Published Jul 28, 2016Just for Laughs hosted a massive, well-attended panel discussion featuring creators and cast members of the HBO political sitcom Veep. In attendance were Tony Hale (who plays Gary Walsh) of Arrested Development fame, Timothy Simons (Jonah), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Selina Meyer), writer David Mandel and producer Frank Rich.
In an attempt to start the discussion with a bang, Rich decided to address the "literal and figurative elephant in the room" — America's Donald Trump situation. Surprisingly, it didn't immediately illicit the volatile, charged rhetoric that usually arises whenever the xenophobic real-estate goblin's name is mentioned. The most recent season of Veep was written back when Donald Trump was just a joke worn on the sleeves of party intellectuals, so without an analogue Trump character explicitly present in the series, everyone settled on Timothy Simmons' Jonah as the closest equivalent.
Some of the most interesting discussion took place between Julia Louis-Dreyfus and writer David Mandel. Having both worked both together and separately on SNL, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, they were able to provide loads of thought-provoking insight into the differences between working for networks such as CBS on one hand, and HBO on the other. Tony Hale, having struggled along with his cast and writers during Arrested Development's infamous break for creative freedom, was also able to engage in what was probably the most interesting conversation of the evening.
Recently on Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character — ex-VP Selina Meyer — finds herself in full-blown crisis mode having recently been tossed from her position. There was some talk of where writer David Mandel might take the next season, but it was very coy, loaded with more maybes than Carly Rae Jepsen. One thing seems certain, Mandel seems dedicated to driving Dreyfus, and her character Selina Meyer, as crazy as possible.