Actor Tony Hale Reveals Gary Walsh’s Ultimate Joy
By Allie Waxman
The Emmy-winning actor behind Selina’s right-hand man talks about his character’s Southern roots, his relationship with Selina, and “Garyoke.”
HBO: Selina can be pretty brutal to Gary. Why do you think he’s so loyal?
Tony Hale: Because all he knows is codependency? It’s pretty much a domestic abuse situation. It’s like he doesn’t hear the stuff Selina says or he interprets them differently. He also does not read non-verbal. He just has this very dysfunctional, rose-colored glasses mentality and when she does attack him, he just bounces back full-force, as if nothing happened.
HBO: This episode, “Judge,” takes place in Alabama where they are celebrating Gary’s birthday. This must be a very big deal for him.
Tony Hale: Absolutely. All the relatives are coming. His goal is to throw a very elegant non-redneck party, a very elegant urban party in a very small Southern town. He was very excited about that and then obviously, it gets turned upside-down.
HBO: Selina ends up ruining Gary’s birthday party.
Tony Hale: He came in with such high expectations and then in typical Veep style, it just crumbles before him. But somehow, in his Gary way, he just bounces right back. The hospitality of the south is just oozing out of Jean Smart as Gary’s mother, and the Washington folks don’t even recognize it. He’s finally going to have his two worlds intersect, like, “This is my Nirvana,” and then it just completely self destructs.
But it is trauma. It’s just trauma. You look at this guy and you’re like, “A, get a therapist, and B, why are you putting yourself in this over and over again?” The fact that Selina got up and told his own story to a group of people at the party is truly, really sad.
HBO: Has Gary forgiven Selina?
Tony Hale: There was a moment at the very end of the show where you see Gary’s disappointment in Selina and what she did. You don’t see that much with Gary and you can see a hint of regret in Selina, but then she immediately spins it in her favor and Gary jumps on board. There’s a little slice of it.
HBO: What insights did you gather about Gary after meeting his parents?
Tony Hale: His dad is such an ass, I think he spent most of his life trying to protect his mom. And that carries over into Selina. Obviously Selina’s a lot worse than his mother, but he has it ingrained in him to take care of these women in his life. He sees politics in Washington as abusive to Selina so it’s his job is to take care of her, just like he took care of his mom.
HBO: Do you have a favorite line of “Garyoke?”
Tony Hale: I always loved [in Season 1, Episode 3, “Catherine”] when he whispered in her ear that the guy she’s been talking to has a brother who is in Rage Against the Machine, and she had no idea what he’s talking about. Or any time he gives false information and she turns to him and says, “That’s not right.” That always makes me laugh because he always thinks he’s on his game, but Gary’s not always on his game.
It’s not that he really likes giving her that information, but it’s more he enjoys being that close to her neck. That’s the ultimate joy for Gary.