Interview: Adam Reed And Aisha Tyler From ‘Archer’

We had the honor of chatting with Archer Creator/Executive Producer Adam Reed and Aisha Tyler who does the voice of Agent Lana Kane. Even though it was bright and early in the morning, the two managed to crack us up with their answers to the questions. Check out the interview below!

What episode in Season 2 are you most excited for people to see?

A. Reed: I’m excited for people to see the explosive season finale, which I’m just writing today, hopefully by lunch. Now, I’ll have my weekend free.

A. Tyler: He’s going to bring in a team –

A. Reed: I think the season opener is pretty good.

A. Tyler: What’s that?

A. Reed: I think the season opener is pretty good, the snowmobile one.

A. Tyler: That’s fantastic.

A. Reed: Then, I don’t remember any other ones until the explosive finale.

A. Tyler: Me neither. Yes, I would agree with Adam that the opening, the season opener “Swiss Miss” is a pretty – It’s really wonderful because I think it’s a classic Archer episode, but it’s also just really – reminiscent is probably too light a word. It’s like smack dab in the middle of all the great espionage movies, all the great – the whole Bond …. It really feels very “spy-y” and it’s “action-y.” Adam, you said something about the fact that it was great, that the show is animated, because you know we could never afford to shoot ten seconds of this amazing kind of … chasing in the middle of the show. You can draw trees for days for nobody ….

A. Reed: Or one tree.

A. Tyler: One tree over and over again, varying heights and sizes. So, it’s really explosive. It’s fun. It’s really funny. I think it’s a perfect example of what we do best on the show, which is a combination of international elegance, high intellectualism, and dirty jokes.

S. Seomin [FX Publicist]: Aisha, could you tell Emma just a little bit about “Swiss Miss” and what the gang does?

A. Tyler: Yes. I never know how much I can give away, because the sniper has got his gun in the back of my neck …. He hasn’t given instructions about when to shoot. In “Swiss Miss,” the whole group goes to Gstaad, ostensibly to protect the daughter of – what does he do? He’s like an international chief … or something.

A. Reed: He’s a captain of industry.

A. Tyler: Captain of industry and that’s enough. He has this like insanely precocious daughter and we’re all there to protect her. There’s another group of evil doers from some unknown origin – maybe they’re – are they Basque? I don’t know where Basque is.

A. Reed: Their accents are a little hard to pin down.

A. Tyler: Yes, they just sound mean and European, as if they drink wine out of glasses with no stems. I mean really … lowlife. They are planning on kidnapping this young lady, and … and maybe we all just sleep with each other instead of – That’s the thing, there’s always time for sex on our show, in between the high intrigue, but, this young girl who’s underage becomes this albatross for poor Archer, who’s really not a very disciplined guy anyway. He, for the first time, displays some self-discipline. But, it just backfires. For once, Archer has it all together and none of us believe him because he’s kind of a DB. His normal MO is DB-ness. It’s hilarious. There’s a snowmobile race, dancing monkeys, live action –

A. Reed: We invent a new drink.

A. Tyler: We invent a new drink, a Green Russian.

A. Reed: The Green Russian, which is absinthe and milk.

A. Tyler: Which seems just unacceptable as a beverage or a housecleaning product, but wonderful things happen after people start drinking the Green Russians, wonderful things. Malory explodes. It’s awesome. It’s really great. Somebody catches on fire. Somebody has their wedding jewels in their tackle boxes. That’s a line. It’s just great. There’s nudity; there are dancing bears. Five minutes into the show, Adam Reed does this off-shoot. It’s really good. I’ve seen it maybe four or five times. We aired it at Comic-Con. I have never heard such thunderous laughter except in my own head at night before I go to bed.

S. Seomin: Emma, this is Scott. I want to add one thing on it about the episode for your fans on your site. Malory and Pam bond in a very unique way.

A. Tyler: Scott, you’re a subtle man with a light touch.

S. Seomin: Not as funny as the talent.

A. Tyler: It’s funny to me what you said and it will be funny when people see it. It’s great. It’s a really great episode. It’s a really explosive launch to the second season. I think people are going to love it.

How would you describe Lana’s relationship with Archer? Do you think she’s ever going to tame Archer?

A. Tyler: Tame Archer. Well, I can tell you what I think. I bet you Adam will have a – Well, Adam will actually know, because he writes the show. I just show up and look around for cookies.

So, I think if there’s anybody who can equal Archer or kind of mollify him in any way, it’s Lana because she’s probably the only combination of – I mean, you know Archer is so driven by libido. That’s probably stronger than almost another impulse in his … brain. But, most of the women that he sleeps with are kind of disposable and Lana’s the only one who kind of knows him as a person and is also super sexy, and also does what he does for a living and he actually can learn from. They often operate as a team.

So, I don’t know that she can ever tame him, but I think he finds himself drawn to her like kind of terribly, kind of this terrible attraction that he doesn’t understand and so he mocks it and he scorns it. The only person that can tame Archer is his terrible drunken mother, but Lana might be somebody – But he can run from her because in the end he doesn’t want to sleep with her.

But, Lana, there’s the lure of the … is very powerful. … strongest, literally, there’s like planetary gravity and then there’s the kind of invisible force that holds the atoms together. Then, there’s the lure of … a at the top of that list in terms of powerful things in the universe. So, I think he circles her against his will. Whereas with his mom, he runs, he ultimately runs from her, and then spits in her drink.

But, I don’t know that he can ever be tamed. He’s just sprawling Id in a … suit. Trying to control Id is like trying to hold water in your palm. Why would you do that when there’s television?

A. Reed: And cups.

A. Tyler: And cups. They’ve been invented, and mugs, out of which I’m drinking right now. But, yes, would they ever get back in a relation – ? I don’t think so. They might have some terrible 12-day affair at a hotel where no one leaves and room service dishes pile up outside the door. That could happen – Adam, pitching.

A. Reed: Four days of just crying and yelling.

A. Tyler: Crying and yelling, and then crazy sex that like makes all the other people in the hotel check out, right, like a Ming vase comes flying out the balcony. Were they fighting? Oh, no, that was sex actually. But, yes, will they ever be together? I doubt that, I really doubt that. I think Lana’s too smart. I think she’s the kind of woman who also is really driven by a libido, so would sleep with him as well because he’s pretty hot. Then wake up in the morning and slap herself and say, “What was I thinking.” Then sleep with him again and be like what a dumb-dumb. She’s definitely is the ying to his yang. I don’t know which one of those is the girl, yang – I don’t know. I don’t even –

A. Reed: The one with the big boobs.

A. Tyler: The one with the big boobs. In the … that little Chinese symbol, whichever one is stacked is the woman and that one is Lana.

A. Reed: I always thought that was just two boobs anyway.

A. Tyler: You know what, Adam, we just learned so much about you in that last –

A. Reed: … just studied major.

A. Tyler: I don’t need to hold up any … just show you –

A. Reed: Those are boobs.

A. Tyler: Boobs, very small boobs.

S. Seomin: How well that degree has served you, Adam.

A. Reed: I use it all the time.

A. Tyler: Like ordering in restaurants and embarrassing yourself in public transportation trying to speak people.

A. Reed: All of those.

A. Tyler: Of course, you’ve got your rusty Mandarin. Mandarin is hard to keep polished. It’s a hard language to burnish. Adam, you and I should just go talk in the corner like we usually do?

A. Reed: I think we should be on listen-only.

A. Tyler: I’m going to put that on a tee-shirt.

Has there ever been a line that either of you has ever had to say that you just couldn’t because of the hysterical laughing that ensued?

A. Reed: Didn’t we just have one recently, Aisha where we couldn’t not keep giggling. I forget what it was. It was something dirty/stupid.

A. Tyler: Yes, it was a couple of episodes ago. I can’t remember what it is.

A. Reed: I can’t remember what it was, but when that happens, when I’m directing the video session, I just keep trying to make Aisha laugh more.

A. Tyler: Yes, he’s super professional, Adam. He’s laser focused captain of the ship.

A. Reed: Stern but fair, I would say.

A. Tyler: Stern, but fair, yes. If you – I went into the brig, I deserve it. I can’t remember what it was.

A. Reed: I can’t remember what the line was though, but it does happen often that we get the giggles.

A. Tyler: The show is – Can I say this Adam? Hold on for a second. The show is so funny. Have you seen it? Oh God. I say that – I’m a fan of the show and I would be a fan even if I wasn’t on it. The show is funny on the page. So, it’s really – a lot of times, we are laughing all the way through. It’s not a joyless job. It is really one where it is a blast to make. It goes very quickly because each of us are in the booth alone. It’s maybe about an hour. On a really slow day, it’ll be an hour and a half. It’s just delightful, because you get to spend a bunch of time working on the math of comedy. The lines are hilarious on the page and then my job is to try to come in and say it in the funniest way I possibly can.

So, the sessions are just play. Let’s say it like this, let’s say it like that. My goal as a needy, laugh-starved artist is to try to crack the guys up on the other line. You always know you nailed it when they rail into guffaws on the other line. Then you just do a little victory dance around the tiny carpet lined room.

We laugh constantly. That’s one thing about this show is that we are laughing constantly. I imagine there are people who make comedy who are joyless people who never laugh at their own jokes, but we are incredibly self-satisfied …. We laugh at everything we do. We’re cackling hysterically almost all the time. So, it’s a very fun time to – it’s a really fun show to make. We’re professionals –

A. Reed: … very serious about it.

A. Tyler: I think everybody else is just joyless, like over at The Simpsons. They just come in and there’s tears. There’s tears and dry biscuits. On our show, laughter and cookies. I wish I could think of a specific line. I can’t think of one right now.

A. Reed: I can’t either, but you know if we said it, if we remembered it, it wouldn’t be that funny now, probably.

A. Tyler: Right, no it’s never that funny. Oh, it’s all right.

A. Reed: I don’t know why “poop-hat” is suddenly … of comedy.

A. Tyler: …. I do remember that one of my favorite lines in this season; I call Archer a bag with which one douches. … the most arcane, obscure thing we’ve …, no, but I really enjoy it.

A. Reed: The thinking man’s douche bag.

A. Tyler: Yes, it’s elevated stuff there. Those are college level jokes. Not everybody can deliver those.

One of my favorite relationships is the verbal sparring between Lana and Malory. Are we in for any showdowns for Season 2?

A. Reed: We do have a showdown, a bit of one. There’s sort of a two-episode arc where a character on the show deals with a devastating illness. Malory and Lana get into a – they sort of have a showdown at the beginning of that two-episode arc. We find that Lana’s definitely not scared of Malory, and whatever deference she shows her is just by choice, I think.

A. Tyler: Just professional courtesy.

A. Reed: Exactly.

A. Tyler: One thing I like about –

A. Reed: Lana’s not afraid to use her words.

A. Tyler: Well, I think one other thing we learn about Lana this year is that she thinks that she’s just kind of a pearl amongst really drunken, irresponsible swine, and that she has professional designs of her own. She’s very ambitious. She’s not afraid to mince words with Malory. She thinks that Malory probably needs to be put out to pasture at some point. You’re right. She’s respectful because she’s a professional, but I think she envisions herself behind that large, and dinged, and slightly damp desk at some point in her career. That happens.

Are we going to find out who Archer’s daddy is?

A. Reed: You know, we try really hard. We keep looking.

A. Tyler: … enough, Adam.

A. Reed: We keep looking, but as I’m writing the explosive season finale today by lunch, we may or may not. It’s going to depend on where the morning takes me.

A. Tyler: That is a thematic line right through the season. We keep revisiting that particular issue. “Who am I,” Archer asks himself. “Why am I here?” He’s having a prolonged existential moment.

A. Reed: “What have I done to deserve this?”

A. Tyler: Or literally, “What have I done?”

What’s it like going into Season 2 and now having established a rhythm working with this show? More specifically, what’s it like trying to keep track of all these running jokes that you guys wonderfully keep track of and keep evolving throughout the show.

A. Reed: My screenwriting program does that for me actually. A little dialog window will pop up and say “Running gag?” Then I open up a little sub-menu. It’s like “Hey, you said Danger Zone thing you been going to.” I find it very hard to keep track of all that. A lot of times when I’m writing, I’ll go to those when I’m stuck. Actually, the episodes don’t necessarily air in the order that they’re written, so sometimes a call back to another joke will wind up seeming like some very prescient call forward to this joke three episodes later. I have no control over that. It just makes me look smarter than I am. As evidenced by my answer to this question.

Are you into a rhythm now that we’re into Season 2? Were you ever in a rhythm?

A. Reed: Yes, these scripts are due every three weeks. So, my rhythm is two weeks of pacing around and not being able to come up with an idea, and then a week of typing and no sleeping, and snapping at everybody. I just do that 13 times. Awesome to live with am I.

A. Tyler: You guys know that Adam does everything himself because (a) no one else could write these shows, which I think was actually was evidenced in the beginning of Season 2. We thought, “Oh, now, Season 2, bring on the dancing girls and the bowls of money.” Some people came in to write the show and they couldn’t write the show. The muse only visits Adam. It’s probably because of the … drinking. The show has such a unique voice that I think it’s been really hard for anybody else to duplicate it. So, poor Adam is now tethered to all of us. This is a blood marriage that will never end.

A. Reed: Blood marriage.

A. Tyler: That will only be escapable by funeral pyre. By …, the only way you can get out of this is by setting yourself on fire.

K. Outlaw … Aisha, how you just named an episode for Season 3, “Blood Marriage.”

A. Tyler: “Blood Marriage.” This would make for a good episode. That’s a really good name for an episode. Bam, Adam, that’s like 90% of the work right there. Just plug that into your program.

A. Reed: That’s fantastic.

A. Tyler: See what comes out. Just a lot of … and danger zones.

A. Reed: … and danger zones.

Let’s see, by my count from what I’ve seen so far, spoiler alert … that we have in Season 2: underage girls … trying to be a hero, several ISIS-ODIN showdowns, my personal favorite, Woodhouse’s history in “The Double Deuce,” movie stars. Could you maybe just talk a little bit about what you have cooking for the latter half of Season 2?

A. Reed: Yes, there’s a character deal with a devastating illness over the course of a few episodes.

A. Tyler: That is going to be insane.

A. Reed: The body count goes way up.

A. Tyler: Talk about a blood marriage.

A. Reed: What else happens? Archer continues his quest to find out who his father is. Archer falls in love for real, which leads to the explosive season finale.

When the episode “Tragical History” airs, are you going to offer that pirate virus as a ringtone?

A. Reed: I think so or as an actual computer virus, if FX legal will let us do that. I think it will be available as a ringtone. If the other ones are, which I think they are. I know we all have “Mulatto Butts” on our phones at work. So, nobody ever knows whose phone is ringing. It’s just this chorus of “Mulatto Butts” all the time. It’s actually a terrible place to work.

A. Tyler: And mildly, strangely kind of racialist.

A. Reed: Well, slightly, yes. It leads to some interesting conversations about race in America and technology.

A. Tyler: I’m going to come in and moderate some kind of groundbreaking …. Let’s talk about how we feel.

S. Seomin: Adam, I’m not going to try and imitate it, but a ringtone I want is – and I want you to imitate it – is Cyril when he says the word hello.

A. Reed: “Helloooo.”

A. Tyler: That was nice.

A. Reed: Here’s another running gag.

Adam, are there any characters in Archer that were inspired by some of your real life friends?

A. Reed: No. No, no, no. Well, Malory of course is exactly my mother, but other than that, no. I was just kidding, though my mom’s actually really awesome, and not an alcoholic.

A. Tyler: She always takes a beating on these calls.

A. Reed: She really does. Luckily, she doesn’t follow my career whatsoever, so she has no idea –

A. Tyler: Even where you’re living right now.

A. Reed: Yes.

When I spoke with you at Comic-Con, you said you were still trying to lure some guest actors to voice the villains. Have you had any luck with that?

A. Reed: No. We did. I’m drawing an embarrassingly huge blank on the fantastic guest stars that we had this season. We do have some, but I can’t remember who they are right now. I don’t know why.

A. Tyler: I would Google them, but it’s so early in the morning, I forgot how to use the computer.

A. Reed: Scott, who do we have?

S. Seomin: We have Jeffrey. Jeffrey is back, Jeffrey Tambor is back. Adam, do you want to explain who he’s voicing again?

A. Reed: He voices Len Trexler, who is the head of ODIN. Malory has her ongoing financial troubles; thinks about selling ISIS to ODIN, which doesn’t fit well with all of the other ISIS employees.

A. Tyler: Oh, that’s such a great episode.

A. Reed: Who else do we have?

S. Seomin: We have Rachael Harris.

A. Reed: Rachael Harris.

A. Tyler: Oh, yes, that’s a great one.

A. Reed: Rachael plays a movie star who comes to ISIS to shadow Lana to research a role, much to the chagrin of the ISIS employees. There’s a lot of chagrin this season.

A. Tyler: A lot of group chagrin. Somehow, in Season 1, we were chagrinless, but we’re taking –

A. Reed: We really stepped up the chagrin.

A. Tyler: Rife with chagrin in Season 2.

S. Seomin: She’s researching a role to play a spy in a movie. It seems that everybody is kind of wowed that she’s there because she’s a movie star. She’s shadowing Ms. Kane, but Lana’s the one who could really give a ….

A. Tyler: Yes, Lana’s the one who’s really about the work, right. Lana’s like, “Hey, there’s a planet to save.”

A. Reed: Just like on the real show, right.

A. Tyler: It does seem to be true … feel that way inside my head. But, then she’s flattered. She’s baited. She’s baited and lured into letting this girl shadow her. That’s another hilarious episode. I never know how much I can say about what happens in any of the shows. But, it ends up being mainly what you would think, which is having this young, idiotic Hollywood numbskull bobbing around ISIS, just throwing wrenches into everybody’s ill-formed drunken plans. Then, something else happens, too. There’s a big twist in that episode. That’s a great episode.

Awesome, awesome. Well, thank you guys so much for your time. I’m a huge, huge fan. I’m super excited for Season 2.

A. Tyler: Did I say that Season 2 is awesome? It’s really funny. I need to get out a thesaurus and look up awesome and come up with –

A. Reed: I would say it’s easily 85% as good as Season 1.

A. Tyler: I’m going to go you one better and say it is 89% as good as Season 1. I actually think in some ways –

A. Reed: I thought that. I didn’t want to sound braggy.

A. Tyler: Okay, I’ll brag for you. Adam Reed is on fire. Because now it’s Season 2, so we’re able to range a little bit further afield. I feel like there are more missions this season. Is that right, Adam? Does that feel like that to you? We have more missions. We spent a little bit more time out in the world. There’s more –

A. Reed: I feel like that.

A. Tyler: There are incredibly funny historical references. We get to learn more about the characters and their lives. Woodhouse – we learn more about Woodhouse. How awesome is fricking Woodhouse? You never would say that Adam Reed isn’t bold, but we’ve been emboldened by the heady atmosphere of Season 2. Oh, we can take some risks here, not like we held back in Season 1. But, it’s just a little bit more wide ranging and you get to see the characters interact a little bit more.

A. Reed: That one whole episode is Woodhouse’s experience in World War I.

A. Tyler: That ….

A. Reed: He’s pretty old.

A. Tyler: I was sure it was World War II.

A. Reed: It’s basically the same war.

A. Tyler: Pretty much, right, same outfits. The same outfits, except I think in World War II they didn’t have the little – what are those things that go on your feet? – spats, they didn’t have spats. That’s the only way you can tell. I was going to say dickies, but I think those …. I need to study my antiquated male accessories. I think that’s something else I need to Google today.

A. Reed: Spats are coming back.

A. Tyler: Yes, I think that Lindsay Lohan is designing a new line of spats. It’s going to be her next comeback of her effort.

ARCHER Season 2 Premiere airs January 27th at 10pm!


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