Now in its third season, Adam Reed’s spy spoof “Archer” has quickly risen to become easily the best animated sitcom on television, and arguably one of the best sitcoms on television period. Aptly described as a cross between James Bond and “Arrested Development” with the visual style of “Mad Men” and sex and language normally relegated to premium cable. It is smart, funny, marvelously entertaining, fast-paced, chaotic and absurd, and in Sterling Archer, Adam Reed has created a character unlike any other on television: A brilliant spy whose cock-ups have nothing to do with bumbling stupidity and everything to do with obstinate laziness.
In tonight’s episode, the series looks to dabble in the playground of fellow FX series, “Justified,” as ISIS takes a trip to backwoods West Virginia. Ahead of that episode, I thought we’d take a closer look at the cast of “Archer,” and — at least for the “Archer” newbies — learn some more about the voices behind the characters.
H. Jon Benjamin (Sterling Archer) — Over the last 15 plus years, H. Jon Benjamin has been one of the most in-demand voice actors in television, starting with his role of Ben Katz in “Dr. Katz Professional Therapist.” Most know that in addition to providing the voice for Sterling Archer, he also provides the voice for Bob in “Bob’s Burgers” (in addition to numerous other voice roles). What some many not know is that Benjamin began his career in David Cross’ comedy team, Cross Comedy, along with Sam Seder (who was later Janeane Garafolo’s co-host on her Air America radio show). What many don’t know is that H. Jon Benjamin auditioned for the role of Gary in Wet Hot American Summer (the role that went to A.D. Miles), but ended up providing the voice of the vegetable can that sucked its own dick. The story behind that is pretty funny. Here it is in full (from the AV Club)
The best story there is that they recorded a scratch track—not the official movie version of it—to use as a template before. Then we went back in to record the polished version, just applying the same lines to picture. We had come up with the line about me sucking my own dick; I think I just said that, we were fucking around and I had said it on the scratch track version. And they were like, “You gotta say that, let’s leave it in.” So I was recording it, doing the line different ways, and David Wain and Michael Showalter got a phone call. They left, and it was just me and the audio engineer. There was this awkward waiting, and he pushed the button and said, “Hey man, really funny stuff.” I said, “Yeah, it’s really funny.” “Yeah, except for the thing about sucking your own dick. I mean, a can wouldn’t say that. I don’t wanna take over the process, but, uh, if you’re cool, you should say stuff like—I jotted down some ideas, and I bet those guys would love it.” I was playing along, like, “Yeah, that would be a hugehelp! I don’t wanna say this! It doesn’t make sense! A can is an inanimate object!” And the guy’s like, “I know! That’s why I was thinking you should make it funny! Like, you should say, ‘I stew my own vegetables a lot.’” I can’t remember what he said, but it was something that was like—geez, the lamest. And I was like, “Oh that’s great!”
Then the guys walked back in: “Sorry Jon. Alright Peter, let’s do another one.” [Laughs.] And I was like, “Well, listen, I stew my own vegetables all the time.” David Wain and Michael Showalter go, “What are you doing?” “I just think it’s funnier to say I stew my own vegetables than suck my own dick.” “Why?” “Because it’s a can.” “No…definitely say suck your own dick.” It was this totally waste-of-time argument that I was doing. I was like, “Yeah, whatever, I’ll say suck my own dick, but—I dunno, stew your own vegetables is pretty funny.” “No, that’s not funny at all.” We were overtly insulting this guy, who was sitting there grimacing. They never knew about it.
After, the [engineer] guy was like, “Those guys were assholes.” And I said, “Yeah, no sh*t.”
And here is the scene from the film:
In the second season of “Parks and Recreation,” Benjamin also played the Pawnee City Attorney.
Judy Greer (Cheryl Tunt) — Greer — whose birth name is Judith Laura Evans — has been “that girl” in television and films for over a decade, often playing the best friend in either sitcoms or romantic comedies. Her first big break came with the short-lived CBS sitcom “Love and Money” about an heiress falling in love with a blue collar guy, which also starred Paget Brewster (“Criminal Minds”) and Brian Van Holt (“Cougar Town”):
Interestingly, both Greer and H. Jon Benjamin have provided voice talent to “Family Guy” and the PBS kid’s show, “Wordgirl.” Greer, who is probably best known for her role as Kitty in “Arrested Development” is married to Dean Johnsen, an exec producer on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” He looks like a tool bag.
What most people don’t know about Greer — or at least, I didn’t know — is that she currently hosts an online exercise series, “Reluctantly Healthy,” for Yahoo!