Fans of animated comedy have known H. Jon Benjamin’s gruff deadpan since the days of Comedy Central’s Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist and, later, Adult Swim’s Home Movies. Lately, he’s been voicing the title characters to two of TV’s funniest cartoons, FX’s Archer and Fox’s Emmy-nominated Bob’s Burgers – and, soon enough, fans will get to watch him do both at once.
In an interview with EW, Benjamin revealed that the Archer team has produced a crossover episode in which he’ll play both ISIS agent Sterling Archer and grillmaster Bob Belcher. The episode’s already been recorded, he says, and will air during Archer’s next season (FX has yet to announce a premiere date).
“[Archer creator Adam Reed] really likes Bob’s Burgers,” Benjamin says. “And the fourth season has a Bob’s Burgers tie-in, which is really bizarre.”
Indeed: “It’s like a Bourne Identity-type plotline. It starts off with Archer as Bob, making hamburgers, but he doesn’t know that he’s Archer. He’s at the restaurant and these, like, I think Russian thugs come in, and Bob dispatches them expertly. And then he’s like, What just happened? How did I do that? So he has to try to figure out why he’s so good at killing people.”
Adds Benjamin, “It was Adam’s idea.”
Bob’s creator Loren Bouchard [who also co-created Home Movies and produced Dr. Katz] signed off on the idea, Benjamin says, but stayed out of the creative process. “It was prompted by Adam, but Loren was into it.”
Bob’s wife Linda (voiced by John Roberts) will be in the episode as well, he confirms, “but the kids aren’t in it. I guess it must’ve been a budget restriction or something. Like, ‘I can’t afford to pay an extra three grand to pay actors.’”
As for how the different visual styles of the shows will mesh, he says that “it’s Archer-style animation, but with all the accoutrements and characteristics of the [Bob’s] characters.”
“It is a little weird,” he continues, “because you have to be a fan of both to understand it. But you don’t have to know about Bob’s Burgers to enjoy it.”
If the crossover threatens to expose how similar his voices for Bob and Archer (and, well, most of his characters) are, Benjamin isn’t concerned. “It seems like kind of a 50-50: 50 percent of people are like, ‘You suck, you use the same voice,’ and 50 percent of people are like, ‘It’s amazing how different they are!’ And I really can’t speak to either opinion.”
Read more on EW.com:
‘Archer’ renewed, plus first look at Bryan Cranston – EXCLUSIVE
‘Bob’s Burgers’: See Aziz Ansari play a nerdy gamer who schools Bob – EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Best of 2011 (Behind the Scenes): ‘Archer’ creator Adam Reed talks about the cancer rampage episode