Veep stars pick their all-time favorite scenes
When Selina Meyer issues her final salute or insult or facepalm at the end of season 7 of Veep, viewers will be saying farewell to one of the most cunning and cutting comedies in TV history. Over the years, Veep has offered up myriad moments of comedic genius — vain VP Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) walking through a glass door; her too-loyal body man Gary (Tony Hale) starting to bleed with joy or being at the mercy of Selina’s “cooking” post-heart attack; the recitation of “The Jonad Files” at a Congressional hearing — that it’s virtually impossible to pick a favorite. But the virtually impossible is what Selina demands, so in that spirit, EW asked each star to share his/her all-time favorite scene from HBO’s beloved political comedy, which launches its seventh and final season on Mar. 31 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
GARY COLE (Kent)
Cole has his eye on a sequence from season 3’s “Debate,” in which Selina gets a tragic new haircut before a debate. To make matters worse, she forgets the third “R” of her platform and develops an eye twitch (though it does prove to be distracting to one of her opponents).
“Part of the script was the fact that she began to get an eye twitch,” recalls Cole. “Then, later on in the episode, she addresses a ballroom on some weighty subject — jobs for all and blah, blah, blah — and we were all watching her. They had shown our reactions and now we were seeing actually what she was going to do, because the camera’s on her. And it was difficult for me to keep quiet from not laughing because of the combination of what she was doing physically and what she was talking about. It was one of those unspoken things where she reached a level of absurdity that she often did, but this one worked particularly well. When you look at it, you go, ‘Yeah, that should be a funny idea,’ but she just turned it into something much, much funnier than what you would imagine.”
ANNA CHLUMSKY (Amy)
Chlumsky is thinking globally for her pick, because it involves the London-set episode from season 3, “Special Relationship.” She was tickled by the scene in which Gary and Mike are watching Selina deliver a speech for the 100th anniversary of the Great War from a nearby room.
“In real life, when they were shooting it, they backed into a prop china tea set, and broke it,” says Chlumsky. “And they were like, ‘Oh, no!’ And so then they kind of improv-ed to see if they were going to get caught or not, and Arm [Iannucci, the show’s creator and then-showrunner] and Julia both were like, ‘Keep going!’ So they kept going. No one yelled ‘Cut!’ So we got to see what Gary and Mike would do if they indeed broke a china set in a diplomatic house. They were brushing it behind a curtain, and it was just like Laurel and Hardy deliciousness. It’s my favorite. Oh my gosh. I was in absolute heaven.”
SARAH SUTHERLAND (Catherine)
Sutherland loves the scene from season 4’s “East Wing” involving the inseparable Selina and Gary. When Selina dresses down Gary for overspending on a State Dinner and tells him that he is meaningless to her, he shouts back, “I am f—ing everything to you!” And when he snaps, “Can you find somebody else who did what I did?,” she responds, “You mean on Labor Day?” the mood turns deadly serious, and he says, “I said I would never mention that, ever.”
“That scene kills me,” says Sutherland. “I just think it’s such an interesting dimension to their relationship, and such a human and vulnerable moment for Selina in a lot of ways. And also an almost triumphant moment for Gary that you don’t otherwise see. So much about what’s funny about comedy in general but specifically Veep is that characters will always do what you expect them to do, and they’ll do that over and over again. Moments in Veep where that doesn’t happen and then it goes back to more of the same are so devastating and it creates such a complicated emotional experience.”
CLEA DUVALL (Marjorie)
Like Sutherland, DuVall is smitten with that Labor Day moment of fracture and mystery between Selina and Gary, as well as the literally sweet resolution in the form of cake-eating that follows.
“It’s some of the best writing and some of the best acting I’ve ever seen anywhere, TV or film,” declares DuVall. “It’s funny but then it’s so intense and their entire relationship and everything they feel about each other comes out in that. It just blows me away. I’ve watched that scene so many times and every single time I’m just like, ‘How the f— are they doing that?’ It’s so brilliant.”
MATT WALSH (Mike)
Walsh votes for a devastating line from Selina in season 1’s “Catherine,” when Selina worries that if a hurricane named Selina hits America, headlines like “Selina causing large-scale devastation” could follow. Amy assures Selina that people won’t equate her with a natural disaster, to which Selina articulates her disgust for the people that she represents, saying: “I’ve met some people, okay? Real people. A lot of them. And I gotta tell you, a lot are f—in’ idiots.”
“To me it was like a signature point of view, kind of like, ‘Oh, I get this show,’” says Walsh. “There are certain lines where the whole show is communicated — and that line pops to mind.”
SAM RICHARDSON (Richard)
Richardson selects the scene from the season 5 finale, “Hell to the Chief,” in which Selina — who just learned that she won’t stay President now that the Senate has broken the tie in favor of Montez — gets blitzed in the Oval Office with Richard. After some bizarre bonding, she passes out on the floor, and he tries to leave, which prompts her to ask, “Can you just stay?”
“The way it ends, it’s like a big shot above, and it’s her sleeping right on the presidential crest,” he says. “It was a really great scene and really sweet. I always think about that scene. You see Selina is very vulnerable in that moment, and I get to play a joke where I’m saying one thing, realizing another in the middle of what I’m saying. I got to do a three-jokes-in-one.”
KEVIN DUNN (Ben)
Dunn selects a moment from season 6 that featured the first meeting between Selina and Ben. If it doesn’t sound familiar, there’s a reason: this lengthy scene never aired.
“It didn’t make the cut, but I just loved the scene,” he explains. “It was when she first comes to Ben — and he’s working for the then-president — about being the vice president. It was just who Ben was and how their relationship started, and I just loved that scene. Ben was not so much disrespectful, but he held the cards at that particular moment. He was in his glory years, and kind of playing hard to get…. It was such a well-written scene, because it told so much about the characters — who they were and what kind of relationship they were possibly going to have.”
TONY HALE (Gary)
Hale returns to the first season — “Full Disclosure,” specifically — when Selina cements this twisted co-dependent relationship with her body man by asking him to break up with her boyfriend for her.
“I just remember that fun rollercoaster of shock that she’s asking me, and then immediately: ‘Yes, of course I’ll do that. Because I will do anything for you,’” says Hale. “It really painted this foundation for where Gary is and who he is with Selina.”
(For the record, his favorite Gary line arrives in season 7 — it can be seen in the trailer — when Marjorie mentions Catherine’s post-partum depression and Gary replies with a shrug, “Well, I mean, the haircut.” “I laughed so hard when I read that,” says Hale. “He’s so shallow to think that, ‘Well, I mean, her haircut’s going to throw anybody into post-partum depression.’ It was so out of whack, but so funny.”)
TIMOTHY SIMONS (Jonah)
We’ve got a torn Tim here. Simons is partial to the scene from the season 5 finale, “Hell to the Chief,” in which Selina’s helicopter is forced to land near the Washington Monument, and she can hear the sounds of President Montez’s inaugural parade. (“There’s just so much going on that Julia is able to convey with barely moving and not speaking at all in that moment that I just love,” he says.)
But the other part of him adores the scene from the season 3 finale, “New Hampshire,” in which Selina informs Gary that POTUS is about to resign and hand her the presidency. Gary is so overwhelmed that his nose starts to bleed, and she takes over his bag, and the two of them wind up hysterically laughing, her on the floor, him on the toilet.
“It’s one of the weirdest and funniest scenes that I’ve ever experienced, and performed so unbelievably by them,” says Simons. “You’ve never seen anything like it, and it just makes sense when you watch it. I think it’s beautiful.”
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS (Selina)
Louis-Dreyfus insists, rightfully, that it’s a near-impossible task for her to select her all-time favorite scene: “There have just been too many, and there’s always something incredibly yummy.” That said, she does single out a scene from the season 4 finale, “Election Night,” that features the gang all together in a hotel room, stunned to learn that there’s a tie in the electoral college.
“That was a really fun scene to shoot, because it was so chaotic,” she recalls. “Any time that we had our core cast together, and everybody bouncing off one another, was pretty fabulous.”
REID SCOTT (Dan)
Scott goes old-school with his pick, choosing a scene from season 1’s “Baseball,” when Selina’s team visits the elementary school and Dan is playing guitar in front of the children, giving the world’s most inappropriate music lesson.
“I just sort of improv-ed this scene,” he says. “My mind went blank, and I came to when they yelled ‘Cut!’ and it was something about teaching the kids how I play guitar. Like, my guitar-playing is for seduction and I was teaching the kids how to get themselves laid, and these chords would really drop some panties. The kids are in the room, and I was saying all this terrible stuff.”
“I’d never gotten to do something so irreverent, and the fun thing about improv and also just getting encouraged to be so vile is that there’s a bit of danger involved. I’m a dad now, and at the time I was not. I have a real respect for it obviously. And looking out at a sea of first graders, basically telling them how to get laid, it was just like, ‘Oh my god, these poor kids. Their parents are here somewhere. And they probably don’t understand what I’m saying, but this is awful. This is just absolutely awful.’ And also the feeling of like, ‘My god, it feels so good. This is so fun, I get to do such horrible things and not be held accountable for it. I’m not the producer, I’m not the director. They yell ‘cut’ and I get to walk in the other room and these kids get to go on horrible, emotionally disfigured for the rest of their lives.’ It’s kind of a thrill. So yeah, there’s a bit of Dan in here somewhere.”