Archer Interview – Amber Nash & Lucky Yates
We (along with a number of our press colleagues) spoke with Archer series stars Amber Nash (“Pam Poovey”) and Lucky Yates (“Dr. Krieger”) recently. Below, an edited version of that conversation.
Tell me a little bit about how each of you got involved with the project in the first place.
Lucky Go ahead, Amber.
Amber 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 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.
How has it impacted you guys that the show has gotten more popular over time?
Lucky I’ve done less and less with my life. That’s how.
Amber Now you have to work less. It’s pretty cool, like we still get to, you know because we are still in Atlanta, which is where the show is made, it’s such an awesome thing that we still get to live in our home state and do this amazing show and work at the theater that we love every weekend. You know people will come up to see shows that wouldn’t have known about Dad’s if they weren’t already Archer fans, which is super cool, because that’s brought a lot of people to the theater that didn’t know about us, too. Lots of times it’s pretty much just like usual, but every once in a while we get people that want to take a picture with us more get an autograph after a show, and it’s just cool. So much fun.
Lucky Yes. This was really all I ever set out to do with this little career of mine. All I ever wanted out of this was to voice a cool cartoon character and have cool merch and be able to go to Comic-Con, and all that’s happened so I’m just riding it out until I die now.
Is there anything that you both do to inspire yourselves before you voice these crazy characters?
Amber 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. 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 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.
In the “Nellis” episode the aliens told “Pam” and “Krieger” the alleged secret to the universe. What do you guys think that might have been?
Amber I don’t know. Lucky, what do you think?
Lucky I don’t think anything. There’s only hope; I only hoped what it was. I don’t know. Who knows what Adam’s got kicking around in his head? What I’m hoping is that they’ve told “Krieger” the way to unlock space-time so that “Pam” and “Krieger” can have a spinoff of time travel adventures.
Amber That’s quite a tall order there, Lucky.
Lucky Kind of like Doctor Who, but a really terrible duo.
Amber That’s funny. You know one of the things that Adam is known for is dropping a huge bomb and then just never mentioning it ever again.
Lucky Yes, and just run away. Sort of like the baby “Seamus.”
Amber Right. Right.
These guys are apparently on a bowling team and “Pam” refers to “Archer” as like her second best friend, so we’re implying that these people spend a lot of time together. Do you guys think they’re actually closer than they let on or do they just all hang out because they don’t have anyone else to hang out with?
Amber I think it might be a little bit of both. I think that they all probably hang out because nobody else will be friends with them and I do think they like each other. And I honestly think that’s why the comedy works so well, because without the charm and the right chemistry I think as mean as these characters are to each other, it wouldn’t work. But you can kind of tell there’s this like underlying love, this weird, unfortunate family drama love that they all have for each other that I really think makes it work.
Lucky Yes. Yes, I agree with that.
After all the seasons how much of your own personality do you guys bring into those characters when you guys voice them? Also, do you guys have any favorite scenes or episodes from the season?
Lucky Oh man. That’s a good one. Go ahead, Amber.
Amber Okay. I think that as far as the personality, my own personality that I bring to the character, actually this is really crazy. Just this week I went back and read the pilot script for Archer, and when “Pam” first gets introduced I was like, oh my God, I have to see what this is, because I don’t remember. It says “Pam,” overweight and mousy, and like now you think of “Pam” and you would never think mousy right.
So she definitely changed over the seasons, and I think it was because Adam started to kind of realize the potential in this character and he knows me well enough, and so I think he started to write the character a little bit closer to stuff that I was capable of doing. And I think that I’m capable of doing it because I work in an improv theater with a bunch of dudes, and I have a trucker’s mouth and like I’m a real jackass. “Pam’s” become so much cooler than I am as a human being, so now I’m just like aspiring to be as cool as “Pam” is one day.
Lucky Plus Amber could beat all of us up at the theater. That’s true.
Amber Yes. Totally. I have enough rage inside of me.
Lucky Yes. Yes. If we had set up a boxing rank for bareknuckle boxing she would be the champion. It’s true. That’s without a doubt. Like with “Krieger,” I’m a huge science nerd to begin with and I love really weird sort of I don’t want to say macabre, it’s too dark, but I love the weirder side of life, and so I would not want to play any other character other than “Krieger.”
As far as how much of me is in him or whatever, I mean I know like the yep, yep, yep was something I do. I was unaware of it until it was written into a script. And the same thing with “Pam” and Amber is she used to call everybody ding-dongs for a long time, and then suddenly “Pam” started doing it.
So because we’re friends with Adam, too, I think when he’s writing he just sort of bleeds them together, because things that we do he thinks might become funny for the character and vice versa. Yes, I don’t know. But yes, I feel like I’m more closely associated with “Krieger” on the show than anybody else, so that’s good.
Amber For your follow-up about favorite stuff from this season, the elevator episode ended up being like one of the best episodes.
Amber To have everybody stuck together so that who they are can really bubble to the surface in the most raw and weird way it was just so fun to watch and so fun to do.
Lucky Yes that is also my— I think it’s not only the best episode of the season, but I think it might be one of the best episodes of the entire show. Just for the very same reason that it is absolutely the core of the show that’s going on right in that episode, like it’s about these people that have to work together, they really like each other, but they hate each other the same time. They’re a big, huge dysfunctional family. Plus “Milton,” who is absolutely hands-down my new favorite character without question, probably my favorite character for the past four seasons, just absolutely I love that toast spot so much and he has some golden nuggets in that episode.
For Amber, can you pitch me episode one of the “Pam Chronicles”?
Amber Oh my God. Ask Lucky his question while I think about this answer.
Lucky Yes, you must think about it a lot, right. I mean I know I’ve got already my Doctor Who thing all figured out.
Okay. While Amber’s thinking about that—
Lucky Amber, do you ever think about it?
Amber No, I’ve never thought about it.
Amber Now I feel like maybe the way that it would start is that “Pam” has some kind of an emotional breakdown and if she were to leave the Archer crew she would to go like whole up like in Wisconsin like on the farm far away from everybody, and then come out of her little cabin that she’d been living in. I would like to think she’d have a full beard, but she probably doesn’t.
Lucky And this is a live one.
Amber I have to get my life back together, and then she decides to start a private investigation company.
Lucky Yes. That’s the best answer of all to mix it up with the Doctor Who stuff.
Okay. Lucky, could Archer work as a live action puppet show?
Lucky Boy. Man that’s a tough one. Yes, but man you’d lose a lot of the wow factor and trade it in for a lot of cheese and corniness, because especially I mean every season the animation just gets better and better, and this past season, this current season that’s running, is just mind blowing, right, the avalanche and just car chases, the whole San Francisco car chase inspired by Bullitt. All of it is just so gorgeous that with puppetry in order to pull that kind of shit off it’s just going to have to be dopey right. You’re never going to make it look as badass, so you’re going to have to make it look as dumb as possible in order to make it delightful for the audience.
So I think ultimately no. I think it would change the tone of the show too much, which is not to say that a spy puppet show wouldn’t be great.
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 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 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 f*ck 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.
And you said that Adam likes to put things in the episodes and then never talk about them again, and one of those things is “Krieger’s” plan for world domination.
What do you think is the current state of his plan, because you mentioned sometimes that he’s had to go back to the drawing board.
Lucky Sure. Sure. Things like that actually do live on, but it’s more thanks to Amber and myself. Because Amber and I write “Pam” and “Krieger’s” Twitter feeds, respectively, and so we carry on little things that we really like from the show and even create other little things that our character. You know everything gets approved before it’s sent out, so like “Krieger’s” quest for world domination is still very much alive on Twitter.
Amber I think that you’re totally right about that, that while “Krieger” is trying to dominate the world one of my favorite things that has come through me writing “Pam’s” Twitter is that she has a job as a bouncer at a strip club called Crammers, and so she just talks about her job at Crammers every once in a while. It’s pretty funny.
Lucky Yes. You occasionally dance there as well, I believe.
Amber Say that again.
Lucky I think you occasionally dance there as well.
Amber Oh, yes. Yes.
Lucky Yes, “Pam’s” in a community theater group. Those people have great lives.
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?
Lucky Amber, you’re much more an avid regular television watcher than I am.
Amber 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 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.
Amber And eats soup and listens to the symphony.
Lucky Yes, I do. I listen to the symphony and sharpen knives and implements that I’ll never use.
Are there any story arcs that you’d like “Krieger” and “Pam” just for next season?
Amber 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 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.
I know “Pam” has some crazy tattoos on the show. Have fans ever come up to you and do they ever have Archer tattoos?
Amber Yes, actually. Nobody has the actual tattoo that Pam has on her back. When that happens is when I’m just going to die as soon as I see it, and who knows maybe it’s out there.
Lucky They draw them a lot for Cons, but nobody’s ever done it.
Amber Right. But there are several people that have, I haven’t seen them in person, but a lot of people have Tweeted pictures of a new tattoo that they just got in its “Pam.” A lot of people have the classic “Pam” with the black and blue outfit on; there are a couple people that have that tattoo. And a couple people that have there was some fan art that was done and the T-shirts became really popular, and there was one of “Cheryl” and one of “Pam” and she’s like it’s like very tattoo style art. She’s riding a dolphin and it says, “Sploosh,” so some people have gotten that as a tattoo. The first time I saw it I was like holy shit; I have a character that people are getting tattoos of on their bodies. Crazy.
Lucky As far as I know, no one has ever dared get a “Krieger” tattoo. I don’t know why.
Amber Maybe someday. You have to put it out in the Twitter universe. I bet you there’s someone out there.
Lucky I’m sure somebody must have one.
Lucky, as our esteemed former talk show host of Atlanta, as you were for many years, what would it be like to have some of the characters of Archer in a talk show format if you were the host? How would that play out?
Lucky Like as guests?
Yes guests. Yes.
Lucky Let’s see. “Cyril” would be amazing; he would be an amazing interview. “Ray” would be an amazing interview.
“Archer,” how about “Archer,” how would he play? How does “Sterling Archer” play?
Lucky You know, man, he would just probably be really— He would probably just try to pick fights right. He would just be one of those difficult guests where it’s just like here I just want to like come on, just play the game, thing will be great. But yes, I think, unless I really just kissed his ass, still you know I don’t know, I don’t think “Sterling Archer” would be very good. I think he’s too into himself where with a good interview it’s a lot of give-and-take right.
Right. So “Pam” would actually be pretty good, right? “Pam” would be a fun interview, I think.
Lucky “Pam” would be fun unless somebody else would be on the show and they would start acting up, and then she would be one of the first to sort of deviate off into like come on, this is getting out of control. She would be on the out-of-control side if things started going that way.
Amber That’s so true.
Lucky I think “Cyril” and “Ray” would keep their shit together, and so would “Lana,” “Lana” would keep her shit together in an interview. She’d be a great interview.
Amber, there is so much focus on “Archer” and “Pam’s” friendship lately, at least in the past two seasons. How do you feel about that relationship developing and where do you see that going?
Amber I think it’s really awesome. When I first heard that “Pam” was going to have sex with “Archer” I got really excited when that happened. Adam kind of gave me a heads up that the script was coming, because we hadn’t seen the script yet, and he’s like, “They’re going to have sex and it’s going to be mind blowing.” I was like, “That’s so cool.” And then them kind of buddying up in Archer: Vice is super fun and then I absolutely loved him saying that “Pam” was his best friend. It’s so ridiculous. I think it makes sense; I think the two of them are equally as crazy and flawed, but different enough that it’s like yes. I mean I would totally be friends with “Pam.” I think that “Archer’s” such a jackass and she doesn’t care, like it doesn’t bother her. So I really love it, it made me feel super warm and fuzzy when I found out that, you know because it’s “Archer,” the show is called Archer, and so for “Pam” to be his best friend is pretty sweet.
So I don’t know where it’s going. I hope that they do have sex again one day, because I think it’s hilarious and he has to have it again at some point. But hopefully they’ll get into some more shenanigans. I like it when they’re in like “Southbound and Down”, when they’re like the two agents that are on a mission. It’s really fun, so I hope to see more of those episodes.
Lucky, “Krieger,” is now online in a way with algersoft.net and their game that they can play on that. I know you had mentioned not being on anybody’s tattoo, but now you’re on the Internet. How do you feel about the kind of the external media that “Krieger’s” starting to build, especially like through the Twitter account that you manage and through the algersoft online?
Lucky Yes. You know algersoft was as big a surprise to me as it was to any of the other like the populace. I knew that they were working on the “Cheryl” game where she sets “Malory’s” office on fire. I knew that was happening, but I didn’t know it was wrapped in this. And I knew that that’s where all the little codes that they’ve been hiding in the episodes all year. I don’t know, are you aware of that? Now the episodes they’ve been hiding, I don’t know, it’s just numerical and alphabetical code plopped around it. It’s all computer language that I kind of— It’s like some deep, deep cut of an Easter egg, and it all led to this algersoft thing. So when they started sending me like hey, you’re that “Cheryl” game or whatever, and I would go to it and then see it under this whole algersoft banner where I’m like oh, “Krieger” is running a thing, this is awesome. So, yes, I think it’s fantastic.
We’re really good friends, too, with the guys that did Homestar Runner, because they’re a couple of Atlanta guys. It reminded me very much of the Homestar universe where there are these things, little branches of our core group on Archer are starting to have these little things pop up. I really hope it leads to other characters. I mean it makes sense for “Krieger” to have this little software weird thing, because he is the computer guy, but I would love to see that take hold and like with “Pam” and all that kind of shit.
I think it’s fantastic, man. It’s another thing that I think is going to keep the show going for years and years, because the more accessible you make it not just through a TV or iPad screen the better.
Is there anything that you could tell us about the next upcoming episodes that you’re allowed to say?
Lucky Oh, I don’t know what we’re ever allowed to say and what we’re not allowed to say.
Amber I know. I’m always so surprised when Matt and Adam are on panels with us, because they spill the beans, and I’m like, oh my God, you guys are telling them everything.
Lucky Yes. When we were at New York Comic-Con people that had been interviewing Adam were suddenly asking me about the aliens and stuff like that, I’m like, Jesus you know about that already. So I never know what we’re allowed to say and what we’re not.
Amber Well the last two episodes are going to be pretty awesome. We know that.
Lucky Yes. Carrie Brownstein is guest starring the last two episodes from Portlandia.
Lucky We had Fred [Armisen] last year in the season finale. I think it was even three episodes at least, the whole San Marcos arc. And now we have Carrie, which I’m such a huge fan of that show and of Sleater Kinney and all that. That’s such a great, great thing normally. And the episode is written so wonderfully for her, the character is so brilliant.
Oh, also you know so this is the guy that played “Billy Batson” on the old Shazam!/Isis Hour from the ‘70s? I don’t think it was a Croft show; I think it was somebody other than Croft. But the superhero “Shazam” had a really weird live action show on Saturday mornings in the ‘70s where “Billy Batson” was a teenager and he drove around the country with this weird old man in an RV, and they would become a superhero. So the guy that played “Billy Batson” is playing himself in these last two shows, so I think that’s— His name’s Michael [Gray].
Amber, do you miss the season five coke crazed “Pam” compared to the regular Pam? Do you miss playing that “Pam”?
Amber It was really fun. When I heard the idea that she was going to get addicted to cocaine I was like Adam, we have to make her skinny because all she’s eating is cocaine. Then I went into the offices, I think I was picking something up, and somebody was working on “Pam” on their computer, and they were like oh my God, you have to see skinny “Pam,” and I was blown away. She looks like a pinup girl, like her boobs got bigger somehow and she got tiny. So that was really fun.
So it was really fun to kind of see how everybody reacted to that. A lot of fans didn’t like it; they were like we don’t want to see “Pam” like that, that’s not who she is.
Lucky I hated it.
Amber Yes, a lot of people hated it, so I was glad that it went back.
Lucky To skinny “Pam.”
Amber Yes, I’m glad that it went back to regular “Pam,” but it was a super fun thing to play and I got to do a lot. In season five there were a lot of “Pam” heavy episodes; that was super fun and she got into more trouble than she usually does. So I really enjoyed it, but I’m glad we’re back to good old regular “Pam.”
Lucky I am, too, because I mean it was funny, it was really funny, but by the end it really kind of started getting sad, you know what I mean? It was great, too, because she started looking sickly, she had dark circles under her eyes and she kept getting paler, and it was really taking its effect. It was like damn, “Pam” can’t get her shit together, and she’s always, even no matter how matter of control “Pam” gets, she’s always somehow in control.
Amber Capable. Yes.
Lucky I was really sad that that “Pam” was going away, because she was becoming a true addict and it sucked, so I hate skinny “Pam.”
Amber Yes. A lot of people did, but I loved her for a time.
Lucky, did “Krieger” really survived season five? Are we really dealing with “Krieger” or with one of his clones?
Lucky I am one of two people that know the answer to that question, and I am not at liberty to say. I don’t even know. 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?
Well, guys, one of the things that killed me the other week was “Ray” has lost yet another limb, and I’m curious what was your guys reaction when you read that and is there any chance “Krieger” is just going to go ahead and give him another hand, please?
Amber I didn’t have any reaction to it when I read it, because I was like oh yes, of course, that’s what happens to “Ray” is he just gets constantly pulled apart and put back together, and that’s just who he is on the show. And yes, “Krieger” will take care of him, right.
Lucky I would feel really, really bad for “Ray,” because every time it happens I’m like oh, poor “Ray,” because I love “Ray” so much.
Amber I know, “Ray” is one of my favorites, too.
Lucky In real life, if these characters were all real life, “Ray” is probably the one I would love the most. He is just a real and awesome, and all these horrible things keep happening to him. But because it’s Adam’s character and it also looks like me every time one of these horrible, horrible thing happens to it I love it so much, because I know Adam’s going to fix his own character and he could destroy himself the most before he does that to anybody else’s character. Also, I could see what I would look like with blood spurting out of freshly ripped off arm stump. I’m like, oh, that’s what I would like if I were blonde and that happened.
Amber, which “Pam” was more fun to play, the chunky Hulk “Pam” or the coke addicted, skinny “Pam”?
Amber I think that they were both fun for their own reasons. For example, when I was doing coke “Pam” and writing the Twitter feed for “Pam” I had a lot less to rely on. Because one of the things that “Pam” is so great about is, I’ll write things like, “Got a bunch of leftover Easter candy? Put it in the crockpot with half a pint of half-and-half and you’ve got soup!” You know, just stuff like that which coke “Pam” would never do. So it was a different character; it was like getting to play a completely different character for a season, which was super fun as an actor, because you kind of had to figure out like you know you’re coming from it in a different way when you’re delivering your lines. So I loved them both, but good old regular “Pam” is where it’s at for me, but I really did enjoy them both.
Lucky, would you like to see an Attack of the Clones type of episode featuring an army of “Krieger” clones?
Lucky Oh you bet I would. That’s all I want. It’s all I want is a bunch of those evil clones to rise up. I think, yes, I have a lot of— Yes, I do.
I would also love there to be the uber “Krieger,” which is the original whatever they came out of that has like the number one. You know what I mean, the very first clone model or whatever. There has to be a “Krieger” prime somewhere out there, and I want that guy to make an appearance somewhere. Maybe as a big super villain. I don’t know.