When Amber Nash started on Archer, she was practically an unknown in the industry.
Now she's a beloved voice actress who has set her sites on goals to get out from behind the facade of Archer's "Pam" Poovey.
Find out what might be up with Poovey during Archer Season 8, what Amber would do if her voice betrayed her and so much more as you read highlights from our interview below.
When I was at NYCC, everything was top secret, and we were all in the dark. They were even playing as if all the characters were going to be different, new names, etc. You're wearing pants, and nobody is calling you Pam. What's the biggest difference in your character this season?
I think you've got all the information that I think I can give away. She is going by Poovey. I can't even say "she" is going by Poovey; the character is going by Poovey. Um, I haven't even seen the first four episodes, so I'm super jealous that you've seen them! I can't wait to see them. I have to wait to see them until they come to TV like everybody else.
With what you've seen, too, you can probably tell everybody is getting to know each other again for the first time, like in kind of a cool way, but at the end of the day, everybody is still the same asshole they were in previous seasons. Like the same kind of jerk to each other.
I love that I'm partners with Cyril, because Cyril was starting to, last season, become like a really bad character, like a bad guy, which was really fun, because that's totally like spilled over into this season even thought it's a completely different time and place, so yeah. That's really all I can give you.
Since you appear to be mannish, we'll say, are you getting the opportunity to use words and phrases that you maybe haven't gotten to use in the past, that maybe would spoil anything?
Well, I will tell you one thing, and you might have seen this. I'm not sure if you've seen it up until it happened before or after Episode 4, but one of the fun things that happened while I was recording this season is that I speak a lot of Chinese in the episodes, which I don't in real life.
So we had to record some Chinese dialog for me, which was so hard, and I was so bad at it because I'm also not one of those people who just kind of clicks into language and is just so good at it. So I had a lot of fun and the directors were just like pulling their hair out trying to get these Chinese phrases correct. That was something that was really fun this season.
You know, I've always wondered that. How hard is it to try to pick up on another language just in the course of reading a script. It's not like you have to learn a whole language to learn lines, but you have to sound somewhat realistic. How long does that take?
Yeah! It's really hard. For me, what they did, because there was another episode when Lucky had to speak German, and what they did was, they had a person at Floyd County that speaks Chinese, um, Mandarin, and they had him record all the lines for me so I could listen to them with the right inflections and delivery.
So I got them in a recording a couple of days beforehand – but not much time to work on them – but also what we would do when we got into the booth, after I recorded all my English lines like I normally would, they would have it come through my headphones and I'd hear it and I'd be able to immediately record it.
Like basically just parrot it back. That's the only way to do it because I don't speak the language and I don't... Especially something like Mandarin. My mouth doesn't even know how to make the sounds, right? I think I'm doing it and they're like, uh, no. [laughs]
I can't even imagine!
[laughs] It was pretty crazy but super fun! That's one of the fun things about Archer. So much crazy shit happens on that show that is so much fun as an actor, that we're not doing the same thing all the time. We're always doing something new and different and crazy.
As each season begins, your characters are always the same, but they're always somewhat different because there are different themes. What do you do, what's you approach to tweak Pam so that she's slightly different and yet the same?
Yeah, good question. I usually, it's usually just upon reading what the first episode is gonna be. But when we have big overhauls like we Season 5, Archer Vice, and then this season, and even after Vice, when we went back, kind of, to where things are going in Season 6, it a little bit felt like a reboot again back to things and then when we moved to LA, just kind of knowing all that.
And we used to get a heads up from the production team that would let us know what's going on. But if it's a really big deal like this season was, we get a call from Adam, and he kind of explains to us what he's planning on doing and it's so fun because he's so excited about it.
That's the fun thing about it because he writes all the episodes by himself and the fun thing about it is when you read it, you can tell he's excited and re-energized and charged up to write this new world.
So for this one, when he called, he was like so excited, it was like this man had fallen off a ladder and hit his head and had this brilliant stroke of genius and now he was going to tell us all about it. That's how it felt.
And for this season, well your character is loosely based on Russell Crowe from LA Confidential. And I was like, Cool, that's super exciting. So I went and watched that and some other noir stuff just to like have it in the back of my mind, but when I went in to record, I was like, 'Guys, do you want Poovey to sound any different,?' And they were like, 'Nope, nope.' So, like, it's all in there, hopefully informing what's happening, but it's not anything too different that I had to try for, you know?
That's so interesting, though! You're based on Russell Crowe from LA Confidential! I like that. What was your favorite like that you've ever delivered on Archer, of all time?
Oh, wow. I think it might be when I was talking to Lana, and I said, "You're so hot for him, I could reheat this chili with your cooch." That's a good one. And I get that a lot at cons and stuff. People will talk about it, so it's one of my favorites.
If you could have any other line on the show, which one would you want a crack at OR what type of character would you want to be written for you for an episode or two so you could have fun with an extra voice?
If I could play another role, first, I'd say Gilette. He's my favorite because he's so sassy and fun. And then if I could play another character, because there have been times throughout the show when they've needed a secondary voice for something, like Krieger's bride, his Japanese hologram bride.
They had me originally record it and were like, 'This is terrible," and then they had Judy do it. So now Judy does it all the time. [laughs] I was like, thanks, guys, thanks for the confidence! But I get is. So I've been hounding Adam about this since the very first time we saw Poovey Farms.
I was like, Look, I want to do a whole episode at Poovey Farms and I get to play all of Pam's family, like Nutty Professor-style. Like I get to do all the voices for the whole family. He was like, 'Yeah, yeah, we'll get to that.' [chuckles] I was like you're never going to write that episode!
It's running out of time! Now he has a timeline.
It's true. Well, yeah. We'll see what happens.
So, why voice acting?
It's because I got a job doing it. [laughs] By trade, and what I've done for the longest time, is I'm an improviser. I do comedy live on stage. I was living in Atlanta and just working on stage, paycheck to paycheck or gig to gig, just trying to slap together enough to money to survive and one of our ensemble members, a guy who also worked there, is a member of an ad agency and he needed somebody who could come in quickly and record a voice for a radio spot.
He was like, 'Can you do it?' And I said, 'Yeah, I'll be there in 10 minutes.' So I went in and did it and he kept using me for other things, and I kept getting more things under my belt, so it seemed like I knew what I was doing. And another guy at the theater was an animator, and he was working with these guys, and they were doing Sea Lab and Frisky Dingo.
He knew some of us there, and they were looking for a character voice and had me audition for it. And I was wrong, totally wrong for what they were looking for, so they didn't use me for that, but then a different character came along later, and they said, 'Let's have Amber come in and do it,' and I think, honestly, what kept me working was they could call me, I'd be there in 10 minutes, I'd do whatever they wanted.
I can't do accents very well, but I can do character voices very well. I think that comes from doing improv for so many years and having to change my voice all the time. So they'd have me come in and do a little here or there and they'd pay me under the table and it was super easy. And when Archer came along, they said, 'Do you want to do this?' I said yeah and didn't even have to audition for it, which is so crazy because I was a completely unknown actor.
But your voice was known, so that's all that mattered.
They knew your voice. That's good enough. So what if your voice were suddenly taken away from you. What would you do instead?
Ohh. I'd probably write. I'd probably spend some time doing that so I could still tell stories. Yeah, that's what I'd do. My husband would probably be happy. [laughs]
What's the funniest thing that's happened to you recently?
Oh my God. Oohhh. Actually, it happened just this weekend. Because I know Aisha Tyler because she's on Archer...because I like in Atlanta and I get to come out here to LA, which is a completely different vibe. You know, LA is just like a totally different place.
Aisha was like, 'Oh, hey! Let's have dinner," and so we had dinner and the next day she said, 'I'm going to the beach, you wanna come?' I said sure. So I, in my Georgia way, pack a re-usable Ralph's bag and put my computer in there and a towel and my sunscreen and wear a schlubby outfit, because I'm going to the beach, right? I'm going to go sit in the sand on the beach.
And then I show up to the address she gives me in Malibu and it's like this parking lot with a bunch of very fancy cars, and I'm driving like a rental Dodge Dart [laughs]. So I pull up to the valet stand and I'm like, 'Um, is this where I'm supposed to be?'
And it's like a private, very fancy club. And I'm so totally...I'm not talking this Ralph's bag inside this place with my stuff in it. I was very out of place. But then Aisha's so cool, she's like, "Oh fuck it, come in and have fun." So I went in and we drank a bunch of mimosas, and it was super fun.
Now that Archer is winding down, and I hate this question in interviews, which is why I'm asking it, where do you see yourself in five years?
Oh boy, if I had my way, I would have my own television show, and I'd be a super huge star. So that's what I'm working toward. But who knows what will happen? Like I said before, I come from theater, and a lot of people know me as a voice actress and assume that's what I want to do.
But really, what I want to be doing is on camera work. So I've been making my own stuff and getting it out there. I did a web series a couple of years ago called Hart of America. H A R T of America.
The main character is named Grace Hart. She's a detective. And it's crazy and over the top, and I play four characters in it. It's all online at Hartofamerica.com. It's like ten episodes; you can check it out there.
Is that your own series? You did it?
Yep. I made it with the theater company I work with and my husband. My husband and his writing partner wrote it, and they directed and produced it, and it's so fun. So right now, that's kind of what I'm focusing on is doing my own stuff and you know, just being a creative so I can have my own show.
Be sure to check out Amber's work at HartofAmerica.com and on Archer Season 8 Episode 1 when it premieres Wednesday, April 5 on FXX (New Network!) at 10/9c. Let's help her achieve her dream of starring in her own show!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.