Listen: Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Playing ‘Lovable Assholes,’ and Tony Hale on That ‘Veep’ Finale Gut Punch

Julia Louis-Dreyfus knew the bar was high when it came time to end “Veep.”

“It was very important for us to stick this f—ing landing and then some,” she told Variety‘s My Favorite Episode podcast. “Because I really feel this has been the job of a lifetime for me thus far. I feel and felt very protective of it from the beginning. I was fiercly determined to get this sucker right on the way out.”

In the end, President Selina Meyer’s legacy “is a dismal one and to be forgotten, and it’s appropriate,” Louis-Dreyfus noted. And then, of course, there is the heartbreaking moment where Selina sells out her one true loyalist, sycophant bag boy Gary Walsh (Tony Hale), who is sent to jail to clear the path for her election.

“That moment where she sent him to jail, that was a gift to Gary because nothing was going to break this obsession,” Hale told “My Favorite Episode.” “Her sending him to jail was the only thing that would break it.”

And even then, Louis-Dreyfus isn’t so sure: In one of the final, flash forward scenes, Gary is seen visiting Salina’s funeral — carrying her favorite lipstick.

“Saying goodbye was kind of a gut punch,” Louis-Dreyfus said of the show and those characters. “We’re clinging to one another. We actually live together [now].”

On this edition of the podcast, we talk to Louis-Dreyfus and Hale, both of whom are Emmy nominated this year for their roles “on Veep” as President Selina Meyer and Gary Walsh. Louis-Dreyfus chose an “All in the Family” episode, while Hale picked a famous “Carol Burnett Show” sketch. We talk about their inspirations, and why it’s so hard to say goodbye after seven seasons of Veep. Listen free and download at Apple Podcasts or down below:

CREDIT: Sony Pictures TV

Louis-Dreyfus’ favorite episode pick is “Cousin Maude’s Visit,” the 12th episode of Season 2 from “All in the Family,” which first aired Dec. 11, 1971.

“‘All in the Family’ informed my life without my knowing it,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “I was devoted to it as a kid, and I watched it religiously. I adored it. But without realizing it, it informed me as a performer. Carroll O’Connor played the most horrific person that you adored. And I think I’ve made a career of playing lovable assholes.”

The episode was directed by John Rich, with a teleplay by Phil Miskhin, Michael Ross and Bernie West and a story by Mishkin. When the Bunkers come down with the flu, Edith’s cousin Maude (Bea Arthur) comes to help — much to the chagrin of Archie (Carroll O’Connor). The episode was the introduction of Maude, who appeared one more time before starring in her own spin-off.

“It’s these two comedy greats, I think of them almost as lions, in a scene together, they were so powerful,” Louis-Dreyfus said. “[Arthur] was a force for feminism, back when feminism was less of a dirty word than it is today.”

Hale’s favorite TV episode, meanwhile, features a 1969 “Carol Burnett Show” sketch starring Tim Conway as a rookie dentist and Harvey Korman as his unwitting patient. That dentist sketch is often included on lists of TV’s all-time best moments.

“Tim Conway, the amount of physicality was done so organically,” Hale said. “He wasn’t winking at the audience. And the best thing is, I love breaking. I love gag reels. Harvey Korman couldn’t stop laughing and they kept it. I feel like there’s a lost art of showing these kind of breaks.”

Hale’s “Veep” wrap gift to everyone was a thumb drive containing all of the blooper reels from every season of the show.

“I’m always blamed for breaking, but it’s 100% Julie,” Hale said. “I have seen these gag reels over and over. It is so joyful to watch.”

As for their favorite episodes of “Veep,” Louis-Dreyfus says it’s the show’s series finale, while Hale picks “Running,” the ninth episode from Season 2.

Editorial use only. No book cover usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by HBO/Kobal/Shutterstock (10286326k)Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Tony Hale as Gary Walsh and Brian Huskey as Leon West'Veep' TV Show Season 7 - 2019Former Senator Selina Meyer finds that being Vice President of the United States is nothing like she hoped and everything that everyone ever warned her about.
CREDIT: HBO/Kobal/Shutterstock

Variety‘s “My Favorite Episode with Michael Schneider” is where stars and producers gather to discuss their favorite TV episodes ever — from classic sitcoms to modern-day dramas — as well as pick a favorite episode from their own series. On “My Favorite Episode,” some of the biggest names in TV share their creative inspirations — and how those episodes influenced them.

Be sure to subscribe to “My Favorite Episode” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.

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