Amber Nash Talks ‘Archer: Danger Island’ and the Progression of Pam Poovey (Interview)
If you haven’t been watching this season of Archer, man, are you missing out! Archer: Danger Island has been a full return to the bright and hilariously crude humor fans have come to love from the series.
Archer: Danger Island takes place on a tropical island filled with danger at every turn! Starring the original voice cast including H. Jon Benjamin, Jessica Walter, Aisha Tyler, Judy Greer, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash, Adam Reed and Lucky Yates, everyone’s favorite motley crew of dysfunctional secret agents have been reimagined this season adding a fresh, new take on our favorite characters.
This season just so happens to be extra special for the series. On Wednesday, June 6th, Archer will be airing its 100th episode which is quite an achievement! Just ahead of Archer‘s momentous 100th episode, we caught up with Pam Poovey herself, Amber Nash. Amber spoke about the success of the series, her character’s evolution from a dysfunctional Human Resources “professional” to a pin-up sex symbol, and much more!
Denise Caputo: Thanks so much for taking time to speak with us today! Before we get into talking about Archer: Danger Island, I’m interested in learning what it was that drew you into voice and improv acting as a career?
Amber Nash: Before I got started with improv, I earned a degree in psychology. So, I was studying science, and my life was just clinical and textbooky. I needed an outlet, and a friend of mine had seen an improv show and asked me, “Hey, have you ever seen this before?” I’d never seen an improv show, so we went and I was so enamored that I immediately signed up for a class! I started taking classes that weekend.
Improv became a nice release and it was a fun thing to do on the weekends. Then, I became more and more involved in it, until I finally said, “You know what? Maybe I can do this for a living?” That’s when I quit my real job as a counselor for troubled teenagers and started working at the theater as the education director and then I was doing gigs and teaching at the theater. I just fell in love with it. I’d always been a ham growing up and always got in trouble for talking in school.
My parents weren’t exactly happy that I was even trying to be an artist for a living, but I was really excited just to try to figure it out. It was rough for a while, but then I got really lucky and I met the guys at Floyd County [then called 70/30]. They were making Sealab 2021 at the time. We knew each other because we were both part of two small arts organizations in Atlanta making weird stuff and they’d come to the theater and see shows. We knew about them because we had some friends that were working on the show. So, I met those guys, and I honestly started doing voice work because somebody just offered me a gig.
It wasn’t ever anything I thought about doing or wanted to get into – I just needed money because I was an actor and was poor. I had started doing a few radio spots for a few bucks here and there, and then I auditioned for the guys at 70/30 for Frisky Dingo and ended up getting a role on that show. That’s how it all started.
DC: Cool. So, now you’re on Archer which is in its ninth season which is so much fun! Archer: Danger Island has been fantastic so far and it’s such a drastic change from last season. The show is back to bright and bubbly and fun and everything. This season, your character, Pam Poovey, has been redesigned as a larger than life, quite literally version of herself. She started out as the quirky Human Resources person and now she’s Archer’s co-pilot. She has also changed a lot as the seasons have progressed. Can you talk a little bit about Pam’s evolution over the past nine season and what she embodies now as a character?
AN: Yeah! It’s been such a crazy roller coaster and all the characters have changed so much. With Pam, in particular, she was never meant to be more than just a secondary or tertiary character. They needed a punching bag a little bit, and it was Pam. Then, over time and throughout the course of getting to know all the actors, he [Adam Reed] started to write the characters a little bit more for the actors as he got to know them better. Pam just blossomed into this crazy, very well-rounded character in a very weird universe kind of way. There isn’t anything she can’t do, and it’s been really amazing. One of the craziest things for me was when Pam was in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. You grow up as an American child and that and Playboy bunnies are all you’ve ever heard about as the epitome of sex symbols.
When they told me that was going to happen, my first reaction was, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I was so excited! One of the most fun things for me has been watching Pam evolve as this sex symbol. It’s so weird because she’s an animated character, but because she doesn’t care and she’s unapologetic about who she is – I think that’s why people really enjoy her. She’s not trying to lose weight. She’s not on a diet. She is who she is and she’s happy about it. It’s been really fun to watch that happen, and for a lot of women that cosplay, they are able to say, “I can cosplay as Pam and not have to cosplay as a character whose size doesn’t match mine.” Its just been really, really fun. I’m so happy about it, and this season, Pam’s so gigantic! She’s like seven feet tall, and so ripped. She’s so muscular it’s insane. I love it!
DC: She is amazing and she’s hilarious! Do you have a favorite Pam one-liner?
AN: Oh, there are so many good ones! “You’re so hot for him, I could reheat this chili in your cooch,” is one of my all-time favorites!
DC: Oh, that’s a great one! So, part of the show’s success and its longevity has to do with the series’ ability to constantly reinvent itself. It started out as an adult spy cartoon and then transitioned into these different thematic seasons with Vice, Dreamland and now Danger Island. What’s it been like, as an actor, continuing to evolve along with these different seasons as opposed to just doing regular straight storylines each season?
AN: It’s been so fun because, for one, it’s just fun to do this show. I wouldn’t be sick of it even if we were doing the same thing every season, but because we’re changing it every season, it keeps it so fresh and exciting! When we first did Vice and it was the first big shake-up, people either loved it or hated it. They were saying, “What? Don’t change anything. Let everything stay the same!”
If you’re going to be good in entertainment, and specifically in comedy, you’ve got to stay fresh. We do that by mixing things up, and now we can literally do anything. We can live in any time period. We can be any type of people. It’s just amazing! At the end of the day, we’re still the same assholes we always were to each other. That’s the fun part. Everyone still treats everybody terribly. Everyone still is, at their core, the same character they’ve always been.
It’s been really fun to figure out how to play that character the same way everybody’s always known and loved them, but you’ve got to put a little bit of a spin on it. When we did Dreamland and I was playing Poovey, who’s gender neutral, I asked the guys, “Do you want me to change my voice at all?” They responded, “No, you’re definitely the same, but just know in the back of your head that this character is based on Russell Crowe’s character from L.A. Confidential.” As an actor, it’s like, what a dream! What a dream and this season, like you said, is so bright and so fun. It’s a bit of a return to playing a more classic Pam. She’s just always giving Archer a hard time and basically keeping him in line. It’s been incredible.
DC: Awesome. Do you have a favorite season or a favorite storyline within a season from the series?
AN: You know, I loved Vice. Vice was my favorite season, and Southbound and Down is my favorite episode of season five because it was the first time you got to see Pam and Archer as a duo because they were on the road together. It was like a road trip movie. It was so fun to watch, and now, I love Danger Island because that’s like a whole season of it. I just love Pam and Archer as a duo. They perfectly balance out each other’s craziness and it’s been really fun to play that. Then, honestly, it’s so long in between when we record the episodes to when they actually air, so I’ve forgotten a lot of the storylines. Every week, I get to watch the show along with everybody else and be like, “Oh yeah! This is so much fun.”
DC: Cool. Currently, Archer is renewed for one additional season, through Season 10. Hypothetically, if next season happened to be the final season for the series, what would the perfect ending be for your character, Pam?
AN: Wow! Ok, this is so stupid that it would never happen, but what if it ended with a big, dumb wedding? You know, like a soap opera would end a storyline – a big, dumb wedding with Pam marrying Archer.
DC: That would be great. Oh my gosh! That would be awesome.
AN: Wouldn’t that be so stupid? (laughs)
DC: I love it! So, here at Fan Fest News, we’re a site that’s for fans, by fans, meaning we celebrate the things that we love and that our readers love in pop culture. With that said, what are some things (tv shows, movies, music, books, etc.) in pop culture that you fangirl over or that you love?
AN: I’m such a huge television watcher. Even if I wasn’t an actor, I’d still watch so much TV. One of the shows that I’m just obsessed with right now is Westworld. So great! I’m excited about the return of Handmaid’s Tale has me excited. I just got into that and I’m about two episodes in. I don’t watch a lot of comedy. I think maybe it’s because I’m in comedy. I really like to watch a lot of dramas, and FX, it’s funny because I work for the network, so it sounds really cheesy to say, but there really are so many incredibly good shows on FX, like Trust. It’s so good! It’s about the Getty family and it’s so interesting!
DC: Awesome. Aside from Archer, do you have any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to share?
AN: Yeah! My husband and I just made a pilot for a travel show that we’re trying to sell. That was really fun, and hopefully, something will happen with that. It’s called Weird City and it’s me and him traveling around and doing all the weird things that different cities have to offer. We also made a short film that we’re getting out to festivals right now, so you can’t see either of those things yet, which is too bad. One of the things you can see is from the theater company I work for in Atlanta called Dad’s Garage. We do a lot of online projects in addition to theater, and we made a web series a few years ago called Hart of America. So, you can go to the website, hartofamerica.com and all the episodes are there. It’s super fun and they’re each only about five minutes apiece.
DC: Great! My last questions for you is, do you have anything that you’d like to say directly to the fans of Archer?
AN: Oh boy, yes! Thanks for hanging in there with us because it’s been a crazy ride, and if we’re all lucky, we’ll get to do it for ten more seasons!
Thank you, Amber Nash, for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to speak with us here at Fan Fest News! We absolutely adore Pam and can’t wait to see more from her in Archer: Danger Island. Make sure you follow Amber on her social media pages! Her Twitter and Instagram handle is @ambercnash.
Also, big congratulations to Amber and the entire cast and crew of Archer on achieving 100 episodes! Here’s to (hopefully) 100 more!