“I always like when Mike can be as dumb or stupid as possible but it’s almost believable,” admits Matt Walsh during our recent webcam chat (watch above) about his character on “Veep.” He plays Mike McLintock, the beleaguered press secretary to president Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). “He gets beaten up a lot. I think the writers enjoy that and I enjoy playing it. He is constantly being humiliated.”
In this fifth season of the reigning Emmy champ for Best Comedy Series, Mike and his wife Wendy (Kathy Najimy), who have been trying to have a child, decided to pursue adoption or surrogacy. The actor says, “I love that story because it’s very common for people who can’t have children to chase that. Seasons ago Mike was walking around with a freezer bag of his own semen. He’s really been on this ride for years.” And, as he relates, “I have many friends who go through that. It can be tragic and it can be wonderful. It’s very exhausting emotionally.”
What Walsh loves most about “Veep” is “we’re afforded the custodial responsibility of our characters. I’m encouraged to say ‘I don’t think that’s right for Mike.’ They are constantly in conversation with us. ” He concludes, “ultimately I think the trick to ‘Veep’ is that there is not a lot of ego. You can’t have an ego where you are trying to protect your idea. Everyone is open to the best idea, no matter where is comes from.”
This recalls his experiences as a founding member of the improv theatre group The Upright Citizens’ Brigade. “Collective art like improv, requires the ability to relinquish your idea and embrace someone else’s idea. You need to listen and be willing to drop your idea and understand or explore someone else’s. I think that’s what I’ve learnt through UCB.” And, he says, “it’s a testament to the pulse that (series creator) Armando Iannucci put in motion. It is in our DNA. ‘Veep’ has always been collaborative. Even in our audition process we were improvising with Julia.”
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