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Archer - H. Jon Benjamin Q&A Transcript

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					Final Transcript

  FX NETWORK: Archer
  January 13, 2012/12:00 p.m. PST



SPEAKERS

Erika Bouso, FX Media Relations Coordinator
Kristy Silvernail, FX Media Relations Manager
H. Jon Benjamin, “Agent Sterling Archer” / Archer

PRESENTATION

Moderator            Welcome to the Archer Conference call. At this time, all participants are

                     in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer

                     session. Instructions will be given at that time. I would now like to turn

                     our conference over to your host, Ms. Erika Bouso. Please go ahead.



Erika                Hey everyone. This is Erika from FX. Welcome to our Archer Season

                     Three Conference call with H. Jon Benjamin, the voice of „Agent Sterling

                     Archer.‟ Thanks, everybody, for taking the time to dial in today, and Jon,

                     thanks for taking time to answer people‟s questions.
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                                                                    Host: Kristy Silvernail
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            Due to overwhelming response, we ask that everybody just asks one

            question at a time. If you have any follow-up questions, just get back into

            the queue, and the operator will come back to you.



Jon         How do you get to the operator? Sorry.



Erika       You will not be asking any questions, Jon.



Jon         I just want to get the operator, if you don‟t mind.



Erika       You‟ll just press zero. And everyone, just a reminder, the third season—



Jon         It‟s not working.



Erika       It‟s not working for you?



Jon         Trying to get to the operator. Could I please get to the operator?



Erika       Operator, are you there?



Moderator   Yes, I am.
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Jon         Oh hey. How are you?



Moderator   Good. How are you?



Jon         It‟s Jon. This woman has too many rules. It‟s not fair for anybody to have

            to sit through that.



Moderator   I can disconnect her line.



Jon         Yeah. Let‟s do it.



Erika       Okay, everyone. Well, they‟re unable to disconnect my line, so I‟m going

            to go ahead and let you know that—



Jon         Operator, I need you to disconnect that woman‟s line.



Erika       The third season of Archer will premiere this coming—



Jon         Operator.
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                                                                   Host: Kristy Silvernail
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Erika       —Thursday, January, 19 at 10:00 p.m.—



Jon         There is nobody listening to me.



Erika       —only on FX. And now I‟ll throw it back to Stacy, our moderator, and

            Jon will answer a couple of questions for all of you guys.



Moderator   Our first question will go to Brittany Frederick with Starpulse.



Brittany    So, you‟re doing, of course, Archer and Bob’s Burgers and you have the

            Comedy Central Show, so—



Jon         We all know how that‟s going.



Brittany    How do you balance all these projects and how do you differentiate,

            especially when you‟re doing Archer and Bob’s Burgers, how different is

            it for you?



Jon         Well, it‟s a constant—tons of protein shakes and a very regimented

            workout schedule that keeps me energized. And the rest I just leave to my

            rabbi and my group of people who I consult with.
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Moderator   We‟ll go to the line of Dave Richards with Spinoff Online and Company.



Dave        You‟ve been the voicing „Sterling Archer‟ for quite awhile now, and I just

            wanted to ask what‟s your favorite thing about voicing the character?

            What do you like best about him?



Jon         I like the way he looks. He‟s handsome. That‟s a big advantage. I‟m not

            so handsome, and I like all the stuff I get to say, obviously. I like being

            rude, and it gives me a good opportunity to do that.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Amy Harrington with Pop Culture Passionistas.



Amy         We‟d just wanted to go back to the beginning and find out how you got

            your part on Archer.



Jon         It‟s not a great story. Adam Reed, the creator of Archer, God rest his soul

            [said jokingly], he called me—I think he had heard me do some other

            work on Adult Swim Shows, and he called me to read the part. I don‟t

            know if other people had been asked. I don‟t know if I was first choice or

            like literally last resort—probably last resort, right? Right?
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Amy         Right. Definitely right.



Jon         So, yes, and then I accepted and then it worked out well. But I was

            tentative because I didn‟t think I could pull off a spy. If you knew me,

            you‟d know all the reasons why.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Curt Wagner with Redeye Chicago.



Curt        I was just wondering how the Burt Reynolds thing came about?



Jon         Which Burt Reynolds thing?



Curt        In the season premiere.



Jon         Wait, he was in it?



Curt        Yeah, unless I had a dream about that.



Jon         Oh. Man, no one tells me anything about this …. That‟s great. I can‟t

            believe he‟s still doing stuff. He should take a break. It‟s been like 60
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            years. Like just stop. I think, they mentioned him—I think it was the

            natural—well, not the natural progression, but „Archer‟s‟ obviously

            referenced Burt Reynolds a lot, so I‟m sure it popped into Adam Reed‟s

            head to just to try and cast him. It‟s funny that I shouldn‟t be calling like

            these people and you must think like they‟ll never do it and then they‟re

            probably like, “Of course, I‟ll do it.”



Moderator   We‟ll go to Cat Edison with screeninvasion.com.



Cat         I‟m wanting to know—I know with Bob’s Burgers that you said that there

            is a fair amount of adlibbing. How much of Archer do you get to do any

            adlibbing with?



Jon         Very little. There is not a lot of room. The scripts are tightly written and

            he encourages sometimes on occasion, he‟ll be like do you want to add

            anything, and I‟ll say no. So it‟s not the same kind of production as Bob’s

            Burgers, which is a lot improvising all the time, but the scripts don‟t really

            require it.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Pietro Filiponi with the Daily Blam.
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                                                          January 13, 2012/12:00 p.m. PST
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Pietro      I was just wondering—let me ask how much input do you have on the

            dialogue/the interactions with the other cast members? Do you get a

            chance to improvise? Also, why do you think each individual show has

            been so popular with the masses?



Jon         Well, the masses are idiots, so they don‟t know any better. They‟re too

            busy just staring at the light and cartoons are colorful. So don‟t get me

            started about the masses. I‟m really not a fan. But as far as interacting

            with the cast, I really don‟t do any of that. They record everybody

            separately and once I tried to…Aisha Tyler …, but that didn‟t work out

            yet.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Brendan O‟Connell with Forces of Geek.



Brendan     So, your voice is pretty distinct, and while you don‟t really—



Jon         Yours is, too.



Brendan     Thank you.



Jon         Everybody‟s is. Everybody‟s is different. It‟s like a snowflake.
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Brendan     You‟ve become a voice actor, but for Archer, to me it‟s not really that

            apparent, but there‟s a lot of yelling involved, which must get tiring at

            some point. So has there ever been a point where you want a few scripts

            which just has „Archer‟ whispering and not talking at all?



Jon         I would love to in parentheses …. Just once. It is, and I have to say, like I

            recently, whenever I finish—it‟s not grueling or anything, but my vocal

            cords don‟t recover for like a day after an Archer session. So they owe

            me. And it‟s not like I‟m at war, but it‟s hard on the throat. But, yes, I

            would like to do … someday.



Moderator   We‟ll go to the line of Kelsea Stahler with Hollywood.com.



Kelsea      One of my favorite things about Archer are those hidden references like to

            “Bartleby the Scrivener” or “Lord of the Rings,” things of that nature. But

            some of them are pretty obscure like I have to bring up my computer and

            Google things while I‟m watching.



Jon         Yes. I occasionally do as well.
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Kelsea      That was my question is there anything—



Jon         Yes. There‟s like a 50/50 ratio of me knowing and me not, but I‟m always

            getting questions about that, and occasionally I don‟t have the answer. I

            forgot to check. Fortunately, I‟ve read some Melville, so that‟s good, and

            some …, so I knew a couple, but there is some stuff like the guy who

            invented or who started eugenics—I didn‟t know that was him. So I‟ll

            oftentimes be asked what …, and the first season I always got the question

            about Jonny Bench or … that was said, which I did not know about him,

            or why—a lot of people asked me why did you say that. Nobody knew,

            but it‟s a relatively educational show.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Edward Liu with Tune Zone News.



Jon         Does everybody hear or is it you‟re like kept in a cone of silence and then

            you come on? Can you hear me?



Edward      Yes.
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Jon      Can you hear me? Right does everybody on the—are you just like—well

         how did you—before this are you sitting in silence and waiting for

         somebody to say now ask your question?



Edward   Yes, pretty much.



Jon      Okay. I‟m sorry. I just wanted to get some context.



Edward   We‟re busy hanging on every word.



Jon      What I‟m saying is do you hear everything that‟s been said?



Edward   Yes.



Jon      Oh, okay. I got it.



Edward   There‟s a bonus feature on the latest DVD set where you sort of become

         „Sterling Archer‟ in the animation. I was wondering whose idea was that

         and how did you feel about doing that?
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Jon         It was my idea, I believe, so I felt bad about it. I think it was my idea

            because it was actually made for this comedy festival that this comedian

            Eugene Mirman does, and I wanted to—Adam wrote the entire thing but I

            said we should do something to show—they were doing an Archer event,

            so it was made for that and then they spun it off to ship it on DVD. But I

            think initially it was my idea.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Kroze Kresky with comicsonline.com.



Kroze       That constant running gag on the show is „Archer‟ is continually deprived

            of being happy and his happiness. Do you think that „Archer‟ will finally

            get his happiness and what will that look like?



Jon         Well, I don‟t think it would behoove the show for him to be happy, so I

            assume that will be avoided. I think, by nature, he‟s like a troubled

            character, so I don‟t think he‟ll ever be happy, but I got asked this

            recently, and I think my stock answer was that if his mother died, I‟m not

            sure he‟d be happy, but it would change everything for him and maybe

            he‟d be happy. So there is some—I guess that‟s not…, but I just think that

            his mother created a lot of problems.
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Moderator   We‟ll go to Troy Anderson with the andersonvision.com. Please go

            ahead.



Troy        How does it feel being the Mel Blanc of adult cartoons? I was going

            through your stuff and it seems like you‟ve been on everything I‟ve

            watched since high school.



Jon         Why do you have to yell everything?



Troy        I don‟t know. I‟m sorry about that.



Jon         I love it.



Troy        Excited.



Jon         It‟s good. Are you from the south?



Troy        Yes.



Jon         Well, they yell everything.
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Troy   It happens.



Jon    So how do I feel about what?



Troy   Being the Mel Blanc of adult cartoons. You seem like on every show I

       love.



Jon    Well, I don‟t know if Mel Blanc was in every show you love. And also

       Mel Blanc was really good at voices, and I‟m not, so he has the advantage,

       but I like being on the shows I‟m on. I‟m sorry. Is he gone?



Troy   We‟ll go to Oren Vourman with Media Boulevard.



Oren   Thanks, Jon.



Jon    Oh, that‟s much better voice level. The last guy was really yelling.



Oren   Yes. I try to keep a low key.



Jon    I‟m sure everybody appreciates that at the library.
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Oren        I was wondering besides „Archer‟s‟ strong jaw line and dashing good

            looks, what other qualities do you feel you share with your character?



Jon         Besides those. Well, obviously, personality wise, I can be a little shrilly,

            and that comes from the way I look and just having to go out in public is a

            struggle. So, yes, I think that my tension for anger and my general

            attitude—poor attitude—and failure to recognize authority and my sense

            of entitlement in my life and being American and white and rich, those

            things I share. And I drink a lot in real life.



Moderator   And we‟ll go to Melissa Girimonte with televixen.com.



Melissa     How many situations have you found yourself in since Archer or any of

            your other prominent voice work where you‟re in just some random spot

            and you get really weird stares become people recognize your voice?



Jon         It happens all the time in the steam room where I do most of my talking.

            It happens, actually, very rarely, obviously, because nobody cares. But,

            on a few occasions, I‟ve been recognized for my voice, and it‟s just kind

            of hard—you have to be really keyed into that. Like there has been an

            occasion where like I‟m ordering a tea at the coffee shop and the person
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            behind the counter will get excited like, “Oh my, „Archer‟s‟ voice is

            ordering a green tea.” But, that being said, very rarely happens.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Nancy Basile with about.com.



Nancy       On the show, „Sterling‟ and „Malory‟ are always going at it. In real life,

            cage match, you and Jessica Walter, who would win?



Jon         Cage match?



Nancy       Cage match.



Jon         Do you need the cage? I mean, seriously?



Nancy       Yes. That‟s my question. You or Jessica? She‟s pretty tough.



Jon         I mean she‟s frail at best. I would say it‟s definitely me, unless I let her

            win or something which, I don‟t know, for the money I would.



Moderator   We‟ll go to David Eckstein with Zap2it.
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David       So, now if you could tell Adam Reed anything as far as your hopes for

            your character, like if you could say, “Gee, Adam, I‟d like to have my

            character to x—Archer do—” what would it be and why?



Jon         That‟s a tough question. There is so much, obviously, like spy world stuff

            to explore and I‟m sure he hasn‟t gotten to all the possibilities yet. I guess

            I would want him to sing more, maybe. Maybe start a band, like a really

            bad blues band or something. You know like Jim Belushi style.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Cat Edison with screeninvasion.com.



Cat         I have been a real big fan of yours since Home Movies. „Coach McGuirk‟

            is one of my favorite, favorite characters.



Jon         Yes. He was really good.



Cat         I‟d like to go off on a totally different tangent. How in the world did you

            get connected with WordGirl?



Jon         Like you say it like it was community service.
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Cat         No, no, no. With all the adult scenes that you‟ve done, I‟m just curious.



Jon         Well, actually, the company that made Home Movies made WordGirl. So,

            it was ….



Cat         Yes. That makes sense.



Jon         Yes, and the company that made Home Movies, their company started as

            like an educational software company or something, and they made

            animated stuff for schools like educational disks that kids could play. So,

            there was a prior show on ABC, I think. I can‟t remember what it‟s

            called—Science Court. So they had done a few of those, and I was asked

            to do a part sometimes, but that‟s like—WordGirl I get more, shockingly,

            more noticed for than most of the shows I‟ve ever done. Kids watch a lot

            of TV.



Moderator   We‟ll go to the line of Earl Dittman with Wireless Digital Journal.



Earl        Why do you think that adults now are being attracted to prime time

            animated shows like the Simpsons, the Cleveland Show, and your show

            and everybody‟s. Why do you think people are accepting it now?
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Jon         Well, I don‟t think it‟s specifically been begging for acceptance. There

            have been tons of animated shows geared toward adults, I guess, in the last

            20 years or something hasn‟t there? I don‟t know. I don‟t think it‟s any

            more part of the cultural fabric. I mean maybe because of the success of

            shows like South Park and the Simpsons, for sure, probably did start a

            reason to copy that formula because they were so unique. Then I guess

            because it was a very niche world before that. Not the whole world but

            adults who would read graphic novels or something like that. So in that

            world, I think it was pretty common and so it just sort of spun off. Now

            everybody. So I don‟t know what I just said, but I think you‟re right.



Moderator   We‟re got to Melissa Girimonte with televixen.com.



Melissa     What I wanted to know was of „Sterling Archer‟s‟ foes that we‟ve met so

            far, which one would you be most excited to see return for another

            episode?



Jon         That requires me to have to remember anything about the show—like

            name some.
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Melissa     Hmm.



Jon         You don‟t know any. It‟s a well-constructed question without any ….



Melissa     I really liked the gang that you met up with in … last year?



Jon         Don‟t remember. Don‟t remember. Was there a guy with a cat or

            something?



Melissa     No, it was the people that were trying to kidnap the ….



Jon         Right. There is nobody that comes to mind, and I hope I didn‟t offend

            anybody in the process. Maybe the guy with the eye patch if there was

            one or they guy with the peg leg, the pirate. Was there one? The guy with

            mustache and the earring with the scar—that guy would be good.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Kroze Kresky with comicsonline.com.



Kroze       Now, „Archer‟ has done a number of bad … things in all these seasons so

            far. Has there been something that „Archer‟ has done that you‟ve wanted

            to do in real life?
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Jon         Sleep with a prostitute, I guess. I just never had the courage and I think

            that would open the flood gates for me. And I‟d like to yell at a butler

            someday.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Nancy Basile with about.com.



Nancy       Do you record as a group for Bob’s Burgers and if so, do you have a

            preference as to recording along or with the whole cast?



Jon         I don‟t. It‟s much more efficient to record alone, obviously, so Archer is

            quicker to do, which is a benefit, I guess, if I wanted to go shopping. It

            doesn‟t take as long—it‟s not as long of a process, but there are occasions

            when being amongst a group of people is a benefit for the show—not for

            me but for the show. So, it just kind of depends on the day, I guess. I

            have done, I think, once I recorded Archer and then had to go record Bob’s

            Burgers or vice versa, and that day was too long.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Brendan O‟Connell with Forces of Geek.
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Brendan     In the first season of Archer, the character was controlled by a microchip.

            The second, you had cancer. The first part of Season 3 or I don‟t know for

            … 2.5 he kind of loses everything or he abandons everything and becomes

            a pirate, so is it just going to get crazier from this point on?



Jon         I think it does get crazier—not crazier, but there are definitely moments of

            pure craziness, as there always is, I guess, in the show. But I think, he

            returns back to his regular life, so he doesn‟t go off the rails completely.

            The show gets back to what it did in the second season which is focus on

            all the characters who work for the spy agency and stuff like that. So he

            doesn‟t have any more like crazy flights of—but they go to space. They

            get to go to space, but I think that was part of the mission, so it‟s not like

            he was just like I‟m going to go to space and take off.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Oren Vourman with Media Boulevard.



Oren        After a night of regrettable decisions, my friends and I decided to watch

            all of Season 1 of Archer, and our favorite line was, “This is why we can‟t

            have nice things.” We were wondering is there a line that really stood out

            to you.
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Jon         Who said that? Was it me or „Malory‟?



Oren        Actually, „Malory‟ says it, but all the characters say it, too.



Jon         I get asked that a lot and I‟m always at a loss because I never remember

            lines, but I do like whenever I have to say something really like falsetto

            and quick. It used to be like danger zone or something. And I really like

            doing his answering machine messages because they‟re usually written out

            exactly as I do them. They make me laugh every time because in real life

            I do that stuff. So I like when he really … with people on his answering

            machine. That makes me giggle.



Moderator   We‟ve got Troy Anderson with andersonvision.com.



Troy        Will we get to see any more of the ocelot or the Wee Baby „Seamus‟ this

            year?



Jon         I don‟t think so. Ocelot—I forgot about that. I think „Seamus‟ is—I hope

            he‟s all right. I don‟t remember doing a lot. I know we see the tattoo a

            lot. He has a tattoo of „Seamus‟s‟ name, I think, but I think that‟s all you
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            get of „Seamus.‟ He‟s probably already off—he‟s off in some very

            exclusive ….



Moderator   We‟ll go to Dave Richards with Spin Off Online and Company.



Dave        Does „Archer‟ have any unfinished business with „Barry Dillon,‟ the guy

            who killed his wife?



Jon         Yes. Somebody actually asked earlier if, like who I‟d want to see as a

            villain, and I think I‟d want to see that character—he‟s sort of the most

            prominent nemesis to „Archer,‟ but I, as well as the baby, I don‟t think that

            character comes back as much after, but I‟m not certain. I don‟t

            remember, and I am sorry. I don‟t think he comes back, but that

            character‟s really funny and bionic.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Brittany Frederick with Star Pulse.



Brittany    We‟re also wondering with „Archer‟s‟ wardrobe preferences. I‟m curious,

            how do you look in a black turtleneck?
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Jon         It‟s been awhile since my bar mitzvah. So, I‟m in…used to be when I was

            13. I can‟t imagine I would look good. I don‟t think anybody does.

            „Archer‟ does look good and maybe Sammy Davis Jr. looked good and a

            few more—Bert Convy, but I think nowadays it‟s probably a huge fashion

            faux pas to be walking around like that, unless you like work at a club

            called Turtlenecks.



Moderator   We‟ll got to Earl Dittman with Wireless Digital Journal.



Earl        Were you a big spy fan when you were a kid or were you into James Bond

            and all that kind of stuff or were you just—you could take them or leave

            them?



Jon         I was in to the Torah, mostly and into the movie Torah, Torah, Torah

            because it fooled me because I thought it was Jewish, and it was actually a

            movie about kamikazes. But I thought that was like this movie that was

            going to be like crazily about the Torah—like Torah, Torah, Torah! And

            it had nothing—no Jewish—there was nothing Jewish about it except

            maybe one—I don‟t know, they didn‟t mention that any of the pilots or the

            people killed were Jewish. So, yeah, as a kid, it was strictly all about

            Judaism. I was crazy for it. So I didn‟t have time for spy stuff.
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Moderator   We‟ll go to Cat Edison with screeninvasion.com.



Cat         I wanted to find out if you just prefer doing the voice work or if you plan

            on branching more into live acting?



Jon         Well, we are waiting to hear if this comedy central show that I did is going

            to get a second season. I hope that it does. I liked doing it a lot. But, you

            know, voice work right now is predominantly what I do. But it took a

            year to make that show, and it was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it, so I

            would probably like to do more stuff on camera, but with this …, it

            doesn‟t bode well.



Moderator   We‟ll go to Kroze Kresky with comicsonline.com.



Kroze       Now the show does a lot of story arcs and then it does a lot of one-off

            episodes. Which do you prefer in terms of the story? Do you like singled-

            off stories or an overall arc going on?



Jon         I think it‟s very successful when they try and do more longer arcs, but I

            don‟t necessarily think it‟s a detriment when they don‟t. The television I
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            watch is probably more story—more narratives. But I don‟t know—Adam

            Reed is so good at crafting narrative threads that run throughout

            everything that like it‟s kind of always a combination of one-offs and I

            guess it‟s like any sort of really good sitcom where you start to love all the

            characters. He does such a good job keeping it vibrant. I‟m sorry I said

            that—keeping it vibrant. I never wanted to use that. I never wanted to say

            those three words, but I think like when „Archer „got cancer and this sort

            of first of three-parter—those were really fun to do.



Moderator   We‟ll go do Dave Richards with Spin Off Online and Company.



Dave        You just commented on my question a little bit. I was going to ask you

            what was it like to have a little more of those serious moments like when

            „Archer‟ got cancer and when his wife was murdered. Was it a bit more

            challenging or was it something you were waiting for?



Jon         Well, it‟s always sort of difficult to—I don‟t know—I can‟t discern

            anything about acting when you‟re doing—there‟s acting when you‟re

            doing voice overs, but it was definitely strange to do that. It‟s always odd

            when you have to like cry or something—like for real, when he was like,

            whatever—your woman dies or something and you‟re crying. It‟s so easy
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                                                                      Host: Kristy Silvernail
                                                             January 13, 2012/12:00 p.m. PST
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            to do a … but it‟s weird to—like I‟d always be was that terrible? It‟s not

            like a movie, I guess, where everybody‟s standing around and people are

            watching and you really got to do it. There‟s something odd—very false

            about just standing in front of a microphone. So hopefully the cries are

            believable. I actually cry. I actually cried a couple of times ….



Moderator   At this time, there are no questions in queue.



Jon         Okay. Thank you.



Kristy      Actually, don‟t go anywhere yet, Jon. We‟ve got a journalist dialed in that

            is having trouble with their phone and can‟t get in queue to ask a question,

            so I‟m going to do it for them. It‟s a two-parter. The first part is…are

            they going to see more of you, your van, and your take on interstellar

            justice, and as the follow-up, does anybody ever give you any grief over

            racy subject matter?



Jon         I, like I said before, I guess, I would like...have rewrote second season.

            We wrote half of the second season of the van show, and we‟re waiting to

            hear. But I‟ve heard nobody watched it. That doesn‟t seem like it‟s

            encouraging, but I hope we can do more of them. And the scripts we
                                                                                       FX
                                                                   Host: Kristy Silvernail
                                                          January 13, 2012/12:00 p.m. PST
                                                                                   Page 29

            wrote are, I think, sublimely funny. And what was the second part? Is

            this Erika?



Kristy      No, Kristy. Just if you get any grief over the racy subject matter?



Jon         Yes, like sometimes, I‟ll be walking down the street and someone will say

            … you, sometimes, but I don‟t know if that‟s about the racy subject matter

            or not. And I do get that question a lot whether I‟m shocked when I read

            some of the stuff I have to say, and I am not. I am not shocked.



Erika       Great. I think that‟s it. That‟s going to be the last question. Thank you,

            Jon, so much for taking the time to answer everybody‟s questions.



Jon         Okay. Thanks.



Erika       Just a reminder, Archer premieres this coming Thursday, January 19th at

            10:00 p.m. only on FX. Have a great weekend.



Moderator   Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today.

            Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive

            Teleconference Service. You may now disconnect.

				
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