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'Archer' star Aisha Tyler on comedy, awkwardness and voicing Lana Kane

Actress Aisha Tyler speaks onstage at the
Actress Aisha Tyler speaks onstage at the "Archer" Screening & Q&A during Comic-Con International 2012 held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel on July 12, 2012 in San Diego, California.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Actress Aisha Tyler speaks onstage at the
The character Lana from "Archer," voiced by Aisha Tyler.
Actress Aisha Tyler speaks onstage at the
Aisha Tyler
Patrick McElhenneyFX Network

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Tonight marks the premiere of season 5 of the hit TV show "Archer," the raunchy, animated comedy about a spy agency called ISIS. 

The head spy is Sterling Archer, a heavy drinking, philandering, smart alec voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. His foil is fellow spy Lana Kane, a gorgeous, talented and whip smart woman played by our guest Aisha Tyler.


In addition to her role on "Archer", you can also see Tyler a host on the CBS show "The Talk", and the reboot of the improv game show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway? Some of you may recall her role as Ross' paleontologist love interest on "Friends."

Tyler joins Take Two to talk about "Archer," and what else she has on the horizon.

Interview Highlights:

On the inspiration for her character Lana on "Archer":
"She was not modeled after me. She was fully drawn when I got the job. They actually hired another actress and she wasn't working out and then I just got a call, "Do you want to do this pilot?" And I didn't have to audition. I just kind of read eight pages of that pilot script and it was so funny and it was so dirty, and I thought, "This is never getting on television so I'll just take this check and spend it on what hollywood people spend it on, champagne and edible diamonds. Yes, whatever we do when we're running around Hollywood"…She was modeled on a Hooters waitress, which just goes to show you what Matt and Adam do on their spare time."

On seeing the character for the first time:
"I just remember thinking she was really pretty and that she needed a longer skirt. There's really nothing in there to see. It's just kind of void in the uncanny valley so I shouldn't be worried about her modesty since she clearly has none. But what I love about her is that she's just so matter-of-fact and her sexuality is really an after thought to her and she rarely uses it. 

On going from Darthmouth to comedy:
"I just had a deep-seated desire to cruelly disappoint my parents. I was always a theatrical kid. I acted out a lot, I was very nerdy, I was very isolated, which I made up for by kind of talking and trying to entertain people and get them to like me, so I did theatre and improv in high school and college, but always as a hobby. Then I graduated and I realized that didn't want to have the career equivalent of being an attorney, even an environmental attorney…That was like the first ten years of my career. I ate day-old chicken wings that I had stolen from a comedy club. And my husband went into law and one attorney in the family is plenty."

On where she mines her comedic material:
"I've always been an outsider. People remark on my height. I'm six-feet-tall now, but I've been this tall since, I was like 5'8 in the third grade. I'm just a giant from a very young age and I was also the only black kid in my school. Not only was I the only black kid and the only poor kid, but my parents were transcendental meditation devotees and I live in an ashram for a good portion of my childhood…I think that when you're an outsider, it makes you a good observer. It makes you that kind of steamy, nose-pressed-against-the-glass kind of watching what people are doing. But I'm also incredibly self-deprecating, which also comes from kind of being a little bit of a loner."