Welcome to the latest edition of EMExclusives! On this edition, when it comes to animated series, nothing beats one of the best primetime series that I have seen in a long time – and that series is Archer. With its twelfth season starting tonight on FXX, we can get ready for spies, mayhem & laughter.
Here with me to talk about Archer and so much more is a talented actress who plays Pam Poovey, the former head of an international spy agency and has become a fan-favorite on the show. She has been playing Pam since its inception back in 2009. She will also showcase her talent in the world of film with her lead role in the upcoming adult indie comedy How to Ruin the Holidays, which she is also executive producing. Friends of the Revue, let’s welcome today’s guest, Amber Nash!
Archer is about to launch its 12th Season on August 25th on FXX. What goes through your mind being on a series that is one of the longest lasting animated shows?
It’s crazy, like I still can’t believe that it’s happening. I’m still living in Atlanta where I was when I first started. I am still working in the same theatre doing comedy where I worked at back then. The only difference that I am able to buy my house as oppose to renting an apartment. So it has been an amazing journey. I mean the show is still great. At the beginning, we didn’t know “if people were going to like this?” or “Are we going to get away with all of this? It became a critical success around Season 2 and we went like “Oh, people really like this.” It has been a really fun ride.
That’s great to hear! What attracted to your role of Pam Poovey? She has really evolved throughout the series.
It’s funny. I went back and re-read the pilot episode and when they first introduced Pam. It said “Pam: the mousey director of HR” and I was like “What!?” Nobody would ever say that she’s mousey now. So, in the beginning, I think they were expecting something different out of the character and she has grown into such an insane character that can do just about anything and nobody can stop her.
In the beginning, I was just excited to have a job in animation that it was such a dream come true but to watch this incredible character grow and become such a badass has been so much fun!
Since it has been twelve years, what have been some of your favorite highlights of Pam? What were some of your favorite episodes?
One of my very favorites is “Southbound and Down” and that was in Season Five which Cherlene was on the road with her country music career. It’s the very first time that you see Archer and Pam as like a duo and in their Trans Am. That was one of my very very favorites because I really liked the dynamic between Pam and Archer. I think that they are really fun together.
And the other one that I really loved that always comes to mind is the one where they thought that they killed the Pope. (Editor’s Note: The episode was “The Papal Chase” Season 4, episode 11) That one was also really fun to watch, there are so many.
You’re right, there are so many. Also, with the twelfth season coming up, we have to pay tribute to Malory Archer, the one and only Jessica Walter who passed away recently. What will you miss about her and what was it like working with Jessica?
She was such an incredible person. Like, she was an incredible actress, an incredible comedic actor. She was also just a classy gal. She had done so much and she never made any of us feel that we were less than, and she was just nurturing. She was just so fantastically wonderful and took us all under her wing.
At the same time, she can keep up with all of the comedy. We are all a little worried because we tend to get a little rowdy. Aisha and Jon together are like “Guys, you two are insane!” So, we get like “What are you saying around Jessica?” and then she would just come in with the most insane burn of all time that it would just blow everybody’s mind. She’s so quick and so funny. We are going to miss her so much. So was definitely like the heart of our cast but she will be well remembered.
So glad to hear that. What do you think is the appeal to Archer when it comes to its fans and its longevity? You are one of the very few animated series to go on for more than ten years.
I really think that’s because the show is so smart that everybody talks about how dirty the show is. The show is very very dirty, my character in particular. They earn every moment of dirtiness through smart and clever jokes. And, I think it helps that we kind of started to reinvent ourselves.
There was a lot of people that didn’t like the Coma Season where but I also felt that it kept things fresh. What if you put all these idiots in a different situation? What if we put them in” this” situation? And then to get to go back and to see that was fresh. To be doing comedy for a long time, you have to push the boundaries. When you push the boundaries, not everybody is going to be happy and that’s ok. So, I think that’s been part of the success that we just keep doing what we do best in shaking things up.
I have to agree especially when you have taken the series through “Fantastic Voyage” one time. You took it “Alien” one season. I mean the different seasons with different genres is mind-blowing as far as a cartoon series. You really kept it fresh and that’s what I enjoyed about it.
Yeah and nothing’s impossible. OK, so now they are going to shrink down into a man’s body. That’s fun!
Absolutely! When did you realize that you had the gift of doing voiceovers?
You know, I was really a theatre actor and I was just trying to pay the bills. Anytime a gig would come along, I would take it. At the theatre that I work at, I met a guy who was working for an ad agency and he says “Hey, we’re looking for somebody to do voicework for a couple of commercials. You want to try it?” I’m like “yeah, sure” and I don’t think that I was particularly good at it in at the beginning, becuase I felt that I had that regular everyman type of voice. And they were like “Great, you’re going to play a mom in this commercial or somebody’s weird aunt.”
I done a few of those but then the guys who were making “Archer” were making a show called “Frisky Dingo” for Adult Swim. Adult Swim is based here in Atlanta because of Turner. So, they were like “Hey, will you just come in a do a couple of voices?” I auditioned for them for the role of a teenage girl and they were like “No”. I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes back then so it just wasn’t right. But, they liked the sound of my voice. So, they had me come in for other stuff and that’s how I started working for those guys. So, I really learned on the job.
I didn’t think that I had a knack or a special talent, but I think they were like there’s something interesting about your voice, you’re easy to work with, and you show up when we call you. So, they were like “Let’s just keep figuring out how to make you good at voicework” and they really taught me how to do it.
That’s wonderful! How does it feel that Buzzfeed declared your character “The real hero of Archer”?
I was so incredibly honored because you know Pam is such a tertiary character. To be told that’s what a lot of people thought, that’s incredible. I mean, I can only take a small portion of credit for it because the character was written so incredibly and that’s why she is such a great character. I am so proud of the character because she is the heart. She’s such a badass. She’s completely unapologetic and it’s just incredible to watch Pam be Pam!
Let’s switch gears with the upcoming film “How to Ruin the Holidays” that’s being slated to film this fall. Tell us more about your film.
So, we are going to be shooting this December. It’s a holiday movie obviously. It’s about a struggling comedienne who goes home for the holidays and her family is just kind of a mess. My dad is being played by the amazing comedian Colin Mochrie of Whose Line Is It Anyway? My brother in the film has special needs in the movie. We have a special needs actor who is incredible named Luke Davis. We met during another project her in Atlanta. It’s like “Little Miss Sunshine meets Bad Santa. It’s a heartwarming family film, it’s going to be fun and I can’t wait for people to see it.
And the film is written by your husband, is that correct?
Yes, my husband wrote it and its going to be producing and our friend Arlen is going to be directing. So, it going to be a family affair.
I am very impressed that the film met its Kickstarter goal of $100,000 in just two weeks.
Yep, we are really lucky that so much has happen and in this crazy time, things are really tough for people financially right now. So, we were really amazed by the outpouring and the support from everybody. It’s incredible!
You have a Cameo and all of your proceeds go to Southern Poverty Law Center, Tell us about your involvement with them.
Well, when I started doing Cameo, it was last summer and it was at a time when the world was so raw/ I was like I can’t just be making money, I need to give back in some way. So, in order for me to be comfortable doing Cameos, I wanted to donate the proceeds t the Southern Poverty Law Center. I am a Southerner and they are really an amazing organization that works toward dismantling white supremacy. If you need more information, go to Southern Poverty Law Center. They do incredible work all over the country. It seemed like the right thing to do.
What advice would you give to anyone who would love to be in comedy, doing improv or doing voiceovers?
I think that you have to start doing something. If you want to be a voiceover actor, you have to be an actor first. If you want to do comedy, you have to first be comfortable on stage. For me, the way that I got in was just taking classes at an improv theatre because I am not a classically-trained actor. I didn’t go to drama school. I just started taking classes at a theatre that I really loved and started performing there. I think that if that’s the path that you wanted to take, you have to be patient.
There’s are lot of people that will say “No” to you at every stage of your career. You know, I used to audition all of the time and don’t get roles and that’s just part of the job. You have to be patient and you have really have to love the insanity and the chaos of a job like this but being on stage is one of my favorite things of all time. There are improv classes in every town, in every college. Everybody’s got an improv program. So that’s what I would suggest.
Finally, what can fans expect of this upcoming season?
It’s really fun, its classic Archer. We are starting to see the cracks in the agency a little bit like they don’t have so much money anymore. Everything is kind of janky and not doing too good. There is this new shiny conglomerate and all these fancy toys. They are seeing how things should be and they are kind of competing against this big conglomerate. So that’s really hilarious because they all think that they are great and you tell them that they are not and they are like “What!?!”
So, watching them kind of struggle with that is so fun and its classic Archer. There’s like a mission every week and they are being terrible to one another. They are having a really good time and the animation is as beautiful as ever. Every season, the animation gets so incredible to look at. The animators do such a great job.
I couldn’t agree more! The new season of Archer begins tonight on FXX and will be streaming the next day on FX on Hulu. Be on the lookout for Amber’s new film, “How to Ruin the Holidays” – coming soon!