Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Throughout four seasons of HBO’s “Veep,” we’ve watched in enjoyment as Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her bumbling staff mess up every way possible in their race to the White House.
But it always seems that Meyer’s overwhelmed head of media relations, Mike McLintock, makes the most colossal mistakes. Like when he uploaded the wrong State of the Union speech to the teleprompter in last week’s episode.
According to Matt Walsh, the veteran comic who plays McLintock, he’s done a lot of interviews and late night drinks around D.C. to hone his clueless character.
“It’s kind of like being a journalist,” he told Business Insider. “Pulling facts or how things really happen.”
Though many of the characters and instances on the show have come from research and stories creator Armando Iannucci and his writers have compiled, Walsh also does his own research before the start of every season.
“In the first few seasons we had a lot of access to senators, congressman, aides,” said Walsh. “I want to know less about policy and more about the realities of working in DC. ‘Who would get into trouble for this? Tell me your typical day?’ You try to get a vibe for what the job is and what their lives are like.”
With McLintock in the role of press secretary at the White House this season, Walsh got to talk shop with Mike McCurry, former press secretary to Bill Clinton who had the job during the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“I was curious about it,” is all Walsh would say when asked if he brought it up.
Walsh says doing these kind of meetings not just help him but the show, too.
“Sometimes there’s protocol, like who would shut this meeting down or who would introduce the president or secure this interview, and that’s helpful to know because sometimes it’s not correct in the script or not spoken to,” he explains.
But there’s also research Walsh goes through to play McLintock to his most zany that has nothing to do with Beltway politics.
On Sunday night’s episode, McLintock decides to darken his mustache, hoping to look younger on TV while doing his daily televised White House briefings, but instead the mustache has a hilarious orange glow to it. One character comments that he looks like Yosemite Sam.
And in typical McLintock fashion, things get worse for him later in the episode when the orange dye begins to drip all over his lips while being peppered with questions by the press at a briefing on why a Native American painting has been taken down in the White House.
In order to get the right orange colour, Walsh says he had to go through seven or eight different sittings of dyeing his mustache until they got the exact right look.
“All I asked was whatever they do just let me be able to take it off at the end of the day,” he said. “Luckily they could.”
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