The Ten Most Obscure ‘Archer’ Jokes — Explained

By: 01.27.11  •  123 Comments

UPDATE: Check out all new Archer on FX coverage and features.

The Season 2 premiere of “Archer” airs tonight, and if you’re like me you have been releasing tiny anticipatory urine leaks throughout your day. In an effort to make sure the hilarity of the first season has been fully appreciated before we move on to the second course, here are a few jokes in slo-mo replay to make sure you got whatever lofty reference show-runner Adam Reed and the boys were tossing your way:

1. Johnny Bench Called (S01E01)

A little extra research shed quite a bit of light on this doozy. In the pilot episode, Archer drops the phrase “Johnny Bench called” in order to let his mother know he caught her doing some fuzzy flounder fishing. But where exactly was he going with that?

Johnny Bench is a Hall of Fame catcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds. According to Adam Reed the joke was to imply the next line: “He wants his mitt back,” thus comparing Malory’s vajayjay to a well worn in catcher’s mitt. Funny. Decent. But the story continues.

After the initial episode aired Adam Reed was informed that Johnny Bench was also known for having giant fingers and was famous for a parlor trick he did where he held seven baseballs in one hand. This made for a reemergence of the Bench reference aimed at Lana Kane’s monster hands (Truckasaurus!) and her “Johnny Benchian fingers” (S01E04).  I feel like the second Johnny Bench joke revises the first, like a humor time loop.

2. Greenmantle by John Buchan (S01E10)

In the Season 1 finale, Malory Archer is shown grabbing a gun from under the book Greenmantle by John Buchan. There isn’t really a joke here as much as Adam Reed is paying homage to one of the books that inspired the Archer character to begin with. Says Reed:

I read tons of books all the way back to Greenmantle by John Buchan. And I read a lot of the James Bond novels, which are a lot darker than the movies. They really sort of put a smile on that guy’s face. In the novels he’s pretty misogynistic. There’s definitely some racist tones in those novels. And so that was part of the inspiration… trying to see how much of a jerk I could make this guy and still make him likable. I don’t know if “likable” is the right word. Maybe “sympathetic” – even though he’s a total tool. [source]

That is probably the end of the intended reference there BUT if one were to look a little deeper… There was once a famous racehorse named Greenmantle that was ridden by jockey John Cutts. Cutts is best known for winning several Australian horse races in the 1860s. And what was the name of the horse he rode for the majority of his wins? Archer! Coincidence? Yes. That is the definition of a coincidence right there.

3. Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa

What can she say? Malory Archer has a thing for drummers. She may be a little hazy on who exactly planted the seed that would become her son Sterling, but she is sure clear on liking men who know how to beat the skins. While it makes more sense for super spy Sterling Archer to actually be spawned from either Len Drexler or Major Nikolai Jackov, we need to remember to keep these two famous beat-boys in the mix.

Just so you don’t have to Google them yourself, here are videos of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, doing what they do best: banging.

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