Finding Aisha Tyler isn’t hard. In fact, you’d have to work at it to avoid her — not that you’d want to. She’s the co-host of ABC’s The Talk, the voice of Lana Kane in the sixth season of the FX hit Archer, the host of the Girl on Guy podcast and even a video game character in Ubisoft’s bestselling Watch Dogs game (she’s a regular host of Ubisoft’s E3 press conferences in LA every June). The actress and comedian even directed several episodes of Irish webseries Hipsterverse with Dylan Townsend, which debuts in March 2015. She took a few minutes between her seemingly never-ending lineup of projects to take on Playboy’s Lucky 7 Questions.
What do you think the secret is to the success Archer has had over the years?
The network committed to the show building over time because it wasn’t a success right out of the box. It was a creative success, and that’s a testament to Adam Reed’s extraordinary talent and his weird Byzantine mind, and the fact that FX allowed the show to be what it was and didn’t try to change it. It took us several seasons to stop being a cult hit and a critic’s favorite and turn into a legitimate hit for the network. We’re starting Season 6 and I don’t think we really started to get real momentum until maybe Season 3. I love the show and I’m happy that it’s doing well and it’s continuing, but we’ve always thought of it as a little show. And it’s always really a nice surprise when people say that they watch it.
How did going virtual in Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs video game compare to getting animated in Archer?
The process for doing my avatar for Watch Dogs was a little bit more high-tech. They took a lot of photographs and created this 3D model, which honestly sounds like me but doesn’t look like me. My Lana actually looks a lot more like me than my avatar in Watch Dogs, and weirdly Lana was drawn months and months before I was even offered the job. She just magically looked like me and she’s probably morphed to look a little bit more like me over the seasons.
What would the Archer video game be if you were in charge?
A very, very long drinking game in which players both virtual and real get fucked up and drop the controller and pass out on their couch. There’s already myriad Archer-related drinking games out there, so all we need to do is add the controller. Every time Pam says “shit snacks” or I say “splooge” or Archer says “do you not,” you drink. Or every time somebody on the show drinks a new drink, which by the way is highly effective at getting you drunk without any more elaboration. It’s a show about a bunch of unscrupulous, alcoholic, sex-addicted assholes, so everybody on the show is drunk for most of the day. It’s only natural that people watching would get drunk as well.
How have you seen your Girl on Guy podcast evolve over the years?
It’s in Season 4 now and I think I’ve gotten more confident as an interviewer and the show has found its own identity. A lot of times people set out to come up with something that’s a really highly formatted show about music, or a show about how movies are made. I just wanted it to be a show about things that guys love, but it’s evolved into more of a show about the evolution of the artist and personal sacrifice in the pursuit of creative dreams. So it’s gotten a lot more heady, or at least I think it’s gotten a lot more heady. Maybe everybody else still thinks it’s a show about farts and dicks, which it is as well.
What was your first exposure to Playboy?
It was in a friend’s powder room at their house, where their father had a little stack of spank mags. I’m sure you guys love being called a spank mag, but I’m sure he was only reading it for the articles. I was raised in one of those hippie-dippie families where nudity was not the work of the devil, so I don’t think I was scandalized by it. I was like, ���Oh, pictures of naked ladies, all right.” And then underneath the stack there was a Spider-Man comic book, which was way more interesting. Although I would have liked to have seen Spider-Man naked. That would have worked for me.
That might have been more Playgirl than Playboy, right?
Playgirl. Thank God for the Internet because Playgirl’s never gotten it right. Now we can just go straight to the amateur porn and get the job done.
What movie scared you most as a kid?
There was this television movie, The Day After. The ads were so scary that my mother wouldn’t let me watch it. I was having nightmares about nuclear armageddon for weeks before it ever aired, so I actually never even got to see the film. Yeah. That was a vivid imagination. I was a very accelerated kid. At eight, I was worried about thermonuclear war.
Heaven forbid you end up on death row, what would be your last meal?
Oh, human flesh probably. Is that, can you not get that? It’s not, not legal. [Laughs.] No, what would I do? Last meal would definitely be fois gras?, a great bottle of red wine, and then a nice old American whiskey. I’m a big believer in American whiskey.
What’s the first song you knew the words to?
“Rappers Delight,” by the Sugar Hill Gang. Because all my friends would compete over who could do the whole song from beginning to end without making any mistakes.
What was your first car?
My first car was a red Opal Manta. I had a summer job working at a vitamin store in San Francisco — because the only jobs in San Francisco had to do with green shit: vitamins or selling pot. I saw the ad in the paper and I bought it for $1,000. It was beautiful. It had four speeds. It was a German car that they didn’t import anymore, so when the starter broke I had to go to a junkyard and get a new starter — which I didn’t attach and just let roll around on the floor. The wires frayed to the point where you could just start the car by kicking the starter cable. I put in a Blaupunkt stereo system that I hid inside the glove compartment and left the old crappy AM radio in. When you turned the bass up the car would literally hop down the street like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. And then eventually someone discovered it and stole my car. I cried. I loved that car like it was a person. It was very traumatic.
What’s your pop culture blind spot?
All those reality shows where people are pulling off each other’s weaves and hitting each other with their prosthetic limbs. I know nothing about them, nothing about people. Someone said the word Kenya [from The Real Housewives of Atlanta] and I was like, “the country?” I don’t know anything about those people and I do not care to know.
What was your favorite mistake?
Oh, I make them every day. I wrote an entire book called Self-Inflicted Wounds, all about my mistakes. I think mistakes are much more interesting than successes. It’s hard to pick just one. They’re all my babies, but there is a really good story in the book about having an epic crush on a guy and finally getting hooked up with him and getting so drunk that I vomited all over his car — which I later found out was his girlfriend’s car, so she deserved it.
John Gaudiosi has been covering video games for 25 years for outlets like Playboy, Wired, Fortune, The Hollywood Reporter and Reuters. He’s also a co-owner of gaming site www.shacknews.com. He tweets at @JohnGaudiosi.