Timothy Simons is an actor best known for his hilarious portrayal of Jonah Ryan, the prickish White House liaison to the vice president’s office, on HBO’s Veep.
Prior to getting his “big break” on the show, the Maine native spent years working in theater, primarily in Chicago, and worked as a video store clerk as a teenager. Coincidentally, seeing as he stars on a show that lampoons American politics, Timothy’s interest in politics is deeply rooted, having been raised in a politically active family. In addition to seeing him each Sunday night in Veep, you can catch Timothy on the big screen in upcoming appearances of Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day and in The Girl Who Invented Kissing. He is also the father of recently born twins.
Timothy was nice enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule recently to answer a few of our questions.
1. You walk into a bar. What do your order from the bartender?
I’d like to be able to tell you that I’ve reached that distinguished time where I prefer a brown liqour neat, but I’m not nearly man enough to sit there and drink that. I almost always default to beer. Usually depends on the season which type. In the winter months I go for Porters. If I’m at an occasion where beer is not acceptable or not available I go vodka rocks two limes.
2. Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter?
@mikeleffingwell is one of the funniest guys on there right now. Consistently amazing multi-layered jokes he writes with alarming simplicity. It’s baffling how weird and good he is.
3. What’s currently waiting for you on your DVR/TiVO?
Orphan Black. Heard amazing things, but I haven’t had the time the last few weeks to catch up.
4. It’s your last meal — what are you going out with?
I’d take my wife to Schwa in Chicago. We went there once before we moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, and it’s still the best meal I’ve ever had.
5. What websites do you visit on a regular basis?
A friend of mine from Chicago started Colossal and I check that out every single day. That and my friend Roxy started Movies In Color which I find to be the most comforting and soothing website I’ve ever seen.
6. What’s the most frequently played song on your iPod?
I think the most played song on my iPod is “Title and Registration” by Death Cab for Cutie. I went through a really bad breakup in my 20s and played this song over and over and over again, bathing in the self-indulgent angst. I played it so much that 8 years later it remains the number one played song. I’m not sure that my roommates every forgave me for that. (One of the girls in the house went through a breakup a few months later and played “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers on a f*cking loop, so how mad could they have remained at me after that?)
7. The first face that comes to mind when you think “punchable”?
There is a certain kind of smug self-satisfied comedian face that exists in Los Angeles that I can’t fucking stand. It usually coincides with a massively overstated sense of importance. Also, John Boehner and Paul Ryan.
8. What’s your favorite meme?
I’m not a huge fan of video memes (sh*t ____ say, harlem shake, downfall). I would probably go for the classics, like Business Cat or anything in that family. I also love a well constructed tumblr gif that can portray the same set up and punchline as the source material. There is a certain talent that it takes to create that timing, and there is something comforting about living in a looped world of a particular joke for a few minutes.
There seems to be a theme of comfort from the internet in my answers to these questions.
9. Dogs or cats?
I’m a dog person who likes cats, but who doesn’t want a pet.
10. Best concert of your life was…?
There was a band called The Rustic Overtones that was huge in Maine when I was in late high school and college. I probably saw thirty shows of theirs. Beastie Boys touring for Hello Nasty would be up there, and The Hives at the Metro in Chicago. They played for 700 people like they were playing for 70,000.
11. What book are you most likely to give as a gift?
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell or East of Eden by Steinbeck.
12. What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
I thought I had f*cked up a scene in the network test for Veep, and I was sitting silently in the waiting area clearly obsessing over it. Tony Hale saw me, leaned over and said “Hey man, I can see what’s going on, and don’t worry about it. Put it behind you. Let’s talk about something else.” All I could come up with was to ask him if he had seen the most recent Harry Potter movie. He had, and we talked about that for a while. By the end of our Hogwarts discussion, I had (for the moment) stopped beating myself up. There are very few people in the world who, in that situation, would have given two shits about another person, but that shows you what kind of guy he is.
13. South Park or Family Guy?
14. You have an entire day to do whatever you want. What would you do?
One of my first jobs in Chicago was as a stagehand at a huge theater there. We worked crazy hours, and my only day off was Monday. I’d wake up early and walk, without destination, across the entire city trying to make the most of my very limited time off. I’d love to be able to do that again; to take a light camera, my wife and kids (who magically don’t need to nap, eat, or need diaper changes) and wander from the east side of L.A to the ocean with absolutely no schedule, stopping wherever we feel like. It would end in an indie movie theater, as the Chicago Mondays usually did, and through the movie the kids would be well behaved and quiet.
15. What movie can you not resist watching if it’s on?
Goodfellas. If I catch any part of that movie I’m in it till the end.
16. Android or iPhone?
iPhone, but thinking of making the switch.
17. Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
The aforementioned Schwa in Chicago, however a close second place was at St. John’s in London with Frank Rich, his wife Alex, and the Veep cast on our last night of rehearsals before the shooting season one.
18. The last movie you saw in a theater?
The Place Beyond the Pines.
19. Who was your first celebrity crush?
She may not have been a celebrity, but the girl that shows up four seconds into this clip of the Foot Clan hideout in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the first person in a movie I ever fell in love with. This was the most skin I had ever seen on a woman in a movie to this point, number one, but look at the attitude! The confidence, the swagger. Watch as she throws an arm over the shoulder of the guy playing video games, laying her claim to him as the camera flies up. I wanted to be that guy, the claimed man. She’d whisper in my ear “Let’s get out of here.” and I’d follow her around the city while engaging in criminal mischief and cemetery make out sessions.
Also Kirsten Dunst in Drop Dead Gorgeous.
20. What would you cook if Nic Cage was coming to your house for dinner?
Maybe a bunch of terrible food puns based on his movies? Maryland The Rock-fish? Fast Times at Ridgemont Chai-Tea? Grilled Con Air-line Chicken Breast? I hate myself for ending the question and answer with puns, and if Nic Cage came to my house and saw this list he’d be Gone In Sixty Seconds. I’m groaning just f*cking writing these, all apologies.