When HBO's political comedy Veep returns for Season 3 on April 6, it will bring not just Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the titular VP — who's now aiming for an upgrade to straight-up P! — but also Tony Hale as Gary, her hapless and devoted assistant. The role won Hale (also known as Arrested Development's Buster Bluth) an Emmy last year for best supporting actor in a comedy.
In honor of the show's return — and the March 25 release of Season 2 on DVD, which should make catching up in time for Season 3 easy as pie — Hale spoke to TIME about what's up next.
TIME: Did you have a favorite moment from last season?
Tony Hale: My favorite episode was when she’s about to run the marathon and accidentally walks into a glass door. It was Gary’s and her nightmare. She’s pretty much the messiah to him, and the messiah was falling. And then he accidentally gave her too high of a dose of St. John’s Wort, which made her loopy, but the byproduct of that was that she told him everything he’d ever wanted to hear. That was a moment of complete nirvana for Gary — but then obviously, when the medicine wore off, it came to a screeching halt.
It’s sort of poetic, to have that moment coming from a mistake he makes.
It is. Don’t think that he doesn’t have a little stash of St. John’s Wort, if he ever wants Selina to come out like that again.
What's new for Season 3?
What I love is that it’s out of the Oval Office. It’s all the campaign trail. It really is like we’re the Keystone Cops. She’s surrounded by madness. It is astonishing that she hasn’t fired us. Gary’s really the only one who’s really looking out for her interests. Everyone else just wants the position to use her. Gary’s completely content where he’s at. He wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. But it’s more of that. It’s absolute chaos and it gets better and better and sadder and sadder.
How has doing Veep affected your own opinions about politics?
It hasn’t. I can honestly say I’ve never been that interested in politics. It’s a lot of information coming at me and for me, it’s hard to process. I need kind of quick summaries of what’s going on, just to get a handle on what’s happening. Those people who watch CSPAN all the time and love it, that’s too overwhelming for me, and I’m not interested in that. What is interesting to me is when somebody really feels they want to step into that arena. If somebody is really wanting to step into it to make a difference, if for the most part they want to make change happen, huge kudos to them. It’s not an environment that I’m called to, but if somebody can handle that pressure, I find that very admirable.
I’m sure they can’t imagine doing anything else, but for the rest of us…
I know, and I bet it’s kind of a rush, the fact that you’re in the core of where these decisions are happening and you can give your input. It’s not a rush that I desire but they love it.
What would be your best Veep-based advice for someone running for office?
If there’s ever a position where everybody wants something from you, it’s that position. You just feel set-upon all the time. You’ve got to get your core support system solid before you step into that, or you’re going to get eaten alive.
So, you need a Gary?
You need to find a very dysfunctional, co-dependent Gary in your life, who will love you like pretty much a dog, who will love you for the rest of your life.
Do you have an assistant?
I do not. But I would never treat them to way that Selina treats Gary. Never ever ever.
If any of your potential future assistants are reading this…
And if I ever did they could easily file for abuse.
Your other new thing is having written a children’s book about a chicken. Where did that come from?
What it talks about is actually a lesson that I learned from being in the business. When I first got on Arrested Development, I had [been thinking of] getting a sitcom as my "big thing" in life. I really wanted a sitcom. And I remember that even though it was so fantastic, it didn’t satisfy me the way I thought it was going to satisfy me. It had everything to do with me and my own expectations. It was that big lesson that if you’re not practicing being content with what you’re at, you not going to be content when you get what you want. This little chicken named Archibald is always looking for the next big thing and having all these adventures. In the end, he realizes that the big thing is exactly where he is. It’s a lesson that I need to remind myself.