Most of Comic-Con is spent either waiting in line or huddled in crowded rooms, so the chance to see a live reading of an Archer episode aboard a yacht docked just behind the convention center was a welcome diversion. The entire cast of FX’s animated secret agent/drug kingpin/private-detective series was there, with special guest Christian Slater serving as narrator.
The chosen episode was season six’s “Vision Quest,” also known as “the one where everyone gets stuck in an elevator.” The cast picked audience members to voice Milton (the mobile toaster) and the sassy 911 operator, and they were off, as images from the ep were projected behind them.
“Vision Quest” was the perfect choice, since it’s almost all dialogue and no action (unless forcing Cyril to remove his sweater vest, or Pam glugging the entire contents of her 40-ounce beer, count as “action”). And at the very end, Jessica Walter, who didn’t initially appear onstage, materialized to deliver Mallory Archer’s very brief (but crucial) lines for the episode.
The performance was very funny, but the best part of the event was the behind-the-scenes stories, both spontaneous and prompted by audience questions.
In response to a question about why the Archer characters look similar, yet not identical, to the actors who voice them, Reed said that they were actually created with the actors in mind. But when it came time to actually start animating, models who resembled the actors were hired as reference, since the show is made in Atlanta and most of them live in New York or Los Angeles.
Of course, this led into some joking at the expense of H. Jon Benjamin, who is woefully (and good-naturedly) aware that he’s the one exception, since he doesn’t at all physically resemble Sterling Archer.
Here’s another story that captures the group’s easy dynamic, shared by Aisha Tyler (Lana Kane):
Archer Live! has toured in the past (though this was its first time being performed on a boat), so hopefully it’ll happen again so that fans who weren’t aboard at Comic-Con can share in the experience.