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Emmy Quickie: ‘Veep’ Star Tony Hale Picks His Favorite Insults From the Series (Exclusive Video)

”We show behind the curtain,“ actor says about HBO’s satire of Washington power players

The insults and one-liners on “Veep” come fast and furious, with every episode of HBO’s political satire packed with some of the funniest and most creative put-downs on television. No character is ever spared, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘ titular lead.

But Tony Hale, who plays her personal assistant, Gary Walsh, has a soft spot for the insults directed at one of his cast mates: Timothy Simons, whose perpetually upward-failing Jonah Ryan rarely goes a scene without getting a barb about his height or a nickname comparing him to a testicle.

Hale told TheWrap that a line comparing Jonah to “the Washington monument, if the Washington monument was made entirely of dead dicks” was among his favorites. “They called him human scaffolding, the largest single-celled organism, just these awful, awful insults,” he said.

Hale says those kinds of jokes aren’t just for laughs, though. They’re important to the show’s attempts to satirize the sanitized messaging of Washington, D.C.

“In politics, we kind of see the perfect soundbites,” Hale said. “We kind of see people posturing, but you never see what happens behind the scenes. You never see people freak out, scream at each other, get insecure, get overwhelmed, and we show that. We show behind the curtain.”

As mean as the show can get, Hale said that it presents a world that is the complete opposite of the environment on set — which, he added, is an incredibly open, creative environment. “From a personal standpoint, we all love each other,” he said. “We’re all really close.”

“Whoever’s the lead of the show sets the tone for the environment,” Hale explained. “If you have a person who’s an asshole, who’s kind of arrogant and entitled, everyone’s going to be walking on eggshells. And I think that sucks creative energy out of a room. Julia [Louis-Dreyfus] is so giving, so kind, such a team player, so that fosters this incredibly creative, fun, everybody pitching jokes, kind of environment, and that is a tremendous gift.”