“Everybody who’s in politics thinks the show is making fun of everybody but them,” reveals Timothy Simons of the two-time Emmy-winning Best Comedy Series “Veep.” In our recent chat via webcam (watch the exclusive video above), he adds, “I talked to a lot of congressmen in the lead up to the show about what it was like to be in your first term.”
On the HBO show starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the former U.S. President, Simons plays Jonah Ryan, who has now started serving as a freshman congressman from New Hampshire. The show has never prescribed a political party to its characters because the show “was never meant to be about partisan politics. It’s meant to be about politics and how both parties do stupid things. In real life that might be weighted more to one side right now, but both parties do dumb things.”
Simons says that one dumb thing Jonah did this season as a congressman was “shutting down the government because he didn’t get invited to a party. It was fun that the entire season built into that. Jonah’s falling upwards into power was surprising. I don’t know why, because we have so many examples in the (United) States of congressmen falling upwards into some sort of power. You would assume Jonah would fail on every level in congress. But it goes really well for him. None of it though is his own intelligence or guile. It just happens to all fall in place for him.”
With Jonah’s surprising success, Simons improvised the line “good things happen to good people.” He thinks that was a helpful reflective line, because “in his heart he does think he’s a good person doing a good job. When he wakes up in the morning he goes after what he wants. He just does it in the worst way possible, but he does truly think he’s a good person. God bless him.” Jonah also had to smash a clock on the steps of Congress: “I hit that clock as hard as I could and it did nothing. Something about the craftsmanship of the world’s cheapest clock. The sledgehammer bounced off of it. I was as inept at smashing as the character was in that moment. It was pretty embarrassing and it was done in front of a crowd of 40 people.”
Simons also reflected on an Australian politician that had to go to hospital for laughing so hard at the show he hit his head. He says, “It was the second time politicians over there had gotten involved with our show. Because the Prime Minister used ‘Continuity with Change.’ All politicians worldwide should be forced to watch our show, just so they don’t say the dumb things that we make up.”
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