Emmys: 'Veep' Showrunner Explains Why the Show's "Sophisticated" Cursing Stands Out

Veep-Timothy Simons, Sam Richardson, Martin Mull, Anna Chlumsky and Reid Scott-H 2016
Lacey Terrell/HBO

"We want to tell a character to go f— himself in a way that you haven't quite heard before," says David Mandel.

Most challenging scene to pull off this season

Probably the gift exchange with the Chinese delegation in the Camp David episode. It was the perfect storm of props, many moving parts and a huge portion of the scene being spoken in Chinese and then being translated for real in the scene. There were certain words you had to hear despite the cacophony of dialogue and lots of small reactions to various and numerous gifts, plus entrances and exits. It took hours just to set up, but when you watch it, it seems effortless.

The thing people don't get about our show

It's not just cursing. And even when we curse, we try to do it in a very sophisticated way. We want to tell a character to go f— himself in a way that you haven't quite heard before.

I still can't believe we got away with …

Having an episode called "Cuntgate" — and my fondest wish is that our production design team wins for "Cuntgate" and someone has to say onstage, "And the Emmy goes to … 'Cuntgate'!"

In this election, Selina Meyer would vote for …

Selina Meyer would 100 percent vote for Selina Meyer because she believes Selina Meyer is the only candidate who can help America elect someone named Selina Meyer.

My Emmy night ritual

Losing, getting angry I'm in a tuxedo and then watching an even angrier Chuck Lorre waiting for his car.

If I was in charge of Emmy seating, I'd put myself next to …

Anyone but Chuck Lorre after he reads the above answer.

My advice for host Jimmy Kimmel

Cut a few categories. I would love to tell people that I was at the only Emmys that ever ended an hour early because it went so fast.


Seasons: 5 on HBO
Executive producers: David Mandel, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lew Morton, Christopher Godsick, Frank Rich
Emmy history: 42 nominations, 9 wins
2016 Awards: WGA Award for comedy series
Unexpected Plot Twist: Too close to reality? Selina mistakenly sends a DM meant for her paramour to the Twitterverse, then blames it on Chinese hacking.
Fun fact: Louis-Dreyfus and the show’s Tony Hale both worked on Arrested Development but had no recollection of acting in scenes opposite each other until they received a photo of them together on set.

This story first appeared in a special Emmy issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.