Preston Barta with, go ahead please.

Preston Barta:                  Hey Jon and speaking of drunkenness, we all know Archer loves to drink and during the Archer Live on a Boat at Comic-Con, there was a lot of Fireball going around. My question is-

H. Jon Benjamin:              A lot of what?

Preston Barta:                  A lot of Fireball Whiskey.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Oh Fireball, right, right, right. Oh yeah.

Preston Barta:                  My question is do you personally ever have a couple before you start recording your dialog for the new [movie 00:15:15].

H. Jon Benjamin:              No, I think like we, that would be dicey. Archer's recorded around 10 am, so unless I've stayed up the whole night before, I stay away from drinking right before record. Maybe those days have long passed. Shows I've done in the past, there's definitely been drinking before, during and after.

Preston Barta:                  Very good, thank you.

H. Jon Benjamin:              My old bones can't handle it anymore.

Operator:                          Okay, thank you, we have another followup from Dan Buffo with KCK news, go ahead please.

Dan Buffo:                         Jon, do you have any like comedic influences, people that have influenced your work at an early age? You know that Archer's based on a lot of comedy. Do you have any early influences of any other people that worked before you?

H. Jon Benjamin:              Well, I mean as far as my specific comedy goes, Archer's probably different, has a different set of references for Adam. When I was starting comedy, I mean I think Woody Allen's somebody who I grew up loving. Monty Python for sure. When I was a teenager, when I started sketch comedy, Monty Python was a big influence. David Letterman, like as far as somebody who's like just general demeanor I love. I couldn't get enough of David Letterman. We started [inaudible 00:17:10], that was somebody who I really would seek out to watch every night, every time I could. His delivery and his style, is somebody I definitely stole from.

Dan Buffo:                         Definitely. Well, thanks man, hey keep up the good work man. Season 8, 9, or 10, I'll be watching.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Cool. Cool. Good.

Operator:                          Okay, thank you and we do have a question from Kevin [Yeoman 00:17:40] with Screen Rant, go ahead please.

Kevin Yeoman:                  Hi Jon, given the time period of the season, was there ever any discussion about altering the dialog to try and sound more like say a Raymond Chandler novel or Raymond Chandler character? Can you talk a little bit about why the series chose not to change things up too drastically? If there even was a conversation about that.

H. Jon Benjamin:              That's funny, I think that I floated the idea of talking like 40s. [inaudible 00:18:15] You know, I can't do a good Humphrey Bogart but I think ... I don't think it was ever like a serious discussion. I think that there was a lot of narration and a lot of full [motto 00:18:35] style or [inaudible 00:18:36] direction in the show. Maybe we pushed that a little bit but I think mostly Adam, and Matt, and Casey, who kind of run and dictate what the show ... They wanted to keep sort of all the characters the same. I think just to keep the show grounded and not have it go off on some crazy tangent. Because I think, as far as it goes, I think that's a good trait is the characters. [inaudible 00:19:09] And how they relate to each other. I'm not sure how does it'd look, if I started talking like this.

Kevin Yeoman:                  Terrific, thank you very much.

H. Jon Benjamin:              Sure.

Operator:                          Okay, thank you. We have no one else in queue. Do I have any closing remarks?

Kristy Silvernail:                  Yeah, I just want to thank everybody for joining us, and especially Jon, we really appreciate your time. As a reminder to everybody, Archer airs Wednesday nights at 10 pm Eastern and Pacific on FXX. With that, you guys can all disconnect.  Thanks so much, and have a great day.

Transcribed by Janette T. of

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