You might know Aisha Tyler as the hot paleontologist in the middle of a love triangle with Joey and Ross on Friends. Or you might remember her hilarious one-liners as host of E!’s Talk Soup. No matter how you know Tyler, you know she’s funny.
She even used the 2007-2008 Writer’s Guild of America strike as a reason to hit the road and hone material for her 2009 Comedy Central special, Aisha Tyler is Lit: Live at the Fillmore. “While all my actor friends were upping their Oxycontin prescriptions, I was able to just go work,” she quips.
As Tyler prepared for another round of road dates, including an April 8 through 10 run at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre, we talked to her about being a woman in the predominantly male world of stand-up comedy, her latest gig as the voice of sexy superspy Lana Kane on the FX animated series Archer and what she thinks is funny.
Q: You’ve said that working as a stand-up comic is particularly difficult for women because they are raised to be more “decorous” than men. What did you mean?
A: We’re generally socialized to be pretty, to be composed, to be precious. And comedy is decidedly the opposite of precious. You have to be willing to look silly and be silly — to look, for lack of a better word, ugly at times. If you’re doing physical comedy, a lot of that is not very feminine. If you’re doing more personal comedy, it’s very exposed.
Q: Your current alter ego, Lana Kane, can be very raunchy. Do you have trouble delivering some of her lines?
A: Well, trouble in the sense that sometimes I end up laughing so hard that I have to stop for a while. But no, I knew what I was getting into when I read the first script. I knew the work of the show’s creator, Adam Reed. To me, it was an opportunity to do something that was really risque, challenging, surprising and off-color. And I was thrilled by that.
Q: What can people expect when they come to see you?
A: I talk a lot about the concept of resisting being a grown-up. I’m at an age now where I should probably put away my Xbox. But I’m just fighting it every step of the way. Because I’m married, I talk a lot about sex. That’s all married people ever think about — mainly, about how they’re not getting enough, how they’ve forgotten how to do it.