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Interview with Aisha Tyler of "Archer" on
I have been a big fan of Aisha since her stint on "Ghost
Whisperer". She is an amazing and gorgeous performer that has been a
stand up comedienne, great actress and talk show host. She seems to be
able to do it all. She has so much energy, and I could tell that
in this call. She was also so nice, and hilarious!!
FX NETWORK: Archer
February 21, 2012/2:00 p.m. PST
Scott Seomin – Vice President / FX Media Relations
Aisha Tyler – “Agent Lana Kane” / Archer
Moderator Welcome to the Archer Conference Call. At this time, all lines
are in a listen-only mode. There will be opportunities for your
questions and instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder,
this conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to our host with FX, Mr.
S. Seomin Hey, everybody. Thank you for spending a good part of your
afternoon with us. I want to remind everyone that Archer airs Thursday
nights at 10:00 p.m. We’re in season three, which wraps up on Thursday,
March 22nd. And with us on the line for your questions is ‘Agent Lana
Kane,’ also known as Aisha Tyler and I’m going to turn it over to her.
Bring on the questions.
A. Tyler Don’t turn it over to me. That’s a terrible idea. I have no
prepared remarks so we can all sit here in silence, much like
Thanksgiving at my house, or you can jump in at any time.
Moderator Our first question today comes from the line of Paul Arca with
P. Arca I heard you’re a San Francisco native just like me. So I just
wanted to make sure you’re a Giants fan or a 49ers fan also.
A. Tyler I am absolutely a Giants fan and I’m a Dynasty baby so I was a
49ers fan for a long time. Then I was not a 49ers fan, and of course
after this season I’m absolutely a 49ers fan again. I know I seem
inconsistent and slutty, but the 49ers broke my heart for a good ten
years there. It’s finally an exciting time to be a 9ers fan again.
P. Arca I totally agree. It was the one year I moved away from San
Francisco the Giants won the World Series.
A. Tyler I know. That was so exciting. I was home for the playoffs. We
were in a bar in the Mission. We were actually at Hog & Rocks jumping
around yelling, “The Giants win the pennant. The Giants win the
pennant,” which was super fun.
P. Arca My first question was—how did you get involved with the show?
A. Tyler I got the script through my agent. I had known who Adam Reed
was because I was a huge fan of his from his Sealab 2021 days. I was
obsessed with this kind of ridiculous, crazy kind of cockeyed show and
just thought he was brilliant and loved what he and Matt [Thompson] had
done with that show. I got the script, read about 1/3 of it, saw that
there were curse words in it and said, “Yes.”
It was also quite funny, but I just couldn’t believe what a great
combination of smart and funny it was. And I remember thinking, “This
will never make it on the air, too smart and too funny,” but thank God
for FX. And I say that without any …. They let the show be what it is
and it’s just a joy to make it. It’s really wonderful.
P. Arca Would you say there’s any differences or similarities between
you and ‘Lana’?
A. Tyler I wish I was more like her. I think she’s awesome. We’re
definitely both tall and amply proportioned. My hands are neither
crooked bass nor truckasaurus. Thank you. They are lovely, delicate
feminine hands. Maybe the nails are a little stubby and gnawed on, but I
definitely do not have man hands.
But I love ‘Lana.’ I think she’s smart. I think she’s effective. I think
she’s funny. She probably could wear a pair of pants every once in a
while. It might be good. Might be good for the constitution, ‘Lana,’ to
cover up a little bit. But other than that, I wish I were more like her
because she’s definitely bad …. I’d love to hang out of a moving van
firing TEC-9s. I think that would be great. That’d be a good afternoon.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Sheldon Wiebe with
S. Wiebe Now with Archer, you’ve done stand up where phrasing and timing
can make good writing better and great writing unforgettable. How does
that work when you’re working on a script for Archer? How much is
writing and what do you do with the phrasing and the timing that adds
your own touch?
A. Tyler That’s a very good question. I’m confident that every actor on
the show has their own process so I can only tell you about how I work.
The scripts are always hilarious when we get them, thank God. I’ve
worked on programs where you think, “I’ve got to do something with
this.” But with this show you pretty much just can’t wait to get in
there and say these words.
That being said, I think Adam and Matt and the other guys on the show
are passionate about comedy. There is joyfulness in the moment that
we’re in the booth making the show. So for me what I do is I just kind
of attack the lines and I try to come up with the funniest way to say
these lines. Sometimes I’m just—this is kind of a business term—laying
pipe. I’m like, “Hey guys, we’ve got to solve this issue for the German
Chancellor because his daughter is about the get the clap,” or whatever
it is. I’ve got to say that stuff.
But usually my goal is to just come at the lines from 20 different
angles and just try to find the best possible way to say it that’s going
to be the funniest and kind of drive the story best from my aspect of
it. Usually I do it until I hear the guys on the other end of the line
laugh and then I know I rang their bell.
But sometimes we’ll do a line a bunch of different ways and then we’ll
just go—Adam or Matt or Casey [Willis] will go, “Try this. What about
that?” And I’ll go, “Hey, what if I said this.” So sometimes we’ll do
some improving on the fly. I hopefully know ‘Lana’ well enough now that
I’m able to pitch something to those guys. They’re pretty open-minded.
I think we all are really passionate about comedy and we all really love
the show. So it’s definitely always a collaborative thing. It’s not
like—we’re never wrestling over who’s driving the truck. Both guys are
driving the truck but I think they know that I love ‘Lana’ and love the
show. So if I come and pitch something we usually kind of get a crack at
it, and then they just chop it up however they like.
S. Wiebe Do you know if XIII is going to get any U.S. exposure?
A. Tyler I’ll tell you that I do believe it will. I’m not quite sure if
the deal’s closed, but I feel quite confident that there is a deal being
made right now for an American network for the fall of 2012. They
already started production on season two. I think we started a week ago.
I’m going to be flying back and forth from L.A. to Canada for a few
weeks to shoot some stuff for the second season. I have Archer and I
have XIII and I have an American series here called The Talk that shoots
daily so it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge for me. But I love
XIII and I love playing ‘Jones’ so I’ll be going back and forth for a
From 70-degree weather here to 7-degree weather there, it should be
nice. I love Toronto. I love it. I love Toronto. I love Canada. I can’t
wait to get back. Can’t wait to have some Timbits.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Diane Morasco with
D. Morasco I want to know how have you evolved as a woman since you
started playing ‘Lana Kane.’
A. Tyler I love it. How have I evolved as a woman since I started—I have
not filled my closet with turtleneck mini dresses. I can tell you that.
The one thing that I love ‘Lana’ is I think she can be both no nonsense
and also self-deprecating. I think that’s something that’s really
wonderful about her. She takes her work seriously, but she doesn’t take
herself too seriously. I hope that I’ve incorporated that into my real
‘Lana’ lives the life that I would love to lead. She’s an international
woman of mystery and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. I suffer fools
constantly. I’m a fool sufferer. My husband is giving me a really nasty
look right now. I’m the kindest, most supportive friend ever, probably
to my own detriment, but I hope that I am toughening up a little bit.
Hopefully I’ll get a little bit more of ‘Lana’s’ kind of Kevlar
exterior. I don’t know. I’m kind of a softie. I would love to be more
I don’t know that I’ve changed much at all. I’ve learned nothing. That’s
what I’ve learned. I’ve grown in no way. I am stuck in a developmental
rut never to progress. I can only grow through my cartoon character, not
in real life.
D. Morasco Since we’ve realized we’re in a vacuum, what do you think the
three elements are that make ‘Lana’ so darn discernable?
A. Tyler I think that she is obviously very sexy, but it’s not a crutch
for her. I think that she calls it like she sees it and I think she’s
not afraid to put herself in a line of fire. She also runs around firing
machine guns in her underwear. I mean come on, who doesn’t want to do
that? Every girl wants to do that. Every guy wants to watch a girl do
that. Even my gay friends are like, “I would go straight for like three
or four minutes just to hang out with ‘Lana’ a little bit in her Fiocchi
D. Morasco Actually I see her as a modern day ‘Jessica Rabbit’ with a
lot of twist.
A. Tyler I like her because we love ‘Jessica Rabbit,’ but she still was
a victim and ‘Lana’s’ definitely not a victim. ‘Lana’ is first in the
door. She’s primary through the door in every mission and she will roll
up her sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done. She’s
definitely not a wuss, and I love that about her. She will just do what
it takes to get the job done.
If you were going to be in a fight and you had to pick between ‘Archer’
and ‘Lana,’ obviously ‘Archer’ is super hot. He seems to always kind of
get his man, but sometimes he gets his man by accident. But you know
that if you’re bleeding from a neck wound and you’re about to die,
‘Lana’ will like repair your neck wound with like a paperclip and a
Band-Aid and fight everybody off with her other hand while in her
underwear. She’s the girl I’d want on my team.
D. Morasco And my last question is what do you find so passionate about
standup? What is passionate to you about that?
A. Tyler It’s how I got my start in the business. I’ve been doing it now
for about 18 years. There is something incredibly electric and visceral
about having a conversation with a group of people in a live
environment. It’s very different from everything else I do. I’m very
lucky. I feel very fortunate to do all the things I am able to do
because I have my scripted television. I have drama. I have comedy. I
have talk. I have my podcast.
I do a lot of different things, but with standup where you’re in a room
full of people and there’s this heat and there’s this intensity—I don’t
turn into a different person on stage but I turn into myself on eleven,
if that’s even possible because I’m usually on like 10.7 all the time
anyway. There’s just something incredibly invigorating and exciting
Every show is a little different. I really get to say exactly what I’m
feeling. I feed off of the audience’s energy and there’s that immediacy
of knowing right in that moment whether something’s working or not.
You’re working without a net. If you fail you fall to the floor. There’s
nobody to catch you. Definitely there’s nobody to blame, but that’s what
makes it so exciting. Standup is kind of the skydiving of the
performance world because it’s all you.
D. Morasco Thank you so much for that. And since you said you started 18
years ago, really at five in kindergarten you did that?
A. Tyler You’re adorable. If you were here I would kiss you right on
your mouth. That was the cutest thing. It was so sweet. I started in
D. Morasco You’re trying to stick me. Have a good one and
congratulations and best of luck.
A. Tyler Thank you so much. Have a good one.
Moderator Next we have a question from the line of Dan Calvisi with Act
D. Calvisi My question is when you read a script, either for a film or a
TV show, what is it in the first few pages that really grabs you and
makes you know that this is good writing? And then also the flip side,
what bugs you and isn’t good in the first few pages?
A. Tyler I’ll answer the second question first. If it starts out with
any kind of a velvet painting description of the silhouette of a nude
black woman with a giant afro, I’d probably either think I’d found an
old Pam Grier script or it’s not the movie for me. Not that I don’t like
afros. I’d love to wear an afro, just not nude. And also typos. I will
say I’m a total snob and I feel like if you can’t have an assistant
proof your script and get the typos out, you’re probably not going to
know which end of the camera to put the film in.
On the up side, for me as an actor, it’s easy when the script is
pedigreed. It’s easy if you know you’re going to be working with Steven
Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino or something like that. You say yes no
matter what because you know you’re going to be in deft hands. I think
if there are more question marks about the script you just want to see
that there’s something in there that you can do. If I look at a script,
I’m reading the entire story. That’s important
But what I really want to know is if I get my hands on this role can I
do something exciting. Can I contribute to the film, because in the end
if I don’t win it this film doesn’t win? So I’ve got to know can I make
this better. Can I bring something to the table that’s going to be
extraordinary? Sometimes you read a role and it’s a great movie and it’s
a great role and you realize, “This is not the role for me. I’m not
going to be able to do my best work here. This is not a fit.”
So really what I do is I look to see can I do something? Do I have some
great transcendent idea that I can bring to this that’s going to really
elevate the material? And then sometimes you look deep into the script
and you see how much money they’re going to pay you and that sometimes
drives your decision as well.
D. Calvisi And a quick follow up, do you still have “No … At All?”
A. Tyler No, it’s actually caving in on itself like a point of
singularity out in space. It’s developing some kind of gravitational
pull and soon I’ll be sucking in children and strollers and small
kitchen implements. It’s getting flatter, sadly, as I get older. I think
Meryl Streep said at some age you’ve got to decide between your ass and
your face, and clearly my ass has made the decision for me.
D. Calvisi Well then you’re just going to have to make a new music video
A. Tyler I think so. I think it’s time. I definitely need to make a new
music video this year. I think you’re absolutely right.
Moderator We will go to Cat Edison’s line with ScreenofVision.com.
C. Edison I know you’ve done a little bit of voice work before this and
I’m wondering if you’re interested in doing any more? And if you are, if
there are any particular animated shows right now that you would want to
A. Tyler I love doing voice work. I think it’s very liberating. It
becomes much more of an academic exercise. Not in a negative way in a
positive way to just be not thinking about anything else but how funny
you can be. You’re not worried about your looks or your wardrobe or your
makeup or anything like that. So in that way it’s very refreshing.
What would I like to do? Well I already did another really brilliant
show called The Boondocks, and I would love to go back and do another
episode of that show. That was a blast and that show is just
extraordinary in a whole different way…but really wonderful.
Wouldn’t it be great to be part of a giant Pixar movie? I would love
that. Mr. Pixar, I hope you’re listening. They do great—I love animated
movies. I saw the last Puss in Boots. I love stuff like that. It was
like a whole theater full of adults with their children and then me and
my husband by ourselves. We don’t have kids. So I loved animation and I
think you can do a lot of great comedy with animation that you can’t do
in real life. So I’m open. Send me some scripts. I’m down. Let’s do
Moderator We’ll go to the line of Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite.
S. Lanoue First I have an Archer question. What do you
think ‘Lana’s’ feelings are right now towards ‘Sterling’ after all
they’ve been through?
A. Tyler They’re going through some really interesting stuff right now
aren’t they? I think that especially after ‘Archer’ got sick and they
went through their rampage together ‘Lana’ has a lot of sympathy for
‘Archer’ that she didn’t have before. He confessed to her during the
three-part “The Heart of Archness” episodes that we did in the fall that
she was his only real friend.
So I think she’s softened quite a bit towards him. I think sometimes she
feels affection for him and I think sometimes she thinks he’s pathetic,
but I think that she has a new-found compassion for ‘Archer’ and an
understanding of who he is and why he is the way he is that she might
not have had before when she was just furious with him.
I keep lobbying Adam for some kind of massive sexageddon between the two
of them. And I’m hoping that it’ll happen because I think it would be
great. It would add a nice layer to ‘Lana’s’ story if she started to
kind of doubt her—she seems to always really know herself and really
know how she is and what she wants.
She’s always very definitive about, “‘Archer’s’ on my last nerve and I’m
here to get the job done and get out of my face.” But I would really
love to see her have some kind of a breakdown because she’s always kind
of perfect. It would be fun to see her be conflicted and a mess. It
would also be great to see ‘Archer’ be conflicted and a mess or more
conflicted and more of a mess than he’s been so far after losing his
wife to the robot murder, Russian overlord. I can’t think of his first
name, cyborg guy. It’ll come to me in a minute.
S. Seomin ‘Barry.’
A. Tyler What was that?
S. Seomin ‘Barry.’
A. Tyler Thank you. I was going to call him Donnie. I don’t know where
that came from.
S. Seomin I’m here just to say character names. ‘Barry,’ Bionic ‘Barry.’
S. Lanoue He looks like the six-million-dollar man to me or the cartoon
version of him.
A. Tyler Yes, exactly. So yes I would love to see them get together. I
would like to see some relationship drama happen at ISIS and just turn
into some kind of a big nuclear bomb, not a literal nuclear bomb but an
emotional nuclear bomb. Let’s ruffle some feathers up in this bisnitch.
S. Lanoue I think it would also—if we learn more about ‘Lana’s’
background, we’ve learned a lot now about ‘Sterling’ and his mother and
that we know that she took his bicycle and all that stuff.
A. Tyler You know what we know about ‘Lana’? We don’t know anything
about her family. We know that when ‘Malory’ met her she was an
environmental activist protestor, throwing blood on people, wearing fur
and that she was fearless. She was as titanium nails then as she is now.
I love that about her but she has her soft spots. We know that she wants
a baby and whenever she gets drunk she kind of starts to breakdown about
that stuff. So she’s got a cranial center. It would be nice to learn
more about it.
S. Lanoue They went back in the—I don’t know if it’s aired yet—but the
one about helping the other go back to his roots and helping him with
his brother, the drug addict guy.
A. Tyler That was last season with the butler, with ‘Woodhouse,’ going
back. That one?
S. Lanoue No, not him. The new episodes with—
S. Seomin With Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock?
A. Tyler I’m sure I was drinking when I recorded ….
S. Seomin I think the one you’re referring to is when they go to West
Virginia and that airs this Thursday.
A. Tyler I’m going to find out what happens. I honestly cannot remember.
And it’s so funny because the episodes that are airing now, we recorded,
I feel like in the summer, like around Comic-Con or something like that.
That was like lifetimes ago for me.
S. Lanoue So you guys are recording new ones now?
A. Tyler We are finished recording this season. We’re finished. Adam
Reed is in … moon or something relaxing and thinking up next season. One
great thing about the show is you’ll read the script and then you’ll go
and record your part and then it will fade away. So then you go back and
you’re like, “Oh I remember when this happened.”
I would love to see more of ‘Lana’s’ background. We learned that ‘Pam’
was an underground fight club champion. It’s been great to find out who
these people are. ‘Pam’ is my favorite character on the show, probably
more than ‘Lana.’ I really love her. She’s who’d I want in my corner,
her and ‘Lana.’ If we could have like a three-girl fight club, me, ‘Pam’
and ‘Lana,’ we’d rule this. We’d just go around crushing heads and
taking names. It’d be great.
S. Lanoue My other question was, since you’re a standup comedian, who
were your biggest influences when you were growing up? Who made you want
to become a standup comedian?
A. Tyler When I was very young I don’t think I even had a sense that
comedy was a real job. I did not discover standup comedy in earnest
until I was in college. I do remember vividly my dad taking me to see
Live on the Sunset Strip when I was a kid, probably when I was way too
young to actually see that concert, inappropriately young. But also …
Eddie Murphy’s Delirious. I’m like repeating every single line of that
special to my friends in the street.
But the person who inspired me to start standup comedy actually was
Steven Wright. I saw a Steven Wright concert when I was at Dartmouth. He
came and he was just so elegant and erudite, and you know how abstract
his work is. It made it feel more accessible.
Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy were these kind of giants. They were like
rock stars, and Steven was just much more of a literate, studious
comedian. And that made it feel like there was room for me in there
somewhere. And I think after I saw him live I went home and started
making little notes.
Moderator Our next question comes from Amy Harrington with Pop Culture
A. Harrington We were wondering if you had a dream guest star that you’d
like to have on the show?
A. Tyler On Archer, a dream guest star; that’s such a great question. We
had Burt Reynolds and he made me think of George Clooney. Wouldn’t that
be sexy? I’m trying to think of who we have coming up that is really
exciting. Who’s in the finale? There’s somebody really awesome in the
finale. I have the memory of literally of somebody’s great grandmother
who has rickets. I can’t remember anything.
S. Seomin Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad.
A. Tyler Bryan Cranston. I was going to say Brian Singer. He’s not an
actor. Thank you. We have Bryan Cranston in the finale, who is
incredible, obviously. I just finished season four of Breaking Bad so
I’m very excited about that. But he was a dream guest that we already
S. Seomin Two-part finale.
A. Tyler What’s that?
S. Seomin It’s a two-part finale.
A. Tyler It’s a two-part finale.
S. Seomin Why don’t you tell everybody where it takes place.
A. Tyler I would also like you to come with me in my life and help me,
Scott, figure out where my keys are and why I can’t lose weight and—
S. Seomin And give everybody the last four digits of your social
A. Tyler I need help. So our two-part finale with Bryan Cranston takes
place in outer space. You couldn’t do that with real scripted television
because space is really expensive. We budgeted it out. So he’s somebody
that I’m really excited about. I would like to have Ryan Reynolds on the
show just because I love Ryan Reynolds. That’s neither here nor there. I
probably wouldn’t even get to see him.
That’s the problem. We have our dream guest stars and none of us ever
interact with them because they go and do their work in the booth on
their own. So everyone’s like, “How was it working with Burt Reynolds?”
And I was like, “I have no idea.” But yes, those are two people that
would be really exciting.
I have a big girl crush on Vera Farmiga. What about Viola Davis? She
could be like a competitive spy like from a different agency, like from
ODIN. She could be like an ODIN spy. She’s already played—she was like a
big CIA muckety-muck in Knight and Day with Tom Cruise so she’s already
played spy muckety-mucks and I think that would be really cool.
S. Lanoue If you could have one piece of spy equipment in real life what
would it be?
A. Tyler A gun. That doesn’t really count. If I could have one piece of
spy equipment—probably night vision goggles. Those are kind of cool. A
black slinky kind of suit where no one can see your own body heat and
then you put the night vision goggles on so you can see everybody else’s
body heat and then I would just crawl around in people’s bushes and
stuff like that. I don’t know what that I would be looking for anything
in particular, but it’d just be nice to walk around and like look at
people and have them not be able to see you.
So how about that? And also a grappling hook that shoots out of your
belt that you could like scale the sides of buildings. That’d be very
S. Lanoue It always comes in handy.
A. Tyler I mean I don’t really have any buildings to scale, but it’s
nice to know that I could should the need arise.
Moderator Next we’ll to Ernie Estrella with BuzzFocus.com.
E. Estrella Archer won our reader’s poll for best spy TV in 2011, and
you’ve also been on 24 and now XIII. What is it about spy TV that you’re
particularly drawn to and love and maybe how does Archer fit in the
lexicon of spy TV?
A. Tyler I will say, first of all, that I grew up having much of my free
time supervised by my dad, my single dad. I grew up loving action movies
and being obsessed with that genre. I’ve seen Die Hard like 40 or 50
times. So I just love that whole world. Even as adult I’ve watched …
dozens and dozens of times. I just love all of that stuff. And I have
played a spy now three times; how interesting.
So what was your question, spies are awesome? Was that your question?
E. Estrella Something specifically about spy TV that either you’re drawn
to and then also how Archer fits kind of in the spy realm.
A. Tyler In the spy firmament? So I think I’m drawn to interesting,
competitive, strong women. I think that’s the first thing. Women who are
doing something that is complex and interesting. I love the idea of
characters in peril, generally. I always like the idea about ordinary
people going through extraordinary circumstances or extraordinary
conditions. So I find that very appealing.
It’s not that I don’t like other kinds of character driven drama, but I
like when people are called on to make extreme personal sacrifice on
behalf of others. That’s always been a theme that I’ve been attracted to
in my work as an actor and also when I’ve been writing or committing to
Like when someone has to go through—and that may go back to when I loved
Die Hard. You have this kind of regular cop who’s got to walk barefoot
across glass to save his wife down at the—what was it called, … Tower?
I’ll think of it in a minute. Someone will think of it. Scott will
Google it and then break in, in a minute, and tell me what the name of
that tower was.
So I love that stuff. I just find that to be a really compelling set of
conditions because people have to kind of reach outside of themselves
and find a strength that they didn’t know they had in order to do
something extraordinary, usually for other people, not for themselves.
So I think that’s why I like the spy genre.
I think that Archer—I often describe it as James Bond meets The Office
where everybody is drunk and having sex with each other. How that fits
into the spy firmament, I can’t tell you. But what I love about it is
that it can be a very absurd office comedy, but also there’s this nice
legitimate edge to it where they do go on real missions and they do
engage in espionage that feels as real as a cartoon show about spies can
feel and there’s real peril. I love that about it too. There’s this kind
of odd mix of competency and extreme competency that goes on and I
imagine that exists in the real world of espionage as well.
E. Estrella I think you’re thinking of the Nakatomi Plaza.
A. Tyler Nakatomi Plaza, thank you.
E. Estrella Also something I really cherish about Archer is the four
women; you have ‘Malory,’ ‘Lana,’ ‘Cheryl’ and ‘Pam.’ Unlike any other
females on television, when you guys get together on the promotion of …
did the four of you ever talk about how unique these characters really
A. Tyler How what these characters really are?
E. Estrella How unique they are in television, as female characters.
A. Tyler I don’t think we’ve ever kind of had a conversation where we
said to each other, “Our characters are so unique.” I think we talk
about how much we love them when we’re together. Unfortunately, we don’t
see each other that frequently. It’s maybe only three times a year. Once
…, then once at Comic-Con and then once at TCA.
I think we often remark on how much we like our characters, how much we
enjoy playing them, how much we enjoy listening to the other people play
them. I often tell the other actors on the show, “I just love what you
do with this character. I love this character so much.” And so I feel
like—especially with Judy [Greer] and …, I love those two characters and
I think I tell them that quite a bit. But I’ve never really sat down and
said, “These characters are unique.” I just kind of say, “Man, that
character’s bad …,” which I’m sure is street slang for unique.
E. Estrella As the series deepens and whether it goes into fourth and
fifth seasons, we got the three-parter at the beginning of the season
and then we still have these stand-alone stories. Do you like how the
serialized stories turn out as opposed to the stand alones or do you see
more and more of this development going on as the series goes on?
A. Tyler I have really enjoyed some of the serialized stories. And I
feel like there’s a serialized aspect to the show, especially now that
the show’s done well and people love the character and they have the
patience and the passion to follow where we go with what’s happening. So
it’s been more fun now.
I feel like we have the luxury of being able to engage in these
serialized shows. I love “The Heart of Archness” trilogy and I’m really
looking forward to the season finale, which is two-parter. I feel like
we’re able to explore bigger ideas and push harder with story ideas.
It’s been fun.
But Adam’s also very good at one-offs. “Lo Scandalo,” which just aired
last week was a fabulous, really artfully executed one off that drew
elements from ‘Malory’s’ back story and from things that had happened in
previous episodes, but was just this beautiful kind of who-done-it that
held together really well on it’s own. And I think when you see an
episode like that you just see what a great writer and what a great
comedic mind Adam is.
So that is neither here nor there isn’t it? I said yes to both. That’s
what I did. I said yes. That’s the answer, yes.
E. Estrella You’re talking about “Lo Scandalo” and there’s some real
emotion in that, especially when … killing him and saying it’s in the
name of possibly ‘Sterling’s’ father. So yes there are these little bits
that come out and I was just curious about that. Thank you for answering
and good luck on the rest of the season.
Moderator Next we’ll go to the line of Dan Calvisi with Act Four
D. Calvisi We’ve heard so much about women in comedy in the past year
and there are so many funny women on TV and in films. What advice would
you have, Aisha, for screenwriters wanting to write really good female
roles in comedy?
A. Tyler The first thing I would say is be brave. Be brave. Don’t think
that because you’re writing for a woman that you can’t push hard. I
think that’s why people love this show. It’s because there’s no
restraint. There’s no soft-pedaling. There’s a pure pursuit of what is
essentially and irreducibly funny.
If we’re talking about kind of cultural touchstones, when they were
making Bridesmaids there were a lot of people who were like, “This is
too gross. Women won’t watch it. It’s too edgy. You pushed too hard.”
And what you found was that uncompromising comedy is funny to everybody.
I think write what you know to be funny. Don’t soften it. Don’t
soft-pedal it. My gardeners have arrived.
D. Calvisi Is that what that is?
A. Tyler That’s my gardener.
D. Calvisi I thought you were making a margarita.
A. Tyler Wouldn’t that’ve been so much more of an interesting thing if I
had said that’s what was happening? My life would’ve sounded much more
exciting. I think that people are finally discovering that you don’t
have to make the comedy about teacakes when women are involved. So I
hope that more people will do that.
My show, my standup show and my podcast have a predominantly male,
probably dominate 60/40 male listenership with my podcast, obviously.
It’s called “Girl on Guy” so it’s aimed at men. A lot of women do like
it. But my shows are also quite dominated by men because my comedy is
not gender specific. I’m not doing girl comedy or …. I’m just going to
try to get the women and maybe the guys will come along. I just do
aggressive, edgy, unapologetic comedy and I think that if you do that
people will find it and people will appreciate it. I think there was a
time when people thought, “Well girl comedy’s got to be about remote
controls and toilet seats.” With all respect, that’s total bull …. So
that would be my advice. Be as funny as possible and don’t worry about
the rest of it.
D. Calvisi Is it more difficult to be funny or to think that they’re
funny when they are very good looking actors?
A. Tyler I want to try to unpack that in a way that doesn’t devolve into
douche baggery. For my own part, I was a very unattractive kid. I’m six
feet tall. I’ve been this tall since I was about seven or eight years
old. I am borderline legally blind and had glasses that proved it every
day. If you would like me to burn a small anthill, I could’ve done that
with my spectacles. And I was also a total social pariah. So my comedy
comes out of outsidership.
I think comedy’s, in the end, about reliability, which is why some
people feel like if someone is “attractive” they won’t be funny maybe
because they have no problems, maybe because they can’t relate to me in
my own problems. But my comedy’s always been about self-deprecation.
It’s always been about relatability.
I think it’s not really about what you look like; it’s about how you
perceive yourself. So if you get out there and you’re worried about your
hair and your outfit, then sure it’s going to be hard for people to
relate to you. But if you get out there and you’re honest and you tell
the truth, that’s really what communicates with people. So yes, comedy
is never pretty and it shouldn’t be precious. That should be the last
thing on your mind when you get on stage.
I had a woman come to me once back to me when I was still on Ghost
Whisperer and she said, “You’re from TV and I didn’t think I wanted to
come to the show because I was like ‘this girl is just going to be
worried about her hair the whole time and how she looks’ and you did not
care how you looked on stage.” I was like, “No, I really didn’t.” And
she was like, “And you look like ….” I was like, “Thank you, I think.”
In the pursuit of comedy everything else should be secondary. I guess I
would say that to somebody who’s trying to be funny no matter what they
look like. Comedy is about honesty and not about your hairstyle.
Moderator Our next question will come from Melissa Girimonte with
M. Girimonte What I’m kind of interested to know, with how isolating it
can be to be doing voice work, like when it comes to an animated series,
what challenges do you face and kind of keeping up that chemistry just
because it comes across so well in the final product? It must be
difficult for you to do.
A. Tyler You know what I want you to do? Ask me that question again.
M. Girimonte No problem. With how an animated series is put together and
recording your voice track, which is kind of a very isolated experience,
what do you do personally to kind of keep that chemistry going with your
co-stars when you don’t have those physical queues to pick up on as if
you were in the same room together?
A. Tyler Some of that is just acting, just acting skill. Not like I’m
like, “That’s just because I’m awesome.” That’s not what I’m saying. But
I think some of that is knowing the character, knowing your own
character, knowing how your own character feels about the other
characters on the show and how they relate. And then because this is not
an ensemble drama, some of it is just commitment just to being funny.
The architecture of the show, quite honestly, there’s a percentage of it
that’s in the hands of the editors. We deliver our funniest work and
then they cut it together really, really beautifully.
At this point now, I feel like I know ‘Lana’ really well. And I know how
‘Lana’ feels about ‘Malory,’ how she feels about ‘Archer,’ how she feels
about ‘Pam,’ and that infuses the way that I deliver my lines. And
that’s just something—actually I think it’s probably gotten easier over
time rather than harder.
M. Girimonte As a quick follow up, I’m in Canada and I know you’ve spent
some time here. I’m right in Toronto. Do you have any plans? I know that
there have been some public appearances for you in the U.S. related to
Archer and some of your other stuff. Do you have any plans to make any
appearances here in Toronto while you’re around?
A. Tyler I would love that if I had the time. I would love it. It’s
really, for me, just been about just disposable time. I was living in
Canada last year when I was shooting XIII. I was in Toronto for about
six months. I loved the city. I loved working on the show. If I can find
the free time, and even if it’s not when I’m up there shooting XIII, if
it’s later in the year, I would just love it. I’m a huge fan.
Moderator Our next question comes from Ernie Estrella with BuzzFocus.com.
E. Estrella I just have one last question that I wanted to ask. As you
go into work daily on The Talk after Archer airs do you ever get any
weird looks from your co-hosts or any guest that might’ve seen it?
A. Tyler No. It’s funny because I would think that maybe from the
outside it might feel that way, like maybe they’re not quite a fit. But
the women on the show, obviously Sharon [Osbourne]—you couldn’t shock
Sharon with a murder scene. She’s seen it all. And all the other women
on the show have a great sense of humor. My show, my standup and comedy
are pretty edgy, but actually Sheryl’s [Underwood] show is much edgier
I think what’s interesting about The Talk is I think even if you’ve seen
it over the last season it’s really evolved to be a much franker, more
honest, and quite frankly more edgy show than it may have started out as
in previous incarnations. So I think it’s more of a fit. I think there
are so many people for whom you might think, “This person wouldn’t like
that show,” but people’s senses of humor tend to kind of surprise you.
I just did some live shows in Grand Rapids, MI and there were a nice
number of people who were fans of the podcast, a nice number of people
who were Archer fans, and a nice number of people who were fans of The
Talk. I remember saying, “My shows so much edgier than The Talk,” and
they were like, “No, we loved it that you finally were able
to”—obviously with daytime TV there are certain rules so they were like,
“It was nice to see you kick the tires and light the fires.” But no,
I’ve never gotten an evil look from anybody.
E. Estrella Are any of your co-hosts Archer fans?
A. Tyler I think they’ve all seen it and said that they really love it.
A lot of the crew, I have a lot of crew and staff that come and say,
“The show last night was so funny.”
Moderator Our final question today comes from line of Diane Morasco with
D. Morasco Let me start off by saying that today my hair is channeling
Troy Polamalu. With that said I want to ask you if you were to sit down
with three legendary comedians, alive or dead, who would they be and
what would you be talking about?
A. Tyler Lenny Bruce, and we would talk about radicalism and art.
Richard Pryor. I don’t know what we would talk about. I would probably
just sit and listen to Richard Pryor talk. And then I think it might be
a toss up between George Carlin and Tina Fey.
Obviously George Carlin had a grand transformation and so did Richard
Pryor between who they were when they were younger artists and whom they
morphed into. It would be really interesting to sit down—George was
somebody who stayed relevant right until the end of his career, which is
very hard to do for any artist, especially for a standup comedian.
But then also I feel like Tina Fey is a woman who has broken a lot of
barriers, being the head writer for Saturday Night Live and then
creating her own show. Having been in a writer’s room and having been in
that environment, I know what it’s like. I love it. I feel very
comfortable in it, but I also know how challenging it can be and it
would be great to just sit with her and hear more from her.
She’s always so funny, but it would be great to have a real conversation
with her about what it was like to work her way up through the ranks and
everything she’s accomplished. I think she’s an extraordinary talent.
But also not just an artistic talent but just an all around really
competitive, interesting personality who’s really accomplished a lot.
That’s four people. There you go.
D. Morasco Thank you for that. And I have to say that I only watch The
Talk because of you. That’s it. That is it and I really want to say that
I think one of your best things was on Ghost Whisperer as well, because
you had me crying. You had me feeling, and when you left I was like,
“I’m not coming back. I’m not coming back to watch it.” And then I was
like, “You know what? Maybe I was convinced they’d bring you back as a
ghost,” but I got fooled with that. That didn’t happen so I stayed
watching waiting for you to come back.
A. Tyler Thank you. That’s so kind of you. I really appreciate it.
S. Seomin I want to thank everyone for spending so much time of your
afternoon on the phone with Aisha. And I want to thank Aisha.
A. Tyler It was super fun you guys. Thank you.
S. Seomin They’re all muted right now, but they are cheering. I can feel
it. Thank you, guys. And Tom, from AT&T, thank you.
Moderator Thank you.
A. Tyler It was a super duper double pleasure. Thanks, guys.
S. Seomin Excellent. Aisha, I’ll talk to you later.
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for
today. We thank you for your participation and for using the AT&T
Executive TeleConference. You may now disconnect.
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