If “Veep,” the viciously funny HBO political comedy, is known for anything, it’s the equal levels of tenacity and creativity in its many, many insults.
“I probably have about five or six cuss words that I use all the time,” said Tony Hale, who plays the VP’s bag boy Gary. “I don’t really have that large of a cuss vocabulary. This show has broadened my horizons. My cursing vocabulary is so much more extensive.”
Barbs weren’t in short supply during the screening of season three’s first two episodes, nor before when creator and director Armando Iannucci stepped to the mic to introduce the show. Iannucci took some time to thank the crew, HBO and to individually introduce his cast, but he also called out rival political show “House of Cards.” Iannucci said his cast is “better than the cast in ‘House of Cards,’ which elicited applause and laughter from most of the audience (while a few “ooo’s” from one corner) before he went on to say, “in that they don’t break that golden rule of acting — not to stare at the camera.”
After the well-received screening, guests were treated to a buffet dinner, decadent deserts and a cleverly designed take-home option for various candies. Part of the new season revolves around VP Selina Meyer’s book tour, and fans could pick up their own copy of the hardback at the party — only to soon discover an empty box where the pages should be, ready to be filled with Reeses bites, Twizzlers and various chocolate delicacies.
The cast was in good spirits, mixing and mingling with guests. Hale was spotted posing for a picture with a fan, and Julia Louis-Drefuss took part in the provided photo booth, creating a goofy picture with fellow cast member Kevin Dunn that’s spread over Twitter.
Reid Scott, who plays the (sometimes) suave Dan Egan, was excited about his character in season three. ” I met with Armando Ianucci before we even starting shooting season three, and he gave me kind of a wonderful gift,” the actor, now sporting a post-shoot beard, commented. “He said, ‘What do you want to do this season?’ Which no showrunner, in my experience, ever says. And I said, ‘I want to see more of Dan’s personal life. I want him to dial up the intensity. But I also want him to stay human and fail here and there.’
Failing is a common theme in “Veep,” and it comes as no surprise the actors see their characters as struggling endearingly to no end. “He’s a disaster,” Hale said about his character. “You know what I love about him, though? While everyone else is trying to get ahead, he’s kind of fine where he is. He doesn’t want to be anywhere else but by [the VP’s] side. He just worships her, obviously. But this season, I think because he feels pressure to do something else maybe, he’s trying different responsibilities and obviously fails miserably. I think if he had his way he wants to be married to her. He wants to walk the aisle with her. That’s what he really wants.”
Hale also commented on the similarities between Gary on “Veep” and his famous, fantastic portrayal of Buster Bluth on “Arrested Development.” “There are so many mother issues going on there,” Hale said about Gary. “There is so much Oedipus stuff happening. Gary’s a lot more sane than Buster, so maybe my next character will be more normal. Maybe I’m just getting progressively more normal. It’s just taking me a while.”
Anna Chlumsky, who plays the VP’s right hand woman Amy Brookheimer, shared similar insights on the show. “I think what’s fun is that Amy has many insecurities, but we don’t see her out of work. I think what she believes she’s really good at is work. Maybe in school it was getting straight A’s and being a leader. She, in her head, is exactly where she feels comfortable and can excel and overpower people. But I think in every other facet of her life, she’s a wreck.”
“One of the cool things about season three we… sort of peek behind the curtain with each of our characters,” Scott said. “Dan’s so obsessive I think he internalizes everything, and I think that comes across in the arc of his story. He goes pretty lone wolf, and not in a good way.”
When asked for their favorite insults from the show, the actors were quick to remember their treasured jabs. “My favorite is still from the first season when [Amy] says, ‘That’s like using a croissant for a dildo. Let me spell it out for you: it doesn’t work and it makes a fucking mess.’ I think that’s just brilliant. Delicious, really.”
“Off the top of my head,” Scott said. “There was one that might have been from season two when I was referring to Jonah, and I said, ‘Jesus Christ, during his birth they must have been pulling him out in shifts.’”
Hale chose a moment from the season three premiere too good to share, but when you hear the term “scaffolding,” you’ll know. “I gotta tell you, all these Brits have a cuss vocabulary that I… It’s just when they write. It’s just gold. They have this whole bank of insults. It’s an art form, and they have got the art form down.”
“Veep” premieres on HBO April 6th at 10:30pm.