Aisha Tyler Talks Archer Season 6, the Possibility of Taking Over The Daily Show, & Friends

ARCHER --Key Art

Everyone’s favorite alcoholic/sex addict/super spy Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is currently back for another season of the outrageous hit FX series, Archer. Things have changed a lot for the members of the ISIS team this season. For one thing they aren’t called ISIS anymore (for obvious reasons) and because the one-time government agency turned drug cartel, has now been absorbed by the CIA. Also, no more Archer Vice plot as last season’s title change, which reflected the change in the show’s direction, has also been axed. This means Pam (Amber Nash) is fat again, Cheryl (Judy Greer) is no longer a country star, and there are no more drug deals.

But perhaps the biggest change of all; Lana has a baby! Baby Abbiejean is now the newest member of the gang and was a bit of her shock to her father — the unknowing Archer. We recently spoke to the voice of Lana, Aisha Tyler, who is one of the hardest women working in Hollywood today. Besides her role as Lana on Archer, Tyler is also one of the co-hostess of The Talk and the host of the newly revived Whose Line Is It Anyway? 

We spoke with Tyler, in a roundtable set up by FX about Lana becoming a mother, changing the shows dynamic, if she would consider taking over The Daily Show, and the 20th anniversary of Friends.

Photo Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX Network
Photo Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX Network

Watching H. Jon Benjamin and yourself interacting with each other at last year’s New York Comic-Con was basically a live version of Archer. Did your relationship with him and the rest of the cast take a long time to develop or was it something that happened very early on?

You know, I want you to ask the first part of that question again because somebody was driving in front of me and I wanted to murder them with my bare hands.

Well, that’s a classic Lana right there.

That really is. That’s such a good question. First of all, for those of you who don’t know, we never record together as a cast. We never see each other when we’re working on the show. Three of us, Chris Parnell and Judy Greer and I are in LA, and Lucky and Amber in Atlanta, and Jon and Jessica are in New York.

We never interacted with each other. We never saw each other and Jon and I met right off the bat, I think maybe after we recorded Season 1 at TCA, Television Critics Association’s winter event, but we really didn’t know each other. It wasn’t that the relationship was frosty; it wasn’t. We didn’t really have a chance to get to know each other until we started making more personal appearances as a cast.

ARCHER -- Pictured: Lana Kane (voice of Aisha Tyler). CR: FX

I think that the first time that we really got to hang out together as a cast might have been when we did a performance at Eugene Mirman’s Comedy Festival in Brooklyn, and this was maybe in Season 2 or 3, but what’s been lovely is – and we got to hang out at Comic-Con Season 2, which was also great, that might have been the first time we all got to spend time together – what’s been really lovely is that because we don’t spend that much time together as a cast, when we do get together it’s just a kind of kitten pile in a basket of affection for each other.

We don’t get a lot of time together. It’s always very precious, everybody gets very drunk. There’s a lot of hugging. It’s really, really a fun group of people that are incredibly smart and talented and Jon and I have developed a king of strange Lana and Archer ghost banter that has evolved over the season. I love his company and I think he’s one of the funniest people that I know and we also just somehow have found a way to improv up these really weird scenarios.

One year at New York Comic-Con week just got in this really prolonged argument. I know what it was about and it was just like a totally fake argument and I think we really alarmed the woman who was interviewing us. I think they’re pretty incredible. Every once in a while we do Archer Live! where we’re all performing together on stage and that’s just a bourbon soaked like love fest and always immediately goes off the rails.

It did take us a while. It wasn’t work. It was just that we didn’t have a lot of face time as a cast and now we’re always begging to spend time together and they’re all pretty superlative people and as funny as their characters on the show only without all of the alcoholism and the nudity.

How do you manage both your time and your energy and do you think Lana is the same way or would she go, geez, calm down?

I’ll answer the second part first. I actually strangely think Lana is very much like me. She’s just dedicated to excellence. She really wants to do a good job. Whenever they go on a mission, she’s always read the mission dossier, she’s always packed the proper equipment, and she’s always got her go bag. I think she just wants to be excellent in everything she does and so in that way I think we’re probably very much alike. I don’t get to carry around double holster automatic weapons in my daily life, but in that way I think we’re pretty similar.

How do I manage my time?  Well, let me just say first of all that I realized probably in the last 18 months that I’m probably a clinical workaholic. That’s not entirely an enviable way to live your life. I’m really only happy when I’m punishingly busy and it’s less about me being kind of work slutty and saying yes to everything and just needing to be constantly kind of mentally occupied.

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I love being engaged and I feel like the harder I push myself the better work I do. So, the way I manage my time is that I’m an obsessive list maker and I get a lot of satisfaction in crossing things off of my list. I don’t sleep very much and I work seven days a week. But I had a guest on my Podcast once say how do you get everything done and I said, well, I get up in the morning and I start doing stuff until I’m exhausted and drop to bed and then in the morning I get up and start doing stuff again.

I really don’t have some kind of elegant system or algorithmic workflow. I just am constantly executing and sometimes well, sometimes not so well, but I do believe in the power of industry. I come from a working class family and a dad who worked very hard and I just believe in the power of hard work. So, there’s where that comes from I think.

Just wondering since in the scope of Archer you’ve got a bunch of eccentrics and incompetents and Lana is basically, as you said earlier, the focused one. Do you ever want the writers, though, to just give you something that’s insane to match everybody else?

I think the insanity is nigh on Archer for “Lana.”  That’s about all I can tell you, but she’s about to enter a world of reckless pain for in a few episodes, so I think that will be very fun. And I did kind of beg for this storyline, so I’m really excited to see it coming to fruition.

I think that Lana is really, she’s like a lot of professional people and especially, probably, a lot of professional women, but men as well. Actually I have a lot of guy friends that are like this, too, who are incredibly effective in their professional lives and just ape-sh** bananas in their personal lives.

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She doesn’t have a really well, I would say, personal life. She doesn’t make great decisions about the guys she’s dated and I don’t think she’s a bad decision-maker. I think it’s just more that she’s drawn to danger and to recklessness in her personal life because she has to be so buttoned up professionally in her work life, otherwise she might get shot to death.

Yes, she is kind of the straight man in a lot of ways, but she has to be somewhat nuts to have dated Archer and then also to have absconded with his sperm and made a baby with his genetic material. So, she’s not entirely sewn tightly.

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Al Mannarino is the associate editor and photographer for Pop Break. He is also host of the News Over Brews Podcast, Loot Care Unboxed, Backstage Break, and the producer of Behind the Brews. He graduated Rowan University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film & History. When he isn’t writing he is either trying to build his own TARDIS or taking a nap. Follow him on Twitter: @almannarino. His photo website is: http://alfredmannarino.com

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