Thomas R. Marshall once quipped about the rather boring position of the Vice President, “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected Vice President of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again.” Marshall, believe it or not, made these remarks as the 26th Vice President of the United States. His predecessor John Adams, the first Vice President, remarked, “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” Clearly at least several Vice Presidents have found the position to be a bore.
So it’s only natural that such a high-ranked yet limited position in government would be ripe for comedy. Seinfeld veteran Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Vice President Selina Myer in the new HBO comedy Veep. In an interview with NBC New York, Louis-Dreyfus talks about the inherent comedy in the position.
She says, “I was fortunate enough to meet with a couple Vice Presidents, so it was pretty nifty. Not only was it interesting to hear what they had to say, but, of course, how they said it and also what they didn’t say…The thing that I was most interested to hear about was what did it feel like to live at the Vice Presidential residence? What was the reality of that? Because it’s not like living at the White House. It’s a smaller building – it’s surprisingly small – and what happens if you have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Where do the Secret Service go? And what was the most sort of, I don’t know, humiliating thing you were ever asked to do or – things like that. I was not interested in the grandeur of it, because you can kind of figure out what that is. I was interested in the real nitty‑gritty of that. And also what was not said. Certain questions were not answered very directly.”
Based on the positive reception of the first episode, it seems like Louis-Dreyfus will have plenty of chances to explore the answers to those questions.
Veep airs Sunday nights on HBO.