Guff Exclusive: Aisha Tyler on Archer, Video Games and Dating

Archer is back, and now armed with a child. Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) and Lana (Aisha Tyler) conceived a child, and now that the baby is here, Lana's left dealing with it. Guff landed a one-on-one interview with Tyler after the Archer panel for the Television Critics Association last weekend. The spy agency formerly called ISIS has now been taken over by the CIA, as a way for the creators to subtly remove the initials now associated with real life terrorists. The gang is still up to all their usual shenanigans though, and Tyler told us all about the new season, as well has her gaming and entrepreneurial endeavors. Archer airs Thursdays at 10PM on FX.

Guff: What is Lana like as a mom?

Aisha Tyler: Oh, look, she's the most competent person on the entire Archer team. She's the only person there who is a real effective spy. Archer said himself in the first episode this season, everything just kind of works out for him without him trying. Lana's the one that reads the briefing manual and knows what's going on so she's an excellent parent. Very defensive, a bit of a ferocious mama bear but a really good mom.

Guff: People like Archer who think things just work out don't realize there's one person making it all work out. 

AT: Right, exactly. Exactly, and it's usually Lana back at the agency. We're not ISIS anymore. Now we're part of the CIA.

Guff: Do you have people like that in your business, who make you carry the weight and they just don't get it?

AT: [Laughs] I think I've cut those people out of my life, but I am probably much like Lana. I'm very Type A, very organized, a big planner. It's not that I don't like spontaneity. I do, but I like to be the kind of person who plans spontaneity so that if something unexpected comes, I'm prepared for it. I always say even with writing, you write the script so that you can throw it out. You don't just go in without knowing what's going on. So I'm very much like Lana in that way. I'm sure there are people I'm carrying. I don't even know it.

Guff: Were you glad they changed the name of the organization? Were you worried when the real ISIS stuff was happening?

AT: I wasn't really worried about it so much as there was this low level hum in the poposphere. It kept coming up in social media and I think people kept asking Adam [Reed] and Matt [Thomspon] to address it and they were like, "We make a cartoon. Why would we address a real world terrorist situation?" So I don't think it was a relief so much as it just was a distraction for all of us and I think it was taking away from the focus on the show and the content of the show. The show has no relation to real events on the ground anywhere in the world and I think we just wanted to eliminate that sticking point for people. I just remember Adam being like, "People keep asking me to say something about this. It's ridiculous." By the way, if you Wikipedia the word ISIS, there are like 113 entries. Disambiguation list is so long, so the fact that people were like, "Oh, these two things are connected" was just frustrating for us because it was silly.

Aisha Tyler voices Lana, FX

Guff: There's an episode coming up where you're all stuck in an elevator. Are you still all alone in the studio recording that?

AT: Right, right, exactly. We're always alone. Matt said they really wanted to show an episode that was just about the cast and the relationship between the cast members, and I think that's great for us. It's fun to have missions and it's fun to have guest stars but I think why people love Archer is because of these characters and the way that they relate and they form this very dysfunctional, malformed, alcoholic, incestuous family. That's what people love about the show. I think that's what's great about that episode is you just get to see these people be together. 

Guff: With Lana being the rock that holds everything together, are you ever jealous of Pam's crazy dialogue?

AT: Completely. She's my favorite character on the show. She gets to say all the most awesome things and do all the most awesome things for sure. I love Lana obviously but Pam is probably my favorite character on the show.

Guff: Is there a great Lana episode coming up this season?

AT: There are a couple. The one that just aired with the return of Conway Stern was especially good for her. Then we get to meet Lana's parents this year. She's a mother and you get to see how Lana was formed, who she was as a child. She's always kind of the mother of the group in some way and now we get to see her revert back to being the baby again. Keith David and CCH Pounder play my parents. They're both college professors and I actually don't think approve of Lana's career choice, so it's a really fun episode.

Guff: Did you get to meet Keith and CCH?

AT: I know CCH really well. I never met Keith but we never interact with the other cast members on the show so I haven't met them in the context of Archer. Keith is also going to be on this season of Community and they record on the same lot that I do Whose Line Is It Anyway? and The Talk so I've been stalking the Community cast and trying to meet him there. 

Aisha chillin' on a rooftop,

Guff: You're a comic book fan. What are you reading right now? 

AT: Well, first of all, I'm working so much that I'm neither gaming nor reading any comic books in any kind of focused way. I'm still stuck in the middle of The Last of Us on my Playstation which is an amazing game and I'm dying to finish. The last comic book I read was Saga. That's probably the book I'm reading the most regularly.

Guff: If Last of Us is the game you're stuck on, what games are you missing?

AT: I stay away from Skyrim. Those really intense, highly developed RPGs I don't play because I just don't have the time. And all my friends are like, "Oh my God, Skyrim's so amazing and it will eat your life." That's why I stayed away from it completely. I haven't played Destiny yet. I'm actually excited about that. And then I just heard that Telltale did not a new Walking Dead game but [Game of Thrones] so I will probably play their new game when I have some time. 

Guff: You like comic books, games and you make beer?

AT: Yes, the three. I actually did a collaborative brew with Stone Brewing last year that debuted at Comic-Con called W00tstout 2.0 and then I'm hopefully going to do another collaborative brew with them this summer and I'm also starting a spirits company that's going to launch in midsummer of 2015 so I'm keeping very busy. 

Guff: Does drinking beer make it harder to play games?

AT: Absolutely. I don't do a lot of focus drinking when I'm playing because it does affect your gameplay. Games now are so complex. They're not just running and shooting. A lot of times there's problem solving and puzzle solving, and you've got to remember things that happened hours before in the game that help you solve an issue that's facing you now. So I tend to not drink a lot when I'm playing video games.

Guff: I'm the same about complex games. I might have dreamed of Skyrim as a kid, but the more complex they got, they lost me. I think the last game I finished was Goldeneye. 

AT: Right, oh yeah, that was a while ago although such a popular game. That is Zach Levi, one of his favorite games. I think he still plays it now. He loves that game. The thing is now, a game has really got to grab you because it is such a commitment. It's not an hour. It's eight hours of gameplay. In the case of Fallout, I think I played over 100 hours. It's really got to be something that captivates you so a lot of times when I play a game and I feel ambivalent about it, I just stop.

Guff: There's so much to watch now, if I have time, I'm going to watch something rather than get involved with a game.

AT: Especially because there is so much to watch. I mean, I love them. I think they're immersive. They can be as filmic and enjoyable as a TV show or a good movie, but I can't add one more television show. Everyone's like, "Oh, you gotta watch this." I'm like, I cannot add one more TV show. I'm overcommitted. I have no more bandwidth for television.

Guff: You used to host the dating show The Fifth Wheel. From then to now, what do you think of Tinder and the way people date now?

AT: [Laughs] Isn't it interesting? It's funny. I'm married obviously so I am not on any of the dating apps but I have a friend who's on Tinder and I find Tinder so entertaining. I'm always like, "Let's play Tinder." And we just sit there and swipe photos. It's the most fun. We did it on a train once from D.C. to New York and so every time we travel five or six miles, we'd get a whole new group of Tinder photos. So I find that really entertaining but I don't know. I am not a luddite. I love technology and I think it's generally made our lives better. Obviously, there are some pitfalls and Tinder's just one more place for a-holes to harass people but that's the internet generally. That's all technology. And I think anything that can make your life better and streamline it so you don't have to wade your way through a lot of jackasses to get to your moderately enjoyable prince, I think is a good thing.

Guff: I'm still single and one thing I noticed is women of this generation are starting to say, "I'm not going to date at all. I'm done with dating. I'm not going on any dates." But they complain about being single all the time so I don't know how to help them.

AT: [Laughs] I don't know that there is any way to help them. It's funny, right? I think the old way of going to bars and hooking up and meeting people, that's kind of dead. But also, I think a lot of people see Tinder, male and females, like a hookup tool. So I think if people don't want to hook up, they just stop dating and then they're hoping they're going to meet a friend of a friend who's going to change their lives which I don't know how likely that is.

Guff: I think it's a reaction to having bad dates, so they say I'm not participating in that whole process at all. But then if I'm interested in you and you won't go on a date, what am I supposed to do?

AT: I know, it's a mystery. It's a mystery.

Guff: So you're doing more Whose Line?

AT: Yeah, we're in the middle of shooting Whose Line right now. We just started shooting season three on Friday.

Aisha Tyler on Whose Line Is It Anyway? CW

Guff: Do they add any new games to that?

AT: Yeah, they're always cycling in new games. Every season, we cycle in a bunch of new games. They cycle some games out that they think didn't work. We cycle in some new ones. We've done adjustments to some games as well. So yeah, there'll be new games and we've got new fourth seaters and great new guests. 

Guff: Did the games that didn't work ever make it onto the air?

AT: A game that I love that I don't think we're doing this season is Sideways Scene. I just remember Ryan and I, while they were doing it, we would just be mouthing together, "Oh my God, this is so funny. Are you seeing how funny this is?" I don't know, for some reason, they felt like it didn't play on the show.

Guff: I get it. I bet that was fun to do, but I don't think it quite read on television. 

AT: That's my understanding that they felt that way, but I loved it.
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