Aisha Tyler is everywhere…and that’s just the way she likes it.
Discussing the just-launched fifth season of CBS’s daytime talkfest “The Talk” is but the tip of the career iceberg for the self-proclaimed guy’s girl who is also juggling frequent stand up appearances, hosting the CW revival of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ and voicing characters in two animated series, FX’s “Archer” and Hulu’s “Bojack Horseman.” (She writes books, too!)
So besides finding out what the secret to “The Talk’s” success, her podcast called, of course, “Girl On Guy” and how she relates the battle for marriage equality to her own interracial marriage to Jeff Tietjens, what else could we possibly talk about? (Plenty of things, obviously!)
You do so many things outside of “The Talk.” Could you even handle having just one job?
Aisha Tyler: No, I would be miserable. I’m a more effective person if I am in constant fear that I may not get everything done. I’m anxious at rest for sure. That’s when I’m at my most anxious when I’m sitting around thinking I should be doing nothing or there’s something that I’m not doing but I should be doing and I don’t know what it is. I always say if you only need one thing from me it’ll take me a month but if you need 11 things from me I’ll have them done by morning.
Let’s talk about “The Talk.” Would you say it’s business as usual in the new season or are there some new things we’ll see in this season?
AT: I mean the show is always growing. I think the longer we work together the better we get to know each other. I would use the sports analogy that we’re getting to the place now because we know each other so well that we can throw each other a no-look pass and we know the other person’s going to be there for us.
This season we tried to do something really big and personal to launch the show. Last year we did week of secrets and this year we did a week of dares and facing your fears and dealing with the concept of bravery. That was a really interesting week. I think when we do this stuff it's stuff that we haven't told not just the public but each other so it's always a really good bonding time for us as a team because we're supporting each other. We're hopefully listening to each other. We're learning something about each other.
With the dares we were all really there for each other because everybody was really scared. So, for us, I mean if there's anything that's different about it it's that we're continuing to bond and to gel as a team. I think the result is that we feel connected to each other and the audience feels more connected to us.
Do you think everything you just said is the reason why the show is such a success?
AT: I hope so. I mean I definitely think we’re doing something different than other shows out there. I think there are a lot of shows where the dynamic is really combative and you see women at each other’s throats and not just in daytime but in unscripted programming what you’re seeing is a lot of really combative, negative energy between women.
I think we have a show where everybody's smart and they know their minds. We can disagree without being unkind. I think that's really unique in television right now. I think what you're watching at home hopefully is a dynamic that you would have with your actual friends.
Do you see the celebrities you have on as having kind of a different experience, too?
AT: I really hope so. All of us have been on the other side of the interview countless times. Sharon with such a long and really complex career in rock management. And then Sara and I both as actors and Sheryl is a comedian and then Julie being a journalist for such a long time. People forget that Julie was embedded in Iraq and she has an incredible journalist background. We’ve all been at all positions of that interview relationship. We know what it’s like to be made to feel uncomfortable. We’ve been on shows where you don’t feel welcome and it’s not a kind environment, so it’s really important to us that our guests feel really, really safe and at home here. We want them to win. We’re here to make them look good.
I’m trying to ask this without excluding people but who was the last guest or celebrity you met that kind of got you uber-excited?
AT: God, that’s a really good question. I’m really lucky because I meet a lot of people in the course of my business generally. I feel very fortunate. I’m not jaded at all and I love what I do. You know, we just had Jon Voight on the show and I’m a big “Ray Donovan” fan so that was really fun to meet him. He’s such an extraordinary actor and a controversial personality. It was very interesting. He’s a legend. He walked out and our audience just lost their mind. They just couldn’t stop clapping, so it was really interesting.
But then over Emmy week I met Liev Schreiber and Michael Kelly from “House Of Cards” and I just had Corey Stoll on my podcast and they’re doing other things now. I don’t know. For me I’m really lucky because I get them one on one for my show for 90 minutes. That’s always really great because then I get to have a totally different experience with them.
I love your podcast and how you really own being kind of a guy’s girl.
AT: Yeah. It’s the way I am so I can’t not.
I’m guessing this probably is just who you are or did you kind of grow into that?
AT: I was raised by a single dad so I’ve always been this way. I’ve always been a little bit of a tomboy and always loved things that were considered typically guy things. I was raised on the back of a motorcycle. My dad didn’t have a car until I was in high school. I just always loved action movies. I used to go with my dad to the arcade to play videogames. I’ve just always been that kid.
Like articulating it the way that I have that it's a show about things guys love by a guy's girl, which is really a way to explain the show but it's just stuff that I love. Sometimes those things are stereotypically more masculine but lots and lots of women listen to the show as well. I think it's just an easy way to explain the point of view of the show.
You have a big gay following, too. When was that first time when you had your first gay friend or you realized gay people around the world? Do you remember that point?
AT: I grew up in San Francisco so I’ve always been surrounded by the gays and I’ve always loved the gays. I’ve been very fortunate to just grow up with having people in my life from the time I was young who I really loved who were gay and lesbian. For me, I don’t know, it’s like there never was a time when I wasn’t kind of connected to the gay community, do you know what I mean? It was never not a part of my life. Even growing up, in high school I went to a performing arts high school and there were obviously a lot of people in the art community there that were gay. It’s just who I am. It’s like there’s no other way.
I also think growing up in a progressive city and being raised to just treat everybody with respect, equality has always been a really important issue for me. I'm in an interracial marriage so the issues of equality, especially with marriage equality. The arguments against marriage equality that people are using now are the same ones they used against interracial marriage. It's just the same bullshit arguments they used against interracial marriage. I've always believed in social justice. It's just been a part of who I've been for my whole life.
"The Talk" airs weekdays on CBS. Check local listings for time in your area.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
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