Best known for his work on HBO’s series Veep, Timothy Simons is easily one of our favorite comedic actors. Seriously, he’s so good as Jonah Ryan, that we often wonder what the man behind the chronically unlikeable representative is actually like. Not to worry, Simons was completely charming and Jonah’s polar opposite.
In honor of Veep’s sixth season, we sat down with Simons at one of our new favorite bars, Ravi DeRossi’s Coup. (It’s a charitable way to grab a drink; all profits go toward organizations that are being defunded by the current administration.) Simons shared with us the best advice he’s ever received, the issues he’s passionate about, and the confession that makes him sound like an old man. Read the full interview below; it’s the perfect way to jazz up your Monday morning…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Every meal healthy and well made, good friends, lots of wine at the appropriate times, and no hangovers.
Are you health-oriented? What are your diet and workout routines like?
I try to be. Since my mid-twenties, I’ve managed focus and anxiety issues through diet and exercise. I work out five days a week and try to do some sort of active rest on the other days. If I don’t eat well I notice a precipitous drop off in my general wellbeing, so I try to not eat shit food.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?
Don’t base your own success off of the timeline of others’ successes. That’s hard to do, but I think important. The best LA advice I ever got was this: buy a car that won’t break down on the side of the 101, get an apartment you like because you’ll be spending a lot of time there, and if you meet anyone poisonous and negative cut them out of your life. That seems harsh, but there’s no poisonous negativity quite like LA poisonous negativity. That has served me well out there.
What always makes you laugh no matter what?
Videos of people falling and getting hurt pretty badly; Donald Trump’s golf swing (it’s trash); the toast filter on Snapchat.
Any personal grooming essentials you can’t live without?
Currently on a LayRite Natural Matte Cream kick ‘cause I get to have a nice haircut, as opposed to Jonah’s intentionally awkward cut. Other than that, I use some sunscreen and face lotion every day. That’s pretty much it. The patriarchy is real.
How do you prepare for a long day on set? How do you unwind after a scene?
I find that if I can exercise before going to set I feel centered and ready for a long day. Red wine at the end of any day works.
Words to both eat and act by?
Not too much.
Who’s someone you haven’t worked with, that you’d still like to work with and why?
Steve Buschemi – because he’s always been my favorite and he’s always in good movies.
Which one scene from Veep (if any) has been your favorite to film?
I’m a big fan of any scene where the whole cast is working together as one unit, and any scene with Sam Richardson. I’m a huge fan of the two-man rivalry between Reid and me, so historically my favorite scene to film was the hardcore metal concert in season one. It was insane to film, and that was also the first instance of that rivalry.
How do you get into character as Jonah? What have you learned from him?
The flat-ironing of the hair is the first marker that I look for every day. After that, I try to remove any semblance of situational awareness or social grace. What I’ve learned from him is that blind self-confidence can get you a long way.
What do you think Veep can teach us about American politics?
Never underestimate a politician’s ability to do something massively stupid.
What is the issue you feel most passionately about right now and why?
There isn’t a single direction one can look to right now where the current administration isn’t doing something truly abhorrent. It’s hard to focus on it all. The issues that I try to focus on are gun control and arts education/public education.
What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?
I’m a big fan of Fork and Wrench in Baltimore, MD. Last time I went to Austin, I ate brisket three meals a day and when I left I was only wine and brisket. It was amazing and awful.
In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ what’s ‘the new potato’ right now?
We can stop with the jeans/plaid shirt/leather apron thing right? Can we keep that food but ditch that uniform? That’s the opposite of the new potato. Can the new potato be restaurants where you don’t have to shout to hear the other people at your table? I just turned into an old man in this answer.
*Timothy Simons, photographed at Coup in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann