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Awards

‘Veep’ goes to some pretty wild places, including making Tony Hale go the ‘full Hall and Oates’

The actor offers guidance for Gary’s real-life counterpart (“just hug out that anger”) and discusses the joys of breaking into laughter on camera.

Tony Hale has won two Emmys and picked up five nominations for his turn as Selina Meyer’s beleaguered bagman, Gary, in the HBO comedy “Veep.”

With the material “Veep’s” writers gave Hale this season, another nomination was in the … carryall. Whether it was taking the co-dependency of Gary and Selina’s relationship to deeper, darker places or meeting Gary’s parents and discovering the reason he puts up with all of Selina’s abuse (Hi, Dad!), the season offered another showcase for Hale’s comedic talents.

Hale stopped by The Times’ video studio recently, just as he was about to begin filming a new season of “Arrested Development.” While he was elusive on details about that show (“I have no idea!”), Hale had plenty to offer about Gary’s misadventures on this past season of “Veep.”

Jean Smart and Stephen Root playing Gary’s parents elicited some serious appreciation, particularly Root’s treacherous turn. Root was so good, Hale says, that “Veep” showrunner David Mandel had to step in with some advice.

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“There was one time I was hitting him, my dad, and it got really intense and I was loving it,” Hale remembers. “I was like, ‘Let’s get in there and scream and hit.’ And Dave was like, ‘We’ve got to find the balance.’ Because it was getting too dark. It was getting too Southern Gothic.”

Not that Gary’s freakout wasn’t fully in order.

“Some of the stuff he said to Gary was just so mean, and Gary, just seeing the way he was trying to get his dad’s attention and affection, that was a lot of the sadness,” Hale says. “Even Selina was like, ‘How can you let your dad talk to you that way?’ ”

And when Selina Meyer thinks someone is being too mean, then you know you have a problem.

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“Veep” also gave us a flashback to when Gary first met Selina. She’s giving birth and who’s there to feed her ice chips? Gary, then a candy striper.

The trip back in time (24 years to be precise) required a special visit to hair and makeup.

“That wig was a lot,” Hale says. “The wig was full Hall and Oates ’85. Or Rick Springfield. It was very Rick Springfield. It was like a flashback to my high school days. There was a full Southern tail back there.”

You can watch the full interview here.

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Tony Hale, who plays Gary, the beleaguered assistant to Selina Meyer on “Veep,” discusses his character’s disastrous celebration, which featured Jean Smart and Stephen Root as his parents.

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

Twitter: @glennwhipp

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