Written by Lucas P. Jones
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.
But there is one thing that hasn’t changed since last season, and that is the fantastic, inept, but always funny cast of characters that surround our hero Sterling Archer. Two of those characters are Pam Poovey and Dr. Algernop Krieger, voiced by Amber Nash and Lucky Yates respectively. We spoke with both of them in a roundtable set up by FX. We talked about the new season, past seasons, hidden references in the show, and how Pam and Krieger influence events on the show.
Tell me a little bit about how each of you got involved with the project in the first place.
Amber Nash: Okay, I’ll start. So I was, I think Lucky and I actually have pretty similar stories, so we were both doing stuff at Dad’s Garage, which you know in Atlanta. We were doing improv shows there, and one of our improvisers, Christian Danley, was also an animator with these guys over at, it was 70/30 at the time, and they were making Sealab and then later they were making Frisky Dingo. I actually auditioned for Frisky Dingo, because they had seen me at the theater; Matt [Thompson] and Adam [Reed] had been to Dad’s before and kind of knew who I was. And they had an audition for a teenage girl on Frisky Dingo before the show changed and ended up being what it actually was, and I was completely wrong for it, and so I didn’t get the role. I was really sad about it.
Then the show changed and they had me come and read for Val, so I ended up working on Frisky Dingo with those gals and those guys. Then when Archer came along they were like hey, what have this other thing, this is what the character looks like; do you want to do it. I was like yes, and that’s pretty much how it all started.
Lucky Yates: Yes. Then I tag long three weeks later, because suddenly Krieger was going to talk. Then they asked Amber “hey, here’s another guy, who do you think would be good for him?” and she said Lucky Yates. And they said yes, of course, because I also worked on Frisky Dingo, too. I played an Xtacle. The story is exactly the same.
Is there anything that you both do to inspire yourself before you voice these crazy characters?
Amber Nash: Let’s see. Well usually when we first started when we would get our dates for recording I feel like when we first, like maybe season one and two, it was usually in the afternoon, which is much better for me. I’m not usually like funny or exciting in the morning. Then more recently in the last few seasons we started recording really early, like 10:00 AM. 10:00 is not really early for most people, but it is for me. So usually it’s coffee and some vocal warm-ups in my car on the way to the studio; that’s about it.
But now I think we’ve been doing the show for so long and we know the character so well that you just— I usually say like, “Holy shitsnacks!” a few times to kind of get into the character before I get there. The guys are so fun to work with; like when we show to record it’s like being at the barbershop with all your pals. So we usually shoot the shit for a little bit and then just jump into the booth.
Lucky Yates: Yes, and then knock it out. Yes. Then you know Krieger, he’s in and out with these sort of golden nuggets, so you know on the way over there I just kind of get my voice slightly in this lower register, which is all I really do, just my normal voice. Yes. Then just get there and dick around for a couple of minutes, and then pop in there, do my lines, and then run away.
Would you guys be open to doing kind of another one-off season like Archer: Vice, because I thought that was a pretty cool concept.
Amber Nash: I would totally be into it. I think it just kind of depends on like I think everybody was really excited for season six to go back to what we’re used to, because season five was such a crazy departure. But I loved season five; I absolutely loved Archer: Vice, and I think it would be supercool to do it again like maybe in season eight or something like that. I think that if we did it in season seven it would be too soon. But I love that idea, because I, of course, want Archer to go on for 20 more years. So we have plenty of time to have those one offs, because it kind of resets everything that everybody recharged again.
Lucky Yates: Yes, I am similar but different with Amber in that I wish that we would do that every single season. I wish every season this group of idiots had to go and figure out a whole new life for themselves together because we just got shit canned or screwed their way out of the last occupation that they had. Because again, I think that’s the core of the show is just these morons having to work together for a singular cause and how much we fuck that up along the way. If we were suddenly like if we had to run Poovey Farms all next season I think it would be amazing.
When you’re not busy working and having fun and all that for each of you do you watch TV, and if so what do you like to watch?
Amber Nash: Oh my God, I watch so much TV. I really, really love television, and I kind of grew up on TV. I don’t actually watch a lot of comedy; I think it’s because I’m in comedy that it doesn’t feel like a break for me to watch comedy. But I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and I just totally binged House of Cards. I love Castle; I think it’s such a fun, quirky show that I don’t think people give enough credit to. I also am a huge fan, this is the comedy, but again I said I usually don’t watch that much comedy, but the newest comedy that I absolutely have fallen in love with that is so amazing is [FX’s] Man Seeking Woman. It’s so weird and awesome, and I hope that it goes on forever and ever and people start watching it.
Lucky Yates: I am a terrible television watcher. I don’t watch any episodic television at all, save for The Venture Brothers when it’s on. But in between season time for that is epic, so I have no idea even when the next season is going to come out. Other than that, I’m pretty much clued to Turner Classic Movies all the time, so like old films are my jam. Or history, too, I watch a lot of history channels and science stuff. So I don’t really watch show shows, which is terrible.
Are there any story arcs that you’d like Krieger and Pam just for next season?
Amber Nash: I know that I would like for Pam to have a boyfriend for like two or three seasons, just like an outsider. I think it would be really, really fun.
I also really want to see more of Poovey Farms, because we didn’t actually get to see much of it or any Poovey Farms when we went for Edie’s wedding. So anything that would be back there I think would be super cool.
Lucky Yates: Boy, the only thing I ever wanted is for Krieger to, for some reason, build a giant robot. That’s all I want at this point. Or to time travel with Pam, but that’s a whole different show.
Did Krieger really survived season five? Are we really dealing with Krieger or with one of his clones?
Amber Nash: I am one of two people that know the answer to that question, and I am not at liberty to say. That’s another thing that it might just be going away. It’s like the alien thing. It’s one of those things that I feel like we’re just never going to talk about that ever again as time goes on and it will just be you’re just going to deal with whatever Krieger you’ve got. I mean it’s definitely not wrapped up, as far as I can tell, by the end of this season so who knows. Who knows?
If you were kind of to give us a little cryptic tease in eight words or less about the rest of the season what might you say?
Amber Nash: Oh boy. Oh God, I don’t even know. Lucky, you’re usually better at this than I am.
Lucky Yates: Yes. All right. This is giving it away but not giving it away, but the gang goes on a fantastic voyage.
You can watch the continuing adventures of Pam and Dr. Krieger on Archer every Thursday on FX.