The Veep actor makes being hilarious look as natural as breathing.
Actor Tony Hale, with an amazing staff of writers and uber-talented co-stars, is tasked with the harder-than-it-looks job of making political mayhem hilarious in HBO’s hit show, Veep.
Luckily for him, pressure and stress are just the tools he needs to play Gary Walsh, the sheepish and devoted assistant to Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ egocentric, scurrilous politician Selina Meyer. Gary is Selina’s personal assistant or “body man,” tasked with anticipating her every need. Carrying his signature satchel, he is ready for any demand at a moment’s notice, toting newspapers, her schedule, makeup, sweeteners and snacks. In the 2015 “Gary Antoinette” episode involving a cake scandal, Selina rips into him, saying, “You are not a big shot, Gary, you’re a middle-aged man who sanitizes my tweezers.”
In Laughter We Trust
With Americans so politically focused as of late, Tony isn’t worried that Veep might need to become a more serious reflection of our government. In fact, he thinks quite the opposite.
“Maybe people are having a hard time laughing at what’s going on right now, but hopefully they’ll feel the freedom to laugh at our show,” he says. “It’s kind of sad to laugh at some things, but go ahead and laugh at this.”
Living Life Through Art
Nervousness, anxiety and self-consciousness are not typically thought to be the hallmarks of a natural-born entertainer, yet Tony wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Part of that was at first I didn’t know if I could make a living acting,” Tony says. “But then another part of it was that I was just very nervous about it. So I studied journalism, and then after college, I dipped my toe back in by getting back on stage. It was very nerve-wracking, but the more I did it, the more comfortable I got with it.”
He’s now been in the acting business more than 20 years. “You learn to surrender to the uncertainty,” Tony says. “Somehow, it works.”
Power of Presence
“It’s not just a part of my life,” he says. “My relationship with God is the majority of it. Obviously, everyone has their own journey, but this life gets crazy, and this business can get you wrapped up in things that sometimes seem so major but really aren’t when compared to what’s going on in the rest of the world, which can seem overwhelming.”
“By the way, I’m not great at this,” he added, meaning always living in the moment, prioritizing God and being of service to others. “But I am getting better.”
Gerry Strauss is a frequent contributor to Live Happy magazine. His last feature article was Ming-Na Wen, Agent of Change.