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Amber Nash, Voice Of Pam Poovey On Archer - Exclusive Interview

This season of Archer has seen many things change post-Coma O'Clock — the spy agency's entire dynamic has changed, relationships have evolved, and nobody's doing "phrasing" anymore. The closest thing to a constant is HR rep turned field agent Pam Poovey, voiced by Amber Nash. Pam is the only person at the agency who missed Archer and the only one glad to have him back. Looper got some insight on why this is, straight from the horse's mouth... and it helped that the horse wasn't horking down bear claws.

Looper spoke with Nash via Zoom about season 11 of Archer. Nash explained how Pam is the heart of the show, how Archer is her best friend, and what it's like going back to normal after the coma seasons. She also spoke about her experience on Archer as a whole, the evolution of Pam, and life as an Atlanta theater actor.

Back to reality

After three seasons of being not Pam, you're Pam again — but there were also three years of unseen character development. How do you approach that?

From an actor's standpoint?


In the past, for the last three seasons, every time we rebooted, and had a new thing, I'd go to the first day of recording for that season, and be like, "Okay guys, what's new? What do you want me to do? I'm ready." And then they'd be like, "Nope, same thing you always do. Nothing changes." And I'd be like, "Man, I really wanted to do something different." Because they always wanted, no matter what the character looked like, to always be very much Pam, and sound very much like Pam. So honestly, as an actor, not a lot of stretching that I had to do, but it is really fun to go back to the regular world, and see what's going on, and how things have changed. So I'm really excited for that as an actor, but also for the fans to get to see it.

Archer clearly ruined everything by coming back.

Yeah. Everybody's like, "Come on, man. We just figured it out!"

Pam seems to be the only one who's actually happy to see Archer again. Do you have any insight as to why Pam would miss Archer?

I think it's funny, because I think that, at the end of the day, everybody in the Archer world is a terrible human being. But I do think that everybody still, somewhere, cares about each other. And I do think that Pam's the heart of the show. I think that Archer really is her best friend, and she's probably Archer's. Maybe he wouldn't admit it as readily as Pam would admit it. So I think that's why she's glad to have her buddy back, so they can start getting into trouble together again.

The evolution of Pam's voice

I've watched Archer from the beginning a few times, and the actual voice of Pam — not just the character of Pam, but Pam's voice — has changed dramatically from season one to where you brought her to now. Can you explain why that is, or how that happened?

You know, that's so awesome to hear somebody say, because I haven't gone back, and watched all the episodes, even though I thought about it at the beginning of the pandemic, I was like, "That'd be a fun thing to do." But when I do hear stuff from the first couple of seasons, one of my friends actually said that Pam sounded a lot more like Amber in the early days, and Pam's become more and more Pam, like the voice has changed over time. Which I don't think was necessarily something I meant to do. I think that I just became more comfortable with the character. And Pam's really the only character that has a bit of a character voice. Everybody else's voice is just their voice. And the guys actually said, in the beginning, Matt and Adam were like, "We don't really want people to do character voices." But yeah, that's just what happened. So I'm not exactly sure, but that's such a great question to think about.

Yeah, because the Pam from the early season sounds a lot like the way you're speaking to me right now.


And I'm used to a little more rasp when I hear the more recent Pam.

Yeah. It's interesting. That's such a great thing to think about! I'm not exactly sure why I've done it that way, but it has happened. It's evolved for sure.

Fights and eating in the booth

So Pam gets into a lot of fights this season. How do you voice act fights? Getting beaten up?

You know what's funny? Is that we always wait until the end. We'll go through the script in order, and if there's a fight scene, or there's exertion, which happens a lot in Archer. So there's lots of where we're like breathing heavily to get into a line, or getting punched. And so we wait for all the exertion voices to happen at the end. But after a recording, I am sweaty, I've been in there punching, and moving around, because you can really hear the difference when you're just standing still versus when you're actually moving your body around, and what's happening to your voice because of it. So it's a lot of fun to go into the booth, and just screw around.

I've seen the videos of you doing the bear claws thing, and you've eaten a lot in the booth.

Yeah. Particularly in season five when Pam was eating all that cocaine. And I mean, I would eat just about anything they had at the studio, like cheese puffs, and granola bars, and water. I put pencils and tissue in my mouth. Everything's been in my mouth in order to record Pam's lines.

I'm going to try to contain myself here, but Pam has ruined the way I say the word "bear claws."

Say it now.

You know like "bear clawshhh." You have to kind of add a little "schh" to the end.

[Laugh] That's awesome.

A few years back, when I was writing for a different website, I interviewed Jessy Lynn Martens, [the singing voice of Cherlene in Archer Vice] and she said you two would go out and have fun all the time. You would go bar hopping with her, things like that.


I'm just going to tell you what she said about you: "Amber is one of the funniest people I think I've ever met in my life, and it's hard to even go out with her without bringing a second pair of underwear because she is just nonstop."

[Laughs] That's so much fun! We did have a lot of fun! There was a lot of drinking during those times when we were recording all that stuff. It was super fun.

Do you know what she's doing now? I haven't seen much of her lately.

I don't, but she's such a talented, incredible musician. So I'm not exactly sure what she's up to.

Lucky Yates and Atlanta talent

So you and Lucky know each other very well, obviously. Do you ever do any recording together, or bounce ideas off each other for your two characters?

When we record our stuff for Archer, it'll usually be that I'll see him at the studio. I'll go in first, and then he's usually after me. And as far as stuff for Archer goes, we don't really have the opportunity to work together in the booth, or to bounce stuff off each other, but we're always there. So I always know that he's outside, with everybody else, laughing. And so I can hear his laugh when I can hear the producers laughing, which is really, really fun. I usually stick around for a little while, while he's recording, but mostly we collaborate on stuff that's not related to Archer. Like we're working on a podcast together, and we see each other all the time, and we do theater together. So that's when we work together most.

How's Dad's Garage [the Atlanta theater where Nash and Yates work] doing with the pandemic? Is it still open?

No, we had to close down. It's been tough, but luckily our theater was in a good financial place, that we were able to weather the storm, and help out some of our artists that make all their money doing gigs and stuff, but we moved to stuff online. So we have a Twitch channel that we're doing shows on, and Lucky and I did a show for a while. It's gone away, but there's always new stuff happening just to keep us all in shape for doing live performances.

A few years back, when I was writing for a different website, I interviewed Jessy Lynn Martens, [the singing voice of Cherlene in Archer Vice] and she said you three would go out and have fun all the time. You would go bar hopping with her, things like that.


I'm just going to tell you what she said about you: "Amber is one of the funniest people I think I've ever met in my life, and it's hard to even go out with her without bringing a second pair of underwear because she is just nonstop."

[Laughs] That's so much fun! We did have a lot of fun! There was a lot of drinking during those times when we were recording all that stuff. It was super fun.

Do you know what she's doing now? I haven't seen much of her lately.

I don't, but she's such a talented, incredible musician. So I'm not exactly sure what she's up to.

Field missions and live performances

So something else happens this season that Pam and Krieger get to go on a mission together, and that's new. How did that come together for you to two?

You know what's funny, is I feel like in the past, that would just never be allowed, because they're the two least capable people going on missions together. But they're also, I feel like the squirrellyest. So no matter what, they could figure it out together, because they'll do anything to make it work. So it must've just been, the writer was like, "Hey, wait a minute. These two have never been on a mission together. Let's see what happens."

So is there any way you approach going on a mission that's a little different than what you normally do? Or do you just read what's in front of you?

I pretty much just read what's in front of me. I definitely read over the script to get an idea of what we're going to be getting into, so that I'm prepared for it. But for the most part, as far as the acting goes, it's always the same.

You have a background in psych. Do you think that helps you approach your characters, having a psych degree and working in that field for a bit?

I think so. And I think that it also helps me deal with other actors that can be difficult. [Laughs] But yeah, it definitely helps me get into the mind of characters, as I'm creating new characters, and learning how a character works. It definitely helps a lot.

I think it's fair to say Pam has changed the most out of any character. Most of the characters are basically doing the same role they were before. Pam's role [HR to field agent] has completely changed. How much of that was your call, and how much of that was what was told was going to happen to you?

I think it was a little bit of both. In the beginning, I think that Pam was just an extra character. They needed somebody that they could beat up on, that was the butt of all the jokes. And then, as Adam kept writing, and seeing what I could do as the character, but also what the character was capable of, I think he was like, "Oh, well we need somebody to do this, let Pam do it." And then it was pretty awesome. And he was like, "We need somebody to do this, let Pam do it." So she's kept growing as a character into the point that she's capable of doing just about anything. So I'd like to believe that it's partially that they wanted the character to be more fleshed out. But also Adam was like, "Cool! Amber can handle doing this stuff, and let's throw more at her."

In times when there's not a pandemic, you often do Archer Live with the other cast members. What is the difference between recording on your own, knowing the part, and then doing it with other people around you?

Oh my God, it's so much fun. Because I'm a live performer, getting to do Archer Live... The first time I got to share an actual stage with Chris Parnell, that was huge for me. I grew up watching him on SNL, and he's such an incredible comedic actor, and everybody's so cool. So us all getting to work together, and be in front of an audience that is going bananas, and there's all these cosplayers out there, it was just something that I'll never forget. I wish we could do it again. It's so much fun.

Fan interactions and cosplay

You talk about fan interactions a lot, and the story I always see you bring up is a male Pam. Do you have any other memorable fan interactions at conventions, or anywhere else besides that?

Yes, actually, this is a great one. Lucky and I went to a smaller Con. It was just him and I, and we're in Portland, Maine. Everything was at this one hotel, and it was after hours. So people, all the booths were shut down, but people were still staying at the hotel, so they were walking around, and Lucky and I were looking for a place to get a drink. And this guy and his girlfriend come up, and he's like, "Hey!" He asks Lucky, "Hey, will you sign my girlfriend's butt?" And I was like, "Only if I get to sign your butt!" And so I signed his butt, and Lucky signed her butt, and it was like, "Well now we're all friends forever!"

Well... I don't know how to respond to that.

Just be glad you weren't there.

I kind of wish I were. So how do you find fan response, in general? Because I know people @ you on Twitter all the time, you're very interactive with fans. What's your average fan interaction like online these days?

It's usually always pretty positive. People are so supportive, and I'm doing more on Instagram now, I think like a lot of people, than on Twitter. But it's always been so fun, and I've actually made some good friends through Twitter. And actually Lucky and I, last year, did an Archer after show that was live on Facebook. We had a cosplayer come, who was a Pam cosplay. She's really well known in the cosplay community because she's so good. And I know her from Twitter, and invited her to be on the show, and it was such a cool opportunity for stuff like that to happen.

Honestly, the way people cosplay these characters, I mean, when they get the shades on them, and everything...

Yeah, that's the best, or when they do the lines! The hard black lines in their makeup, and on their costume. It's so cool!

Running gags and favorite moments

As Archer goes on, they phase out the catchphrases, but reference them as past catchphrases. This season they've made a few references to "sploosh" no longer being said. And when it is said, it's referenced to something that's not said anymore. What's the thought process behind phasing out catchphrases, and doing stuff like that?

I think when Adam was writing the show, he is particularly fond of bringing something up, and then just never, ever talking about it again. I think that's part of his comedy. Like when all the ISIS stuff happened, and we needed to change the name, the way that it was dealt with in the show was so brilliant in my opinion, because there's just a scene going on. And in the background, there's just two workers taking the sign off of the wall, and rolling it away. And it was just never talked about again. So I think that Adam's a real fan of just letting stuff die, because it makes people want more. They want to know what happened to it. And I think, so that's part of his legacy, that other writers, as they write the new seasons, have picked up and kept going, which I really appreciate.

So what are your favorite moments as Pam? It can be this season, it can be any season.

Oh man, I really did love season five! I loved when Pam and Archer got to work together. They got to be out in the field together, and solidify their relationship. I also loved when Pam and Archer had sex for the first time. When that happened, Adam Reed actually called me to tell me, because he knew I was going to be really excited. So he wanted to warn me of what was coming. So that was really fun too. I loved the episode with Edie where we go to Poovey Farms and we meet Pam's sister. That was also really fun to see her backstory a little bit more. Those have all been really good ones.

I love everything on Poovey Farms. It's so good.

Me too! I want to see more of Poovey Farms.

Christian Slater and career arcs

Do you have any favorite guest stars that have come on the show?

I think my number one has got to be Christian Slater, because we got to actually [meet him]. I don't get to meet everybody, right? Because people are recording in different places, and oftentimes they don't know who I am. But I got to meet Christian Slater, because he did New York Comic Con with us, and he's done other stuff with us. He did San Diego Comic Con. He's the nicest — surprisingly nicest — man you've ever met. He was so gracious, and so happy to be a part of the show. And he knew who I was! He knew my name, and I was just like, "Oh my God, Christian Slater, you're the best!"

This show has been big for you and Lucky, but you're not as well known as, say, Chris Parnell or H. Jon Benjamin.


Do you find it's a good thing, or a bad thing, or some combination of both, that you're not as well known as these people?

I think it makes sense. I mean, those guys were all really well established celebrities before the show started. I think when I go to Comic Con, and we're with Aisha, or Judy, or Jessica, and seeing them get mobbed in public is like, "Oh my God, I'm so glad that I don't have to deal with that in the same way that they do!" So I think there's pluses and minuses to it, that I can get around without people knowing who I am. But they've all had incredible careers, that I'm totally jealous of that, for sure.

Pre-Archer and getting in the credits

You were brought on because you knew Adam Reed beforehand, rather than any audition. Could you talk a bit about how you got to become Pam from that regard?

Yeah, that's right. So, because I'm in Atlanta, they were making shows for Adult Swim, which is also in Atlanta, and they knew us because they were just some dudes making cartoons, and we were some people making theater. And so they would come and see shows, and they were making Frisky Dingo for Adult Swim at the time, and they needed a voice actor that was a woman. And so I auditioned for it and I was completely wrong. I probably wasn't very good at it then either. I'd never really done animation before. So I didn't get the role, but then something changed, and they needed the character. The character changed, and they were like, "Do you want to do it?" I was like, "Yeah."

I just did two seasons of that. They would call me, I did so many voices on that show, because I think they would need something done, and they'd just call me, and I'd be there in 10 minutes, and they could pay me under the table, and that'd be the end of it. So I think I was really easy to work with. So when Archer came along, I'm not exactly sure what happened before they brought me in, but they wanted me to do the role, and I had to get network approval, and go through the steps, but they championed me so hard. So I was really lucky. Lucky Yates came on later, because Krieger didn't speak in the first season, I feel like.

Very little anyway. He didn't get a credit in the opening credits for a few seasons.

Yeah, and I didn't in the first season but I did by the second season. The funny thing about that is that we had made the first season, and we didn't know if it was going to be popular or not. We just didn't know what people were going to think of it, or if we'd get a second season. So in the off time, I called Matt Thompson, our executive producer, and was like, "Hey man, I got a job doing shows on a cruise ship. So I can't do this anymore." And he's like, "What? You're on a TV show." And I was like, "Yeah, but I'm not making any money! They're going to pay me to go do shows on a cruise ship!" And he was like, "Okay, if you say no to that gig, I'll put your name in the opening credits." And I was like, "Done!" So that's how I got to the opening credit.

This season and dream sequences

So what can you tell us about Pam this season?

It's been a long time since we recorded, because we were supposed to premiere earlier this year, but we couldn't because of the pandemic. So honestly, I've forgotten a lot of what the episodes are about. But I will say that one of the things that I find the most fun, at least when I was reading the scripts, is seeing the torture of Archer trying to get back, and think that he just is going to seamlessly slide right back into life with everybody. And him being tortured is very funny. It adds a lot of comedy. And Pam really caring about him, and honestly, that's all I remember. So I'll be watching with all of you guys to see what happens this season.

It was very sad for Archer, those first few episodes. It wasn't just funny, but sad.

Yeah. It's pretty cool that an animated show can have that effect. I remember watching the end of last season, and seeing all the flashes, and Malory, with her little bed side next to him, and I was like, "This is actually really sad, and sweet."

How did you react when Adam Reed came to you and said, "We're going to do a series of dream sequences?"

I was really excited because I think that, when you're doing comedy, if you're not pushing the boundaries, then it's just going to get stale. And a lot of people didn't like that we were genre-hopping, but then a lot of people loved it. And for the actors, I think it was so cool, because it was so fresh. It was like being on a new show every season. So I really liked it. He was like, "You're not going to believe this. The network's going to let me do it, and this is what's happening." So every season he'd call us, and give us an idea of what he was planning. When he told me that Pam was going to be a giant rock monster, I was like, "Awesome!" So it was a lot of fun for us.

It seems like you enjoy when Pam gets kind of degraded.

I mean, I think that's where she's at her best, because she gets everybody on her side. Pam's such a champion for the underdog, I think, because of that.

Catch Archer Wednesdays at 10pm/9c on FXX. Stay tuned to Looper for more exclusive Archer coverage.