“Veep” creator Armando Ianucci visited Washington last weekend for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and in addition having a bit of fun, he was on a mission to collect fodder that might find its way into future scripts.
In previous seasons of the HBO show, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer, he’s skewered public officials and staffers, pointing up their foibles and preening ways.
Now, he tells us, he’s digging deeper, looking for a new target among Washington’s stable of characters. “What I’m keen to look at now are all those other hundreds of thousands of people in Washington who aren’t in any administration job but somehow are always there — the lobbyists, the consultants, the think tanks, the movers and shakers, the organizers,” he said during an interview recapping the weekend. “The personalities who aren’t part of any administration. That’s an interesting area.”
This weekend, he says, was a chance to see them in action. So what did he learn about them? First they’re young. “The people in charge look like they’re 22 — and they are 22.” And another thing — they operate in the shadows. ” If you’re canny you can find a quiet corner somewhere and a few contacts, and gradually build up an empire of your own without anyone knowing,” he says.
Ianucci, who helped put together the video shown at the dinner in which faux Vice President Meyer teams up with real-life Veep Joe Biden, also weighed in on the dinner’s comedic performances. President Obama, he says, has a “natural comedian’s delivery,” he says. “He doesn’t ham it up. He says the line deadpan and then he waits for the applause without having to do a funny face or raise an eyebrow or try and give it something,” he says.
Come 2016, it might serve him well. “He’s got a whole new career ahead of him.” (Hear that Mr. President?)
As for comedian Joel McHale, who’s drawn mixed reviews for his performance as the dinner’s professional funnyman, Ianucci had a thumbs-up.
“I thought it was funny,” he says. “I’m told that people in the room were offended. But isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? There’s no point in getting someone and then telling them to do something different than what they do.”
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