‘Veep’ Star Tony Hale Says Trump Campaign Makes Show ‘Less of a Satire’

EmmyWrap: “The whole thing with Melania’s speech, if we had written that, HBO would have fired us, because it was too broad,” actor tells TheWrap

21 Tony Hale

A version of this story about Tony Hale also appears in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

Tony Hale showed up in the No. 21 spot on TheWrap’s 2016 Emmys Hot List, but he would like us to say that his appearance on the list is a mistake, that we’re confused and really intended to single out a different actor named Tony Hayle or something.

That’s what happened to his character, Gary Walsh, on an episode of the HBO series “Veep” this year: Gary stirred up jealousy and befuddlement among his fellow White House staffers when he was No. 21 on a Washington, D.C., magazine’s annual list of the 50 Hottest D.C. staffers, only to learn that his inclusion was due to a typo.

But while that episode did indeed inspire TheWrap’s own Emmys Hot List, and Hale’s position on it, we’re sorry to inform him that no, this isn’t a mistake. With three Emmy nominations and two wins in the series’ first four seasons, and another nom this year, the 45-year-old actor also known for Arrested Development is indeed a hot nominee on a hot show — particularly given “Veep’s” seamless transition this year from original showrunner Armando Iannucci to new executive producer David Mandel.

“When Armando said he was leaving, it was sad,” Hale told TheWrap. “I love him and his writers, and I miss them. And they know what each actor’s strengths are, and could write for our voices.

“So when that goes away you feel a little helpless. But the transition that Dave made into grabbing the tone of the show and understanding the actors’ voices was so well done. It’s not an easy transition to make and it wasn’t without its bumps, but it has been mostly seamless and I’m hugely grateful for that.”

The season found President Selena Meyers (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) fighting to stay in office after a deadlocked election — but at the end, she’s out and is contemplating life after the presidency, which Hale expects to be the focus of next season.

“I just know that it’s going to be centered around post-presidency life, but I don’t know how that looks,” he said.

Tony Hale

One big question: What will it mean for Gary, who seemingly lives to attend to Selena’s every whim?

“As long as he’s in the bosom of Selena, he’s a happy man.” Hale said. “He’s been with her for her whole political career, before she was Vice President, even. That’s his girl. So what’s gonna happen?

“I’m sure he’s had a couple of panic attacks wondering about that. But he’s going to fight to the end to carry her purse.”

As “Veep” storylines got strange this year, of course, so did the real-life presidential election. “The show’s becoming less of a satire,” Hale said. “Honestly, David was just saying this: ‘The whole thing with Melania’s speech, if we had written that, HBO would have fired us, because it was too broad.’

“There’s a lot of stuff on the surface in this campaign that’s given ‘Veep’ a run for its money.”

Tony Hale

Hale admitted that he tries not to wade into politics too deeply, because he needs to learn more about the issues. Still, he can’t help but be fascinated by the Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton dust-up.

“There’s so much bitterness and cynicism and tension right now, and I try not to contribute to that,” he said. “But man, it’s wild. It’s a circus, its own political comedy, and many times your jaw just drops.”

Of course, when jaw-dropping moments happen on “Veep,” they don’t have real-world consequences.

“Yes, yes,” he said. “There are no rewrites happening in the political world, no director to say, ‘OK, let’s go back to one.’”

He shrugged. “In the ‘Veep’ world, it’s fun to create chaos and see what fun comes of it. It’s not necessarily fun to watch that play out in the real world.”

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