Matt Walsh stars on the hilarious HBO political comedy VEEP. Walsh plays the hysterical and sometimes not so useful, communications director, Mike McLintock. We talked about his training at the Upright Citizens Brigade, what will happen if Selena wins the presidency, and what ever happened to Mike’s boat.
You helped start the Upright Citizens Brigade improv Theater in New York, what was that whole experience like for you. What did you take away from all of that?
Matt Walsh: Sort of a do it yourself attitude and trust that what makes you laugh is probably going to make others laugh.
How did that training help you with your work on VEEP?
VEEP functions the same way, when we’re rehearsing we try to crack each other up and make everything funny in the room, so that applies. Just the attitude that everyone is sort of responsible for their character. You can contribute and suggest ideas that even counter things that might be in the script. You can say well maybe he would say it this way for example. I guess in a way Armando (Iannucci) sort of entrusts us wit our characters, so that’s been useful.
Do you ever pitch ideas?
Sure, we all pitch ideas all of the time. Some make it in and some don’t, in rehearsal we improvise on our feet and those are basically ideas that are being presented to the writers and Armando because they are in the room. They choose some and some they don’t.
Is there anything you improvised that made it onto the show?
There was a rehearsal we had in the second season where Julia (Louis – Dreyfus) and I were rehearsing a scene in her Eisenhower office and she probably saw something with the way I was sitting in the chair or she was sitting in the chair, and she said “wouldn’t it be funny if you kept talking to me with my chair back turned and never realized I left the room.” That was something we discovered in rehearsal and it ended up being in the episode.
Mike seems very grounded now that he’s married. Do you think that was a good move, story wise for him? Do you think he could ever become a dad in the future?
I think they would like to have a baby, I don’t know they will. I also know that Armando wanted some joy in Mike’s life, I think with comedy it can’t all be relentlessly, punishingly sad. So I think he wanted to include a little joy into Mike’s life, so he conjured up the wedding and finding romantic satisfaction outside of work for Mike. I’ve really enjoyed playing that cause I think that’s just anther side of Mike and it makes him question if it’s worth staying with Selena for another eight years if she gets elected. He sort of takes stock of his life when he finds that happiness.
How will the roles of everyone on the show change if Selena wins the presidency?
I think there will be more people brought in because the stakes are higher, probably more advisors if she wins. But ultimately I have to believe that everybody will start to fall into their same job tasks, unless someone gets fired. Gary (Tony Hale) would be her body man and Mike would be her communications guy and Amy (Anna Chlumsky) and Dan (Reid Scott) would probably be fighting for Chief of Staff as they have been.
Can you tell us a little bit about this week’s episode?
It’s basically where she is getting close to where she can publicly admit that she is going to throw her hat in the ring for President. And so she has to organize that platform and write her speech, plan that big press event, pick a spot for that. For a while out of respect she can’t say she’s going to run for President until the President says he’s gonna resign so she has to wait. So now it’s getting close to where she can say it publicly. It’s all about positioning and putting the best foot forward in this episode.
Will we ever know what happened to Mike’s boat?
(Laughs) I think with Wendy (Kathy Najimy) taking Mike in she also assumes some of his debt. She’s financially set so I think she took care of the boat for Mike. You may not see it but that’s what happens.
You can watch VEEP Sunday’s at 10:30 on HBO, and you can follow Matt on twitter at @mrmattwalsh
Victoria Nelli loves TV so much that she is paying $30,000 a year to learn about it in College. When she’s not learning about TV she enjoys writing about her favorite shows, interviewing anyone in the industry that will let her, and ranting about how underrated Parks and Recreation is. She is very much aware of her Netflix addiction, and no she will not be seeking help anytime soon. You can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaNelli