Up until the Donald Trump era of American politics, HBO’s Veep felt like an outlandish, albeit hilarious, representation of the inner-workings of Washington politics. But with real life characters like Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, Mike Pence et al. scripting an absurd new narrative before our eyes, the alternative reality of Veep doesn’t seem so far-fetched. 

Fortunately, Veep’s sixth season is able to take Selina and her team outside the White House, forcing them to adjust their lives after an embarrassing Presidential defeat. It has allowed the series to avoid comparing their own insane administration with the real one, instead mirroring the hurdles faced by Trump’s democratic opponent who is similarly attempting to bounce back after a crushing loss.  

In a show filled with political buffoons, perhaps our favourite is Selina’s well-meaning former press secretary, Mike McLintock, played by UCB co-founder and all around hilarious man, Matt Walsh. We had the opportunity to chat with Walsh over the phone about the show, the current administration, and Mike himself, and since we’re not nuts we happily agreed.

Comedy: If you had to use one word to describe the Mike McLintock we meet in season 6, what would that word be?

Matt Walsh: Overwhelmed. He’s a middle-aged man trying to raise three children under seven for the first time in his life, which is the hardest job in the world. He’s also broke once again so he’s stressed out about money, and he’s sort of retired so he’s going through that thing of like, “What have I done?” He’s a journalist so he likes writing but he’s not creatively or intellectually stimulated at all.

Season 6 of Veep has Selina and the team adjusting post-presidency – What would Mike’s non-political dream job be?

I think he’d love to be an author and perhaps a pundit where they bring him on a news show and pay him to be a talking head. But I do think he fancies himself as a great writer. 

Has this role allowed you to sympathize with current press secretary Sean Spicer at all?

I do sympathize with him. He’s in an unenviable position of working for a crazy, chaotic administration. But by the same token, I feel like at some point you just have to quit because it’s your life. Like, do you really want to defend that administration forever?

What’s hardest you can recall laughing on set over six seasons?

It might be because it’s recent but when I watched episode one (of season six) and saw Jonah shaving his head and Dan Egan walking in and busting him, I really cackled. Jonah getting busted like that is so funny.

I’ve read that the cast is allowed to improvise. Is there an ad-lib you’ve delivered that you’re particularly fond of?

There’s a bit from season 1 where I’m pitching jokes to Selina at her desk. She’s sitting on a high-backed chair and she turns around and walks out of the room and I don’t notice her leaving so I’m continually pitching jokes across the desk and laughing at my own jokes. Then she appears at the other end of the room and says “Hey idiot,” or something along those lines. That was something we discovered in rehearsal. I think Julia had the concept and we played with it. It was rewarding to see that whole tiny scene end up on the show.

Can you recall a line, written or improvised, that was too vulgar even for HBO?

If it ends up in the final script it’s never too vulgar or over-the-line. The writers have a good idea of whether it’s just vulgar or if it’s funny. Ultimately, everything that’s vulgar is hopefully funny—nothing lives to the final draft if it’s not working.

What do you think is the stupidest thing Mike has said or done on Veep so far?

What comes to mind is when Selina is getting sworn in as President and Mike bumps into a lamp, which causes her not to repeat the oath verbatim, so they later had to swear her in again. I thought that was really funny.

Who’s the most morally reprehensible character on Veep?

It’d have to be Selina and her willingness to do anything to get ahead. She’s ethically rudderless sometimes.

What would be your elevator pitch be for Veep Season 11?

An international consulate selects candidates from every nation to colonize Mars and form a new government. Selina and her team represent the United States.

Can you ballpark the number of “fucks” delivered in five-plus seasons of Veep?

We can be logical: So it’s a 30-minute show. There’s been like 50 episodes and let’s say there 10 ten an episode… no, there are more than 10 an episode. I’ll say a thousand. 

You’ve had parts in tons of movies over the last 15 years – are there any that you wish got more attention?

Selfishly, I got to play an action hero in a tornado movie and I don’t think a lot of people saw it. It’s called Into the Storm and it was like being an adolescent boy again. I was driving trucks, running past explosions, swinging on ropes, and diving into mud. That was really fun.

Veep Season 5 is out now available on Blu-ray (with deleted scenes and audio commentaries that are well worth your time) and Digital HD, and Veep Season 6 is currently airing Sunday nights on HBO Canada