The comedian fielded questions during a conference call to promote the show’s ongoing fourth season, which continues tonight with a strong episode involving Archer reluctantly bonding with his new stepfather, and addressed what it’s like to be the voice of both Sterling Archer and “Bob’s Burgers” patriarch Bob Belcher. Highlights of the call follow:
How do fans react when they realize you look nothing like Archer?
H. Jon Benjamin: There’s been a bunch of people who have not done well to disguise their disappointment. You have a lot of people going “Oh, too bad.” I think it’s more shattering hopes.
What’s the weirdest encounter you’ve had with an “Archer” fan?
I happened to be walking through Central Park, two guys came up to me and it was right next to where they do the handsome cab rides, the horse drawn carriages. It just so happened the guy was right there, so I could give him money. I told the guys to get in with me. It seemed like a good idea but those rides are 45 minutes. It got really awkward after the first 10 minutes. They were just two college kids who were like, “Why are we doing this?” I was like, “I don’t know, I thought it was funny.”
Does voicing Archer help your sex life?
I have not had sex in four and a half years, so it’s an improvement. If you knew how I had sex… not having it is one step above. No, I haven’t tried yet to use Sterling Archer to have sex and I don’t know if that would work out.
How much improv is allowed on the show?
Depending on the scene sometimes we can fool around a little bit. On the whole we pretty much keep to the scripts. The nature in which it’s written, it’s pretty tight. There’s a lot of jokes that have to do with scenes cutting against each other so there’s not much room for it. A lot of things I assume other characters ad-libbed end up [creator and head writer] Adam Reed having written it. Sometimes he’ll rewrite scenes if they don’t work how he thought at the spur of the moment.
How did the “Archer”/”Bob’s Burgers” crossover in the season premiere come about?
Adam had the idea to do it. Apparently he’s a fan of “Bob’s Burgers.” He asked me to ask Loren Bouchard the creator of “Bob’s Burgers,” so I was like the middle man. But it went really smoothly. It was around a 15 to 20 second phone call. Then they turned it over to hundreds of thousands of lawyers and they hammered out a deal. It all came from wanting to open the season like that. It was really well done I thought.
Is there any difference in the way you approach voicing Sterling Archer and Bob Belcher?
A lot of people complain how I don’t do anything different for either. And f— them. No, I did notice that finally Archer is a little bit different when I had to do him as Bob. It got a little convoluted, some real subtlety there.
Do you think Archer is starting to mature a bit after four seasons?
He’s making really slow progress. At some point I think he has to. I feel like his lifestyle is gonna catch up to him. I feel like I want him to gain 15 pounds, he suddenly won’t metabolize alcohol as well as he always does.
What does Archer do that you’d want to be able to do?
I would like to kill people. Indiscriminately kill people. And I’d like to go to Abu Dhabi and Morocco, travel a lot like Archer, that would be fun.