“Veep” returns for its fourth season Sunday night at 10:30 on HBO. Based on the four episodes I've seen, this may be the comedy's strongest season yet, as making Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Selina Meyer into the President of the United States – even if it may only be for eight months if she loses the next election – has only increased the enormity of her screw-ups, and raised the comic stakes for the series.
Last night, I got to moderate a panel at New York's Paley Center with Louis-Dreyfus, Matt Walsh, Anna Chlumsky (who came for part of the panel even though she had to leave early to make a Broadway curtain that night), Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Timothy Simons and new cast regular Sam Richardson. It was a great time hearing the actors talk about the show's peculiarities, struggle to find anything their characters are actually good at, discuss working with guest star Hugh Laurie (who appears after the episodes I've seen), and a lot more.
I hope to at some point properly embed the panel below, but for now, the embed isn't working properly, so I would advise you to go watch it at Yahoo. Some particular highlights:
* In a minor spoiler for Sunday's premiere, I got guest star Patton Oswalt to send a question Simons' way, which led to a long run about how their scene together (which involves Oswalt's character grabbing Jonah in the man region) was, according to Simons' “My first sex scene.” Louis-Dreyfus' reaction to this was almost as funny as Simons' attempt to defend that characterization, and then it turned into a gift that kept on giving for the rest of the panel.
* There really wasn't a need to get into other roles played by these actors, but I did ask Cole whether there was anything he learned from his days as “The West Wing” vice-president that he could apply here; Cole suggested the two shows are “Different planets with the same furniture.”
* When I asked Louis-Dreyfus how much longer she sees the show going now that Selina has, at least temporarily, moved into the top job, she knocked on the wooden table and said she hoped for many years to come. Based on how enthusiastic these people are about working together, and how “Veep” seems to improve with each season, I'd like to see that happen.
Mainly, it's just incredibly funny people being funny for an hour, and me trying to stay out of the way. Enjoy.