H. Jon Benjamin Talks FX’s Archer Season Finale

H. Jon Benjamin Talks FX’s Archer Season Finale

I did a call with Aisha a couple weeks ago and she talked about the craziness of some of the lines you have to say.  Can you talk about just how you get some of them out without just having to do take after take because they’re just too hilarious?

H. Jon Benjamin: I don’t find them funny at all, so I guess we have a different perspective.  So it’s very easy to just — no, I wish I had a more interesting answer.  She said it was crazy and hilarious?

Yes, some of her lines, she said something about her—

HJB: I just plow through it.   There’s an occasional laugh and then they send me home.

You’ve done a number of roles on a number of cult hits and this is your first real lead.  How does the responsibility weigh on you?

HJB: I take a lot of medication.  It’s fine.  I guess I haven’t really been the lead in a show before, but this show is kind of an ensemble, so I don’t really feel that responsibility to take the helm.   Although, you know, I’m a leader by nature, so I do really well in that role.  I flourish.  I read The Art of War.

I just want to say that Archer is absolutely one of my favorite shows, new shows of the year.

HJB: It is one of my favorite new shows.

What a coincidence.

HJB: I didn’t watch it until a couple a weeks ago and now I really think it’s great.

That way you can fast forward through all the commercials and stuff and you can see it all back to back instead of having to wait for the cliffhangers from week to week, right?

HJB: I get it shipped to my home theatre on 35 millimeter.

If Sterling Archer could go out for a night on the town with any three people past or present, who do you think they would be?

HJB: Go out on the town?  What town?  I’m trying to make it convenient for the people involved.  That’s really a ridiculous question.  It would be Sterling.  I don’t mean to nick pick.  It would be me or would it be Sterling Archer because Sterling Archer would be different, I guess.  If I, Jon Benjamin, could go out on the town with anyone – I’m Jewish, so I’m trying to think of somebody Jewish.  Franklin Roosevelt, was he Jewish?  No.  I don’t know.  I love to party, so it would have to be pretty severe partiers.  If they stayed in character the whole time, yes.  I like to keep it quiet, so it’d be pretty boring.  I don’t know how else to answer that.  John Belushi, Jerry Lewis and Gandhi, how about that?

Fair enough.  When I spoke with Aisha Tyler, she told me she would like to see the series made into a feature film.  How do you feel about bringing Archer to the big screen?

HJB: If it’s a very small budget, yes, let’s do it.  Like an animated feature or like a live action feature?  Yes, of course, I guess.  Are you in on it?  Do you like that idea?

I definitely think the show has some potential.

HJB: I think we have a little more work to do before a feature, but I think that’s maybe next year.

You do some writing for Important Things with Demetri Martin

HJB: I did for the first season.  I didn’t on the second one.

You haven’t written any of the episodes in the second one yet?

HJB: I didn’t write on the second season.  They had moved the show to LA and I didn’t go to LA.

I was wondering if there’s any chance that you might do some writing for Archer?

HJB: I just don’t think so.  I think they have it covered very well.  Adam Reed and Matt (Thompson) write most of the stuff and they seem to be pretty proficient at it, so I’ll leave it to them, I guess, unless they invite me, but I doubt it.  They write scripts very fast from what I’ve experienced, so I don’t think they need me.  I would ruin it.

Of all the characters you played outside of Archer, which one would be your favorite and why?

HJB: Out of the characters I’ve played outside of Archer?  Oh, man.  I had fun playing this character, Jason, who’s on the show Home Movies, but that’s just because I got to hold my finger to my nose to do his voice.  It’s really unprofessional.  That was fun, but because I couldn’t really take my finger off and there was long recording sessions.  So when you’re in character, it’s just funny to have to do that.  A lot of the other shows I did with other people and Archer is done very differently.  Like I work by myself in a whatever you call it, recording booth, so there’s not a lot of other people there.  I work with other people and that’s sometimes more fun, I guess, not that this isn’t.  But I guess, it’s just a different way of doing it, but Jason was fun to do.   It’s fun to play a sick kid.

Moderator We have a follow-up question from Martin Sternberg with Small Screen Scoop.  Please go ahead.

If you could have anyone that you worked with previously on Archer, who would it be and what kind of character would you see them doing?

HJB: David Cross is always fun to work with.  He would be good, I guess.  The Olsen twins I have worked with very briefly once.  That would be fun for them to come on Archer playing one person and you’d have them doing both voices they’d have to do.  They’d have to switch off because of the hours.  They still can’t work a full day.  Even though they’ve over 18, they’ve kept the same rule for the Olsen twins and then three or four hours of school or something like that.

Why did you decide to take on the role of Sterling Archer?

HJB: Because I was asked.  It was pretty straight forward.  Look, I’m not too picky.  No, I didn’t know Adam Reed really that well.  I’ve worked, obviously, on some cartoons, which he knew me for.  He called me out of the blue and asked me to do it and I said yes.  It’s a terrible story.

Did you have a chance to read the script or find out about the character before you…

HJB: No, as a matter of fact, I think I was visiting my parents in Arizona and he called me, I can’t remember how close it was to recording it.  But I know I was in Arizona, went to some studio there and knew nothing about the show prior.  So I think I just went in to this—it was in the back of this guy’s house or something.  He had a makeshift studio.  So it felt dirty, but I don’t think I read the script prior, didn’t get it.  I just happen to be visiting my parents and it all happened, so I just went in and read and it worked out well for them, not for my parents.

I’m wondering if you could give us a tease for the season one finale.  Does it feel like a finale?  What’s Sterling Archer going to be up to?

HJB: Holy crap, I don’t remember.  I don’t think it feels completely like a finale I don’t think.  I know I did a lot of yelling, so there’ll be a lot of me yelling.  I know that. I don’t know what’s going on with the other characters, but I know I was yelling a lot.  I can’t tell you if I knew, but I’ve totally forgotten.  They didn’t tell me to not reveal the finale.  I just have no recollection.

Now that you finished season one, what are you doing until season two?

HJB: I am going to join the food coop and play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which I neglected for six months.  I’m working on a pilot for Comedy Central.

What’s it called?

HJB: It doesn’t have a title yet.  We just shot it and it doesn’t have a title yet.  We’re shooting it now, I should say.

What’s it about?

HJB: It’s sort of like a sketch show with me owning a van, I know that.  It involves me buying a van and making it into like a sort of a news van.  And then I’ll go sort of investigate stories.  It’s a cool van.  I doubt that it will get picked up.  We’ll see.  I have a bad attitude.

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