Why We Love ‘Veep’ Emmy Nominee and Scene Stealer Matt Walsh

Veep - Matt Walsh
Anna Chlumsky and Matt Walsh in Veep

He Plays
Former White House press secretary Mike McLintock, who has been trying (and failing) to help ex-President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) write her “groundbreaking” three-volume memoir. Don’t expect it to go to press by the season’s end. “At first, Mike was very excited to be involved, because he thinks he’s a great writer,” says Walsh (above, with Anna Chlumsky). “Now he’s trying to finish it, and he can never get access to Selina, who’s constantly being pulled away or having one of her moods.”

Where You’ve Seen Him
Playing the world’s most unhelpful hospital doctor in The Hangover and as a fortysomething attorney turned fraternity pledge in Old School.

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Why We Love Him
Any actor can make an ineffectual, floundering loser like Mike seem well-meaning. But with an upward tilt of his chin and earnest line delivery, Emmy nominee Walsh adds a modicum of respectability and hint of good-natured ambition to the character, which keeps him from being totally cartoonish. “There are lots of things wrong with Mike,” Walsh says. “He has no discipline, he’s easily distracted and can’t control his appetite. But he is also a political animal who’s been in the game for 20 years. Working at the White House was a feather in his cap.”

Nights at the Improv
Walsh (along with Amy Poehler, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts) is a founding member of improvisational and sketch comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, which now runs several schools and theaters in Los Angeles and New York. Despite his Veep duties, he still performs in the group’s long-running live show ASSSSCAT several times a month. “In my last year of college, I was on my way to becoming a psychologist,” Walsh says. “Then a friend told me to take classes at [Chicago comedy theater] Second City—that I’d be good at it. Once I discovered improv and sketch, I knew that was what I was going to pursue.”

Veep, Sundays, 10:30/9:30c, HBO