On the new HBO comedy "Veep," Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the vice president of the United States, Selina Meyer, a funny, flawed politico, supported by a team of devoted but often incompetent staffers, and the show spotlights the comical inner workings of one of the highest offices of our government.
It's no surprise that the cast loves working alongside the Emmy Award-winning comedian who has audiences in stitches from her days on "Seinfeld" and later "The New Adventures of Old Christine." "I got to meet her at my second audition, and instantly she puts out a friendly and playful vibe," Matt Walsh, who plays the VP's longtime press secretary, Mike McClintock, tells Yahoo! TV. "She is very professional. She just wants the show to be good. … The biggest thing that was surprising is she literally doesn't have an ego. When you're in a scene with her, she's willing to chase any joke, or do something stupid along with you. She really is willing to make mistakes along with us to see where it leads us."
She's also down to earth. "I can't say enough about how good I think she is in this show," says Timothy Simons, who plays Jonah Ryan, the White House liaison. "And also she's a dream cast mate. She's funny. She likes to tell jokes and hang out. She's a part of the ensemble. She doesn't separate or remove herself. There are no airs about her. I can't say enough about her. She's really an amazing person."
She's not the only veteran actress on the cast. Anna Chlumsky, who earns the "vet" title because she was a child star in movies including "My Girl," is in her first major role following a career hiatus. "Oh, sure I saw 'My Girl,'" says Reid Scott, who plays deputy director of communications Dan Egan, a ladder climber. "Everyone in my generation grew up with that movie. Yeah, and I'm allergic to bees like Macaulay Culkin's character was, so that movie sort of scared the s--- out of me [laughs]. Anna is great [as Selina's chief of staff] . She had a really nice career as a child actor, which is incredibly tough from what I hear, and she went about having a real life and went to college. I'll tell you -- you're not going to find a smarter person than Anna Chlumsky. She's just whip smart; she's just a vault of knowledge."
The show filmed in Baltimore, making it a quick trip to Washington, D.C., for the cast to do research on the real veep, Joe Biden, in the nation's capital. "We got so many great tours and high-level access," says Scott. "We got to crawl all over the vice president's offices, both in the Eisenhower Building and in the White House. … We were like kids in a candy shop. I took pictures of his desk phone. His number one speed dial was 'Barack.' That was just really cool."
During the visit to the White House, cast members had an experience they'll never forget when they came face to face with first lady Michelle Obama. "We were standing by an awning that goes into the West Wing and all of a sudden there was a bit of an energy change," says Walsh. "We looked around and she was being escorted by a few Secret Service people, and she's a very striking person. She's very friendly. She came over and said, 'Hi guys. What are you up to?'" And I don't know that we even got a word out. 'Hi, how are you, Michelle Obama.' We were star-struck." Adds Simons: "One of the people we were with started crying because she was so moved by seeing the first lady three feet away from us. It really was an amazing thing." While there were no sightings of the president, Walsh says, "I always say my goal for our show is to hear from a friend of a friend that Obama likes our show."
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In this Sunday's episode of the show, Selina takes advantage of some open time in her schedule to spend time with "normal" people (aka voters). She can't contain her excitement when the president has chest pains and she faces the possibility that she will have to take over for him.
"Look, the show is funny," says Scott. "We play up some comedy here and there. But I think people will like it just because of the honesty. It does a really good job at just showing you how human all these people are. These are not superheroes. These people are not robots that run this country. These are real people with real problems and real faults and real cracks, and you identify with all of them instantly, because they're just like you and me."
Adds Simons: "I think it's a show that will fit people's general mood about Washington right now, that would be one thing, and also I think they'll like it because all politics aside, it's just f------- funny. I mean, like you can be a person that knows nothing about politics and would find this show really funny."
Veep airs Sundays at 10pm on HBO.