Tony Hale on the End of ‘Veep,’ Coping With Anxiety, and a Good Groan

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So you’re voicing Archibald, and then you’re also Forky in Toy Story 4.

Isn’t that cool? He’s a spork in the middle of an existential crisis.

I don’t know if you know this, but when the first trailer happened Forky really threw people. There were human existential crises happening all over Twitter. A colleague of mine wrote a piece exploring what qualifies as an inanimate object and what qualifies as a sentient being in the Toy Story universe?

[Reading on my phone] Oh my god. Oh my god. I love this.

Anyway, Forky.

Right, yes. He doesn’t feel like he’s supposed to be here. He looks around the world, like, “Wait, what? This doesn’t make sense.” I feel like that all the time. He thinks “I’m supposed to be in the trash.” And I love that someone takes the time to understand him and say, “No, you’re more than trash. You’re not supposed to be in the trash. You have tremendous value.” You, Tom, are not trash. You have tremendous value.

You’re wrong.

Sometimes you think you’re trash. It’s fine. Everyone does.

Arrested Development and Veep, they both changed the landscape of comedy in their own ways. You’re so strongly associated with these two very powerful shows. Does that come with its own kind of pressure when you’re thinking about your next move?

Yeah. That’s where Archibald comes to play. If my motivation is to find that next thing that is lightning in a bottle, I don’t think that’s ever going to be the result. Having that motivation alone, there’s some issue with that.

Do you feel like you’ve been able to make peace with saying goodbye to Buster Bluth?

Yeah. It’s been going since 2003. So, it’s 16 years. That’s how long I’ve been married, how long I’ve been in L.A. Arrested is this kind of barometer.

What do you think it is about your energy that-

I do emasculation well? [Laughs.] I don’t know. I probably overshare. And there’s a vulnerability to [Buster and Gary] that I’ve always resonated with. They both have a lot of anxiety, which I have experience with.

They have much unhealthier coping mechanisms.

They have much unhealthier coping mechanisms. But the cool thing is, yes, they both are kind of panic stricken and struggle with anxiety, but there’s different categories. Buster’s in a state where it really is sometimes a form of paralysis where he can’t even function. And I remember Mitch Hurwitz telling me that all Buster wanted in life was safety. And any time that safety was threatened, he would just spiral.

Now Gary can be a little more functioning, and all Gary wants in life is for Selina to see him. And so, that motivates everything he does. When his Selina-pleasing is threatened, that’s when he spirals. Because Gary, his own personal safety, he’s not that concerned about. So, it’s fun to kind of play that anxiety, but in different realms. I think they would be good friends.

And I’m sure you won’t miss the hand.

Ooh, that hand got hot.

I’m wondering, everyone on Veep is miserable.

Oh, yeah.

And they’re all doing it for this weird vaporous idea of a career. They’re never going to be happy. That feels like such a different philosophy from what you’ve described as experiencing in your own career.

Which I am very conscious of. I talk about anxiety so much because I struggle with it. It’s something that I have to really keep in check. But you look at Veep and, yes, it’s about politics, but it can relate to any workplace environment. Just that sense of, it’s never enough. It’s almost like high school, too. It’s like everybody is trying to get as close to the power or the popular kid in order to feed off that, to get ahead. And then you think of the end result and you’re, like, “What is the end result?” There’s people who are just awful and they’re full of themselves and they’re greedy, and I’m, like, “I just drove by a graveyard and we’re all going there! And so your legacy is that you’re a douchebag.” If that’s what you want your legacy to be, fine. But you have a choice. I have a choice to rearrange my priorities a little bit. Which, by the way, not easy.

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