By C. Molly Smith
July 10, 2014 at 09:07 PM EDT
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Tony Hale, who plays Gary on HBO’s critically acclaimed Veep, is on a roll: He received his second Emmy nomination for supporting actor in a comedy series early this morning. (Hale won in this category for Veep last year.) Hale joins his costars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Anna Chlumsky, who were nominated for lead actress in a comedy series and supporting actress in a comedy series, respectively; their show was also nominated for outstanding comedy series. We last saw Gary going to the White House alongside Selena, the newly instated president of the United States. Here, Hale talks about this crowning achievement and other standout moments from the season (hint: they squeak).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You won the Emmy for outstanding supporting actor for Veep last year, and here you are nominated again in the same category.

TONY HALE: It’s awesome. Having been in the business for 20 years, I’m just so thankful to have a gig. I’ve spent years just looking for gigs, so to be on a list like this is kind of overwhelming.

How did you react to the nomination?

I’m actually in Alabama visiting family. It was really fun, because I’m surrounded by family and they all got excited for me. I have an Emmy nomination, and I’m surrounded by fried food. So that’s a good day.

So that’s how you’re celebrating, fried food?

Of course, and the food court at the mall. I also took my daughter to the arcade. We’ve had a full Southern day, and the fried food is coming later.

Anything in particular?

Well of course fried okra is involved, and grits. We had fried chicken last night and homemade creamed corn. That was delicious. Plus, my sister-in-law made a fantastic peach cobbler. It’s all about the food when you come down south.

Sounds like you’ve had a great 48 hours.

Yeah, perfect. This just topped it off.

What episode did you submit, and why did you choose it?

I’m trying to think, I have the worst memory. I’ll probably submit, if I haven’t already, the ninth episode, where Julia discovers she’s going to be the president of the United States, which is terrifying for our country. We both have our little kind of crazy time in the bathroom.

I was going to ask about your favorite moments from this season. I’m assuming this is one of them.

Oh my gosh, that’s by far one of them. When do you get the chance to just completely go crazy? We were fully given that opportunity, so that was really fun. There was a nosebleed, and she’s digging through Gary’s bag. Gary’s reading a book on bicycling and she’s like, “Why is there a book on bicycling?” The whole thing was just out of control.

Do you have any other favorite moments from this season?

I just love the whole wedding [Mike’s wedding]. Nobody is present because all their phones were taken away, and there’s a phone bowl. I’m terrified that Selina is going to call. In the middle of reading a scripture, she calls. I have to speed up the scripture to get through it. The whole thing is just awful. It’s awful and these people should not exist, but it could not be more fun to do.

One moment that stood out to me was Gary trying to lift the folksy crate that’s backed with titanium.

He’ll do anything for his woman. He’s a little too dedicated. He needs to gain some boundaries.

And how about those squeaky shoes?

I just love how Gary held on to those shoes probably for a good five or six years, knowing this moment was going to come, and just how creepy it was that he pulled them out. It was a little Norman Bates-y with his mother. He puts them on, and I think at one point she says “You’re my Prince Charming.” That’s just music to his ears.

Where do you think Gary will go next season?

Hopefully nowhere. Hopefully he’s going to be right by her side, as co-dependently and dysfunctional as possible. Gary every now and then branches off. Second season, he had a girlfriend, and that did not end well. This past season, he wanted to branch off with other roles, and that did not go well. With her in this new position, obviously the bar is a lot higher, so he’s going to have to step up. As much as Gary loves Selina, he’s not a fan of change. I think he likes the world to stay exactly where it is. He’s in a whole new ball game right now, so I don’t know how he’s going to adapt.

I think you get a sense of that when everyone goes back to D.C. and he’s left behind on the campaign. He seems sort of distraught.

That wasn’t just her moment, that was Gary’s moment, and for Selina to say you’re staying back…Keep in mind, in Gary’s world they’re going to get married. In her world, she probably doesn’t even know his last name. It’s not a two-way street.

Do you expect then that we’ll see much of the same from Gary, that there won’t be that growth since he doesn’t like change? Is there the possibility that he might rebel?

That’s interesting. Maybe he will rebel. I think he’ll try to step up, but that comes with many falls. It really is going to be a whole new game with her as president. So let’s just say her disappointment toward Gary is going to skyrocket.

I’m sure everyone is wondering: What does Gary really think of Selina’s new haircut?

Gary thought it was chic, but I think it’s because a lot of people told him it was chic. At the end of the day, I think he went home and was like, “She looks like a boy. She looks like Peter Pan.” He knows her so well that as much as she put on kind of a happy face, he knew that she wasn’t very happy about it. He’s taken that home with him. He’s pretty distraught.

And what is the strangest thing in Gary’s bag—either something that we know exists, or something you might expect to see in there?

I will say, the bag that Tony Hale carries around as an actor, Gary would be mortified if he saw what’s in there. It’s pretty much just empty water bottles and old pages of scripts. It would not be pretty. Gary’s bag, there was that episode a long time ago where Gary had to take out Selina’s trash. There was some kind of unmentionable things in there that nobody knew about. So Gary had to dig through the trash and find them in case the press would find them. I bet there’s some secret possible things in there that only Gary knows about—I don’t know what they could be. If Us Weekly got a hold of that bag, Selina would be ruined.

Selina Meyer and her staff try to take on the White House in this HBO sitcom.
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