What do you do when you’re offered a one way ticket to the danger zone in the middle of Comic-Con? You take it, obviously, and that’s how you end up on a yacht with the cast of the instant classic FX series Archer as they’re knocking back whiskey and reenacting a fan-favorite episode.
As the sun set in the San Diego harbor, series creator Adam Reed took the stage alongside cast-members H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Aisha Tyler (Lana Kane), Judy Greer (Cheryl Tunt), Amber Nash (Pam Poovey), Chris Parnell (Cyril Figgis), and Lucky Yates (Doctor Krieger). After a rousing rendition of ‘Mulatto Butts’ from Benjamin, the show was underway. Well, almost. First, drinks. Then an audition process that found two lucky audience members reading alongside the cast as Milton, the high-tech toaster, and a sassy 911 operator. And most delightfully, the introduction of a surprise guest, none other than Slater himself, Mr. Christian Slater, who narrated the episode.
The episode in question? The Season 6 favorite “Vision Quest”. If that doesn’t sound familiar, don’t feel bad, it’s better known as “the elevator episode”. You know, the one where the whole ISIS crew (save Mallory) end up trapped in an elevator, Pam chugs a 40, pees all over the elevator, and of course (this is Pam we’re talking about), ends up buck naked. Remember it now? Yeah…
Gross though it may be, “Vision Quest” is an ideal episode for a live read since it’s a single-location, dialogue-based episode with almost no action. It also has a significant shortage of Mallory, who doesn’t appear until the end. On that note, in a delightful surprise, the amazing Jessica Walters (who usually sits these live shows out) came out on stage just in time for Mallory to save the day and close the episode out.
After the live read, the cast did a mini-Q&A with the audience that saw a resounding cheer for the return of Wee Baby Seamus (though Reed didn’t seem too thrilled at the prospect) and the reveal of the casts favorite alcoholic drinks (Tyler likes a nice Manhattan, while Greer prefers Vodka…but not the cheap stuff that will give you a headache). Reed also addressed what happened to Woodhouse, Archer’s much-abused butler who was noticeably absent from the last season. Reed led the audience in a round of applause for the recently deceased George Coe, who voiced Woodhouse, and explained that his absence was never addressed in the show because he didn’t know how to process it. With a promise that it would come up in the next season, and a loving memory of Woodhouse in our hearts, the night’s antics continued.
It’s the kind of experience that really makes a group of people come together (Are we doing phrasing again?). The kind of experience that reaffirms why Archer is one of the best comedies on TV. And, perhaps most importantly, the kind of experience that makes Christian Slater laugh a lot, because Christian Slater laughing is a beautiful thing.
You can check out a snippet of the Q&A in the video below, in which Aisha Tyler delightfully summarizes the spirit of the live reads (kind of a drunken basket of puppies), or scroll through the photos to see it in action.