“Jonah would be exactly as bad as Trump,” declares Timothy Simons about the character he plays on the Emmy award winning comedy “Veep.” Watch our exclusive video interview above where he adds, “You might be able to argue he’d be better, but that’s because you are watching him on a television show. You wouldn’t have the same affinity for Jonah if he were in real life.”
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE SERIES FINALE:
For the final season of “Veep,” which aired last Sunday, Jonah Ryan made a tilt for the presidency. In his campaign he mined unlikely success from accusing math teachers of being terrorists. Simons shares “we’ve always been a pretty cynical and dark show. This year we were more cynical and darker. Jonah’s a petty narcissist, he’s vindictive and has no particular skills for the job. But he’s loud and angry. His presidency would look a lot like what we have right now.”
While failing to take the top spot, he was able to secure the Vice Presidency, becoming the show’s title character. When the character found out he was going to be on the ticket his response was “started from the bottom, now we here. Bwacka! Bwacka! Bwacka!” This line was improvised by Simons. He explains “there were different things that we tried, but I had been listening to a lot of Notorious B.I.G. Jonah is somebody who feels a kinship with hip hop and rap moguls. He thinks if they met, they would understand each other. Even though he came out of New Hampshire, his uncle controls the elderly vote and he’s been handed everything in life.”
Simons thinks his character winding up as ‘Veep’ seems apt because “the premise of the show was originally how bad the job of Vice President is. It was useless. That was the show at the beginning. We kind of blew that up when Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) becomes president. I like how, with Jonah, we saw that at the end too.”
On filming his final scene, that brought the show full circle, Simons reflects that “as the day got longer, more and more people started showing up. There was a weird pressure I felt. 150 people were on the other side of the set watching as I did it. Ultimately, it was joyous and fun and everyone cried.”
Reflecting back to starting the show, Simons says, “I was so nervous on the first day. It was the biggest job I had ever had by a mile. And it was first time I had ever been cast on a TV show in a role of any size. I thought I was getting fired at lunch on my first day. I now miss the collaborative spirit. Knowing we’d have each other backs. And I’ll miss hanging out with those people every fall.”
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