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Interview with Matt Walsh

mike

HBO

At the beginning of episode 205, Amy tells Dan to be more like Mike with the press, but he claims "even Mike doesn't want to be like Mike." Is there any truth to that?

Matt Walsh

There's probably an unhealthy amount of self-loathing in Mike McClintock. I think he probably loved politics when he started and still shares a lot of the same beliefs as Selina, but it just beats you down after a while.

HBO

Mike seems rather unambitious. Why is that?

Matt Walsh

He's seen what sticking your neck out gets you. That ambition can destroy you. He's quite content in his position and it's perhaps higher than he thought he would get, so he sees no reason to challenge himself to do more.

Unlike Jonah, who's full of ego and swagger and thinks he's the top hot shit because he has that lanyard that says West Wing, Mike realizes that everyone in DC is quite insignificant unless they're the president, and even he gets beaten down. What makes Mike different is that he's witnessed the mercurial nature of power and public opinion.

HBO

How do you think Mike would handle the reporters in Helsinki if he were in Dan's shoes and not in math prison, aka, Dream Metric?

Matt Walsh

He'd keep it a lot lighter. Put out a little white noise around the issue to confuse them and then maybe have drinks with them afterwards to curry favor.

HBO

Everyone really misses him in this episode. That's not a sentiment that's expressed often.

Matt Walsh

[Laughs] Ultimately, whatever Mike's skill set is, he's good in front of the press and good with people, and that has some value in politics. He has many flaws, but he's well-suited for that spokesperson role. Even the way people enjoy kicking him or poking fun at him, that's a relationship, and that's a way for them to remember you.

HBO

Mike's been having a lot of "money challenges" this season - does he have a plan to resolve them?

Matt Walsh

He's in debt about a hundred grand and I don't know that he has many options. He tried to ignore it, or at least embrace the fact that he can't control it and just control his attitude. I don't know that he has any solid plan to alleviate that debt, much like our nation. I think Mike is the epitome of our government.

HBO

You're one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade. Has your background in improv influenced your portrayal of Mike?

Matt Walsh

I think my improv training and experience and the various roles I've been allowed to play have been perfect training for what this job has turned into. We basically got to help develop the characters in the first season and then we get to add dialogue and kitsch jokes - there's a certain custodial responsibility for our characters in the process.

Since I've done so many shows where you develop the characters from scratch or create dialogue from nowhere, I feel very familiar with and enjoy the process. I'm comfortable with the unfamiliar, I'm comfortable with the "Well, this is gonna suck but we gotta get through it."

HBO

And speaking of a "custodial role," is there anything about Mike that you'd like to see explored in future episodes?

Matt Walsh

There was talk between seasons 1 and 2 of him somehow getting a really young and attractive girlfriend, which of course ends terribly, so I would love to see that. Some DC publicist or some woman from the Beltway, a little too young and a little too attractive for him to keep.

Think Fast

If I were President, my pet cause would be: Innovative or alternative green energy.

What's in my Leviathan: A little bottle of vodka. Ketel One.

_________ was the worst job I ever had: Oh god, I did singing telegrams.

_________ is the best thing I ever bought: My blue Ben Sherman pullover sweater

I'd want my real-life Veeplopedia entry to say: "Not as messy as he looks."

13: Helsinki

Season 2