TODAY   |  April 24, 2014

Timothy Simons: ‘Veep’ cast instantly ‘clicked’

Actor Timothy Simons plays a sycophantic White House aide in the hit HBO comedy “Veep” who gets fired in the current season for penning a juicy gossip blog. He tells Kathie Lee and Hoda there is a fair amount of improvising on the show, and says that his wife has a hard time watching his cruel character.

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>>> he's arguably one of the most reviled people in washington, d.c. at least in the fictional capital and that's saying a lot.

>> we're talking about timothy simons who plays the self-absorbed over the top white house liaison jonah ryan on hbo's hit comedy "veep".

>> just renewed for two more seasons. this season he was fired for writing a juicy gossip blog. take a look.

>> okay.

>> updating more than i'm actually dating. the president is giving his state of the uterus address. where will the others fall in. maddox, conservative. where does selena myers stand? the first call could rule them all.

>> such a loveable --

>> you are.

>> how are you?

>> i'm great. thank you for having me on.

>> hoda turned me on to the show. she talks about it constantly. congratulations.

>> did you know it was going to be this kind of runaway success?

>> i don't know. i guess -- i don't know, i try not to look too far into the future about those kinds of things. i think our cast clicked right away.

>> let's be honest, you were happy to have a job.

>> i was.

>> you weren't thinking, you were thinking thank you, god.

>> i had a call sheet , that's what i was excited about.

>> when you watch this thing, it looks like there is so much improv that you're throwing things out there and spit balling. that's what it feels like. is that what is really happening on the show?

>> a fair amount. what you see on the screen is 10% improvised. because they give us freedom to be loose with the script, especially in later takes. but we have an incredible team of writers that puts amazing scripts together. and so i want to give full credit to those guys. they give us the opportunity to make it sound conversational and --

>> they have a take that fits what their needs and then they have fun with that.

>> they'll say, stay faithful to the script, hit the beat.

>> nobody likes you on the show.

>> nobody.

>> they have all these names for you. here is some of them. i like reading them. jonad. world's biggest single cell organism, long tall sally. unstable piece of human scaffolding. giant mangled ska e ed scaffolding that didn't have time to add details like self-respect.

>> you don't give a rip.

>> you have to separate yourself from what you hear as if it is not actually directed at you, especially the physicality. i lived with my face for a long time. i look like a bird of prey that gave birth to a muskrat. that's what i look like. i get that.

>> you do not.

>> your character does.

>> your character does.

>> you have to have that separation of, like -- when the cameras stop rolling, i'm very handsome.

>> in real life , you have twins.

>> i have twins.

>> somebody finds you irresistible.

>> how long have you been married?

>> coming up on six years. that's harper and in the back is marty.

>> is this your biggest acting gig yet or did you have other things before this that were --

>> very small things, but this is the -- this the first television job i've had.

>> you said you had films but you were edited out.

>> edited out.

>> be real here, okay?

>> yeah, i basically this is my first television gig and my first big gig .

>> everybody on the show, are they friends? it seems like you would be off camera. are you?

>> we get along quite well. we shoot in baltimore, so we're sort of family in baltimore, but we hang out in the off season. i was just at walsh's house the other day.

>> are you anything like your character at all? is there any part of you that is like jonah?

>> maybe, maybe a little bit. horrible thing to admit, maybe a little bit. not super --

>> what do you think of this character you play?

>> i don't think she likes him. i think it is hard for her to watch sometimes, some of the really awful things.

>> yeah. it is a lot of fun.

>> thanks. thanks so much.

>> give our love to everybody. two big fans here.