'Veep' Showrunner David Mandel on Parody Being "Harder and Harder"
"I'm assuming everyone's going to tune into our season to see our take on Trump, and we don't have one. There is no Trump character. We're not a real-world political show, we are inspired."
"I assume everyone’s going to tune in to our show to see our take on Trump," David Mandel, current showrunner of HBO's Veep, told The Hollywood Reporter during the Comedy Showrunners Roundtable. "We don’t have one, there is no Trump character," he said. "We’re not a real-world political show, we are inspired by [real-world politics]."
"With Trump there are pieces of pomposity and absurdity that we’ve taken, but we’re not doing a real life documentary. In a perfect world Selina Meyer [played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus] should be the worst, most absurd character. Right now she’s kind of running second."
Mandel said when it comes to a person such as Donald Trump, creating parody gets more challenging. He related it to his experience as a writer on SNL trying to create commercial parodies. He said, "It got harder and harder to do parody commercials because commercials got funnier. When they are serious you could make fun of them. When they are kind of fun and musical or whatever, where’s the parody?"
Mandel stood alone among the showrunners in saying that he hates working with writer rooms. "I despise the room, and every show I’ve ever worked on has never had a room," he said. "Seinfeld had no room. Even when Larry [David] left and it took a couple of us to replace him, the individual writers were responsible for their individual stories."
"I think you can make something funnier that already exists in a room, but I despise the group thing. And every year when I do a pilot or two to help out a friend and I sit there and watch them tear it apart and put it back together in a room, it’s awful, and I do think it’s why there’s a lot bad network television."
More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actors and actresses, drama showrunners, and reality hosts and producers will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on SundanceTV, with the premiere of the Comedy Showrunners Roundtable on Sunday, July 31. And look for clips at THR.com/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.