Roundtable readings and burrito fellatio: Archer comes alive at Riverside Theater
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Having just short of four seasons under its belt, FX animated series Archer has quickly endeared itself to a devoted legion of fans by way of obscure references, less-than subtle running gags, and wanton visuals of hilarious espionage. Add an all-star cast of comics lending their distinct vocal chops to the smart-yet-sophomoric material, and it’s no wonder people watch in droves.
Saturday night, five Archer regulars stepped out from the recording booth, tore down the fourth wall, and invited an almost-full Riverside Theater into the Danger Zone for 75 minutes of roundtable reading, animated extras, Q&A, and burrito fellatio.
Stepping out to ample applause, H. Jon Benjamin (Sterling Archer), Aisha Tyler (Lana Kane), Chris Parnell (Cyril Figgis), Amber Nash (Pam Poovey), and Lucky Yates (Dr. Krieger) were introduced and took their respective stools. After Tyler promised to get fucked up with the audience—prompting Benjamin to then promise to fuck up the crowd—the cast opened their scripts to read the opening scene of this week’s yet-to-be-aired season finale.
The quips along with stills from the scene shown on a projector behind the performers helped bring a dash of excitement to seated actors reading pre-written material. But lacking sound effects and editing, the opening sequence had its hiccups—of which Benjamin was quick to acknowledge with a “That didn’t work out” and “That also didn’t work out.”
The teaser scene reached an abrupt conclusion as Yates ran to the edge of the stage with a T-shirt cannon and launched Archer merch into the audience as Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” blared behind him. (Cast members would take turns doing this between every scene.)
For the scenes that followed, the group took impromptu auditions from the audience for people to step in and read (and act) alongside the cast. First, a spot-on Cyrill impersonator helped Tyler shove a “bomb” (a box with “BOMB” written on it in electrical tape) off the stage while running lines from season one’s “Skytanic” episode. Then, a serviceable Pam impression helped win one lucky attendee the right to repeatedly thrust a burrito into her own pelvis (a la season four’s “The Honeymooners”). As the brutalized burrito’s innards fell to the stage, Benjamin dropped to his knees in an effort to catch some in his mouth.
But it wasn’t all audience interaction—though Tyler firing a T-shirt into the groin of a brazen and shirtless audience member they all called “douche” was a highlight. The crowd was treated to an uproariously funny DVD extra with the premise that injuries sustained in an explosion caused Archer to look like real-life Benjamin (as Benjamin watched on in apparent displeasure). Another extra showed a trailer for Archer’s low-budget sequel to Burt Reynolds’ Gator.
The night concluded with the cast answering pre-selected audience questions that ranged from Parnell’s favorite episode, the inspiration for Pam’s voice, and the favorite running gags in the show. Between liberal use of the self-coined term “Heeb-job” and assuring the theater he and Parnell didn’t get along in real life, Benjamin made sure the informative portion of the show remained rife with chuckles.
From—Benjamin’s words—“sucking off a burrito” to debating the pronunciation of “luddite,” there was something for brows of any height. Like the series itself, “Archer Live” proved to be at-times raunchy, at-times refined, and always entertaining.