For many of us, the ways of Washington are strange and mysterious. Most of what we know comes from the Internet and cable news stations. But with Veep®, we’re given an outrageously entertaining version of how things work.
In this upcoming season, our favorite VP turned Commander-in-Chief, will face Chinese hackers, a tanking economy, and bank bailouts—all while dealing with the stress of a re-election! As of now, it’s not quite clear how Selina and co. will make it all work, but based on the first four seasons, we’ll thoroughly enjoy watching them stumble along.
We talked to show runner David Mandel (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm®) about his love for the show and its star Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Read the interview below, and watch Veep‘s® season five premiere tomorrow, April 24, at 10:30/9:30c on HBO®.
You’ve been in the business for years and have worked on some amazing shows like Seinfeld—how has your experience with Veep® differed?
It’s very different to start working on a show the year it wins an Emmy. On Seinfeld, I worked there for a number of years and rose up the ladder to become a senior writer. At Curb Your Enthusiasm®, before I came on as an Executive Producer, my partners (The League’s Jeff Schaffer and Silicon Valley’s® Alec Berg) and I did a season helping Larry break the stories, plus we knew Larry from Seinfeld. With Veep®, I had met [creator] Armando [Iannucci] just once. I was a huge fan of the show, but I never worked there. I kind of had to jump right into the deep end. To stick with aquatic sports terminology, I believe there was a high level of difficulty to taking over a very successful show in it’s fifth season.
Was it fun to reconnect and work with Julia Louis-Dreyfus again?
It was amazing! I was lucky enough to work with her a few years ago when we did the Curb Your Enthusiasm®/Seinfeld reunion, which reminded me just how good she was.
As I said, I was a devoted Veep® watcher. I knew the show was great, and the cast was great, but I took the job to work with her again. As a writer, I have a big ego, and when I write the line, I imagine how it should be said. With Julia, the way she performs a line is always, ALWAYS better than how I thought it would be. It’s a pleasure to work with someone who is that funny and wants the show to be that funny.
You wrote some of the most classic Seinfeld episodes (The Susie, The Voice, The Bizarro Jerry) that include turns of phrases or expressions that are still used 20+ years later. What do you think truly makes for funny television that transcends time?
I can only tell you that we didn’t sit there and think, “Oh yeah, people are going to love saying this phrase over and over!” That definitely didn’t happen. I always try to write what I think is funny, and luckily people seem to agree!
Take a look at the trailer for the new season of Veep® below, and watch all of the hilarity from seasons 1-4 right now. Veep® Season 5 premieres Sunday, April 24, at 10:30/9:30c on HBO®.