Tony Hale shows up in not one but two of Rolling Stone‘s recent 100 Greatest TV Shows list – as the paralyzingly timid Byron “Buster” Bluth on Arrested Development, and as henpecked POTUS bag man Gary on Veep. The actor recently stopped by the Rolling Stone offices for an exclusive video interview in which he discusses his tenure on both programs and the difficulties of keeping a straight face around Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
“To be on two shows that I think are funny, and I love the material, and I love seeing what they come up with,” Hale says, “I am just so thankful for that. Because both Arrested and Veep, they make me howl.”
Arrested Development had established its reputation as a triumph unappreciated in its own time even before the show was yanked by Fox after three low-rated seasons. “People weren’t used to comedy being necessarily dense,” Hale explains. “Just reading [creator] Mitch [Hurwitz]’s writing, I was like, ‘Oh, this is super funny, but I don’t know how this is going to go to air, or how they’re going to allow this,’ because it was unlike anything. The way that he hid jokes and had flashbacks and things from four episodes prior, you really had to pay attention to all the hidden jokes.”
As for HBO’s creatively profane political satire —and recent Best Comedy Emmy-winner — Hale’s full of positivity. “Everybody on Veep, they were just normal, cool people who want to make the best show possible,” he says. “Behind the scenes, I definitely break the most, I’m the guy who can’t keep it together, and it’s incredibly unprofessional. I shouldn’t be working. It’s to the point where Julia said to me, ‘You know you’re not watching the show, you’re in the show?’ It’s a funny show!”
“It’s almost Pavlovian,” he added, “here she doesn’t have to do anything and I’ll start laughing.”