I had the pleasure of interviewing Aisha Tyler, the host of CW’s big summer hit “Whose Line is it Anyway.” Aisha will be appearing this weekend, Sept. 27th and 28th at the The Punchline Comedy Club.
So you have a standup career, a podcast called “Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler.” You do the voice for spy Lana Kane on the FX Network cartoon “Archer.” You co-host the CBS daytime talk show “The Talk,” along with hosting the hit CW improve comedy series “Whose Line is it Anyway.” When do you have time to sleep?
Tyler: I don’t sleep. I power down like a robot and a slow-blinking light comes on, kind of like that light on your computer. I close my eyes, but I don’t dream, I just endlessly go over my Google calendar in my head. It’s very soothing.
Can you talk a little bit about your podcast “Girl on Guy” and what you are planning for its third season?
Tyler: This season will have huge stars, big ideas, bigger words, and a hefty dose of public intoxication — everything you’ve come to love from “Girl on Guy.” The season launched Tuesday September 17 with Jack Osbourne. This week is Josh Radnor from “How I Met Your Mother.” He had recently given up cursing, so I did all the cursing for the both of us. I was in rare form. Oh, also there’s a new logo. Bam.
You just came out with a book entitled “Self-Inflicted Wounds.” From what place did you write this book from and what does the book’s title mean to you?
Tyler: “Self-Inflicted Wounds” is a segment on my podcast where my guests tell a story about something that’s gone wrong in their lives that was entirely their own fault. After two years of making my guests humiliate themselves, I thought it was only fair that I turn the tables on myself. SIWs are all about being brave enough to fail, and never letting a fear of failure keep you from doing the things you really want to do. As the great playwright Samuel Beckett said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Of course, he was drunk when he said that, but he meant it all the same.
You don’t mind being called a nerd. In fact, I think you wear it as a badge of honor. Talk about being a nerd in this day and age of digital obsession.
Tyler: Nerds are obviously cool right now. We are finally having our time in the sun. Of course, we would all rather run from the excruciating heat of the sun’s rays and back into the cool safe glow of our computer monitors, but we’ve got to ride this horse while it’s hale. Being a nerdy kid wasn’t particularly fun, but isolated kids become iconoclastic adults. If you have no hope of fitting in, after a while you give up trying, and you forge your own path. And then you start a multi-billion dollar tech company. Man, I should really be richer than I am.
What’s your favorite convention that you’ve attended and have you ever come to Dragon Con?
Tyler: Of course I love Comic Con, because everyone loves Comic Con, and because everyone is dressed like a slutty alien. I haven’t been able to make it to Dragon Con yet, but it’s not for lack of being digitally harassed by people dressed like “Archer” characters.
How did someone that got a degree in government from an Ivy League school like Dartmouth College end up a standup comedian?
Tyler: To utterly crush and disappoint my parents. Also comedians get free chicken wings. Not just at comedy clubs, either. Everywhere we go.
What has been the most interesting thing about co-hosting “The Talk?”
Tyler: Making a bunch of incredible new friends and getting to show up every day and be paid just to sit and chat with them. Also, as mentioned, the chicken wings.
How much fun is it to host “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Are you amazed at the some of the things that Colin, Ryan and Wayne come up with?
Tyler: I was a huge fan of “Whose Line” before I got the job, and have been friends with Drew and Wayne for years. I was incredibly honored and half the time I forget to host the show because I am too busy starring in amazement at how full of awesome the guys are. They had to wire my chair with a low-voltage current to shock me into action every few minutes. Which mainly just tickles.
Who has been your favorite guest star on “Whose Line?”
Maggie Q (“Nikita”) and I are very good friends so I was happy to have her on, but not as happy as the guys were. And Kevin McHale was stellar. But I think the guest who surprised us most with his utter gameness was Wilson Bethel from “Hart of Dixie.” Although I really wanted him to take off his shirt, and he wouldn’t. He was a little demure for my taste.
You are appearing at The Punchline here in Atlanta on September 27 and 28. Tell us what we can expect to see with your standup routine.
Tyler: Shock and awe, my friends. Shock and awe. Mine is a show for grownups. Do not bring your preteen daughter who loves me from “Friends” and the “Ghost Whisperer;” it will be a very quiet ride home in the car. Unless you already let her watch “Archer,” in which case you know exactly what she’s in for. And also, you are a terrible parent.
Aisha Tyler will be appearing this Friday, Sept. 27th and Saturday, Sept. 28th at The Punchline Comedy Club.