This year on “Veep,” we learned several things about Tony Hale‘s character, Gary Walsh, the unreasonably devoted aide to Julia Louis- Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer. We learned that Gary used to be a candy striper with a full head of hair, and that his father is an emotionally abusive boor who also happens to be deeply closeted, and that his mother likes to whisper in people’s ears, just as Gary does to Selina.
Tony Hale learned those things, too, in what he refers to as “an aha moment. I wasn’t surprised, but it was more, ‘Oh, that’s why Gary is the way he is,'” he said. “It cleared up a lot of things for me.”
The season, in which Selina and her array of misfit sidekicks tried to navigate the post-presidency with the usual mix of ego and ineptitude, also brought Gary and Selina into unaccustomed proximity, when he is laid up after a heart attack and she climbs onto his bed and falls asleep.
“Gary’s just so desperate for her, and she literally does not care,” he said. “So when she was in bed next to me and I put my arm over her, that was Gary’s nirvana. He was thinking, ‘This might be it, this might be it…’ And then she woke up and was like, ‘I’m outta here.'”
And if it really had been it, could Gary have handled it? “Could Gary handle Selina in bed?” he repeated. “No. He would be in a state of shock. We would have a complete emotional breakdown.”
“Veep” showrunner Dave Mandel recently said that the 2016 election made it harder for the show to joke about politics, but two-time Emmy winner Hale thinks it also made it more important to do so. “People tell me that they are so glad to laugh at Veep,” he said. “So much chaos is happening in real life, and people feel guilty laughing at what’s happening on the news.
“‘Veep’ gives people the freedom to laugh: If what’s really happening is too sad and crazy to laugh at, come laugh at our show.”