Peter MacNicol admits he “didn’t enjoy saying goodbye” to his character on “Veep.” The veteran actor frequently popped up as a guest star on HBO’s political satire as Jeff Kane, the foul-mouthed, devilishly wicked uncle to bumbling politician Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons). “It calls upon resources you don’t even know you have to play somebody so effortlessly vile,” which was “fun” for him to do. Watch our exclusive video interview with MacNicol above.
MacNicol describes Kane, a longtime lobbyist and political power broker, as “a descent into darkness. I haven’t seen his likes before.” Playing him “was like living in a black hole. I was a black hole as the character, and the lines were a black hole, because they were so packed with expletives, and nothing was logical.” The dialogue was “dense” and “hallucinogenic,” with Kane calling his woefully-inept nephew pearl-clutchingly disgusting names.
Although “it was the actor’s nightmare” learning lines — sometimes memorizing entire monologues on the day of shooting — he would do it all over again because “I love the show so much. It’s like nothing I’ve ever been involved with before.” He adds, “I’m glad I got a chance with this. It was a wonderful opportunity” to work with “the deepest bench in comedy history,” from the writers and directors to star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who managed to scream louder than Jeff in their square-off during the finale.
Technically speaking, this is MacNicol’s second nomination for “Veep”: his first, in 2016, was rescinded due to a technicality over the amount of episodes he appeared in. “Obviously it’s an honor” to be in contention, he divulges, especially considering the race for Best Comedy Guest Actor “may be about the hardest category there is, because there are so many guest stars” competing each year.
MacNicol previously won an Emmy as Best Comedy Supporting Actor for “Ally McBeal” in 2001, competing before that in 1999 and 2000. The role brought him a SAG Awards comedy ensemble prize in 1999 and an individual nomination that same year. He contended for the show again in 2000 and 2001 (both in Comedy Actor and Comedy Ensemble) and reaped additional ensemble bids for the drama “Chicago Hope” in 1995 and 1996.
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