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The Dung Faces of Washington (with David Mandel)

May 14, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Director, writer and producer David Mandel (Veep, Seinfeld) sits down with Tim to discuss his new HBO miniseries White House Plumbers and his fascination with the behind the scenes of Washington.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Next week’s TNL will be streamed LIVE on YouTube on The Bulwark’s main channel. Tune in May 17th at 3 pm EST to watch Tim, Sarah, and JVL record in the same room for the first time in ages! The chat will be open to get ready to ask our hosts your burning questions! Join here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONVoAmys1Lg

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:08

    Hey there, I and this is JBL. On the Sunday episode of the next level this week, we spoke with David Mandell, who was executive producer and director of curb your enthusiasm and did his stint on Seinfeld. He was showrunner for the last three seasons of Veep and he is currently the director of White House Plumbers, which is gonna air a new episode on Monday night. It’s a fantastic episode. We talk a lot about politics talk a little bit about Nixon, a little bit about Jonah from Veep, a little bit about Seinfeld in the Bulwark episode, and even a little bit about the writers guild strike out in Hollywood that’s going on right now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:44

    Enjoy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:04

    Alright. Hey, Dave. Welcome to the Borg’s next level podcast. How you doing, man?
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:08

    Hey, I am good. Thank you guys for having me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:10

    I’m so excited for this. JBL, what where’s your excitement quotient to be, you know, in the presence of a Seinfeld man.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:17

    Mike Simon level, like in fourteen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:20

    A fourteen out of ten?
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:21

    Out of eighty three. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:22

    No. I don’t want ten. Among all the other things, wrote what is to my mind maybe the most perfect half hour of television ever made. Well, just tease that and we’ll talk about that later on. Uh-oh.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:34

    Dave now is the director showrunner everything, imminent Screes for White House plumbers, which is airing on HBO. We will get to that here in a little bit. I wanna do a little bit of politics as we always do. Dave, you’re kind of as I listened to some of your other interviews and went to your record, you’re kind of like the politics guy. I mean, I’m interested to hear how that happened.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:52

    You started on indecision ninety two, Yes. And Comedy Central. I’m old enough to remember that barely. And then Veep and SNL and Al Frank and stuff. And so how did that happen?
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:03

    Were you Closet Weekly Standard reader? Or where did your politics
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:07

    It’s funny. You know, I I grew up in New York City, you know, there was one political party, basically, the Yankee’s. My folks, you know, I don’t think I’m not even sure I ever heard the name of a Republican candidate. You know, as a kid, my dad took me down to City Hall, because he got invited to like Ed Koch’s inaugural. You know, it was like that that was life in New York.
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:27

    So very Democratic. I went to college and I studied government because I thought I was going to be a lawyer because comedy writing was not a career, I didn’t know I could do it, but I also didn’t know humans did it either. It just seemed like this other thing. And so I was thinking, you know, I I liked politics, I liked history, I liked that aspect of it, So I was the kid, I guess, who one way or another was always reading like, you know, Hedrick Smith’s book. That was me.
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:54

    And I
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:54

    don’t know what you mean. No. Didn’t hang out with any kids that were eating Hendrix.
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:57

    Well, there you go. Exactly. Well, you know, a little upper west side private school, New York nonsense. So sorry. Very New York.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:03

    Let’s say that for the Chris Secret Podcast. Okay?
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:08

    Well fair enough. I thought I was gonna work on a campaign. If you’d asked like eighteen year old me what I was gonna do. Go work on a campaign. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:16

    And somewhere in there, I I started commie writing at Harvard for the lampoon, and the next thing I knew that first real job job was in decision ninety two where I’m obviously writing politics and that flowed right into SNL and you know the first big sketch that I ever did at SNL that was like huge where it was like, oh, wow, I’m like watching it on the news the next couple of days. Was Al Franken and I wrote right before Clinton was being inaugurated. Do you remember he was jogging around DC and he was stopping and chatting with people and places. And we did the sketch where he jogs into the McDonald’s, and he explains the somalian warlord interception of food shipments by intercepting fries and mcnuggets off people’s plates and every time he shoves it in his mouth, he kind of goes, warlords, and that’s his explanation, if you will. And at that moment, I didn’t necessarily think one day I’ll be, you know, doing Veep and Watergate shows, but it just became one of those things that it was back in the day, it was sort of like an arrow in my quiver.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:19

    I was good at politics. I liked political humor. Then, you know, I went off and did a lot of stuff that was not political, you know, obviously Seinfeld and Kurb your enthusiasm occasionally has politics in it, but certainly, euro trip doesn’t, I guess the cat in the hat doesn’t to Well, Canada is very poor.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:36

    Yeah. It is.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:37

    But, you know, so it wasn’t something I was aiming for, but it was one of those things that when I took over v, from Armando Eannucci and started both doing the show and on some level, the Trump presidency ignited my own politics personally and start doing a lot of stuff with Julia and the cast, and we start doing a lot of, like, you know, events to raise money for different pull you know, we did a bunch stuff with, like, the Wisconsin Democrats and some of those COVID online table reads and all that kind of stuff. I definitely got more political and doing Veep changed my reading habits. You know, all of a sudden I’m subscribing to, like, political and, you know, the, you know, Washington Post stuff. I’m reading things, you know, the New York Times sort of Daily News, New York PostSky to reading like the Wall Street Journal just so I can get another side to things because it’s Veep, and we didn’t have political parties, and it was you know, it was interesting though. So I don’t know, the answer, there’s no great answer.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:36

    It kind of happened accidentally but I I’m not complaining, I guess, is a very long winded answer. Sorry.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:42

    David, how did you intuit just by reading through the Wall Street Journal of Washington Post? How did you intuit truth about Washington. Because Veep is the truth about Washington, and I spent a lot of years reading about all this stuff because I had always wanted to be a writer and go into politics. And then when I got here and saw from the inside and realized that it was Veep, I was horrified. You saw into it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:04

    How did you do that?
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:06

    We were lucky that we had a lot of people coming in. Our office almost turned into a little bit of a lunch salon and like interesting reporters and people would come in And very quickly, once you kinda got past the moment where they were trying to tell you something funny, because initially everybody thinks, oh, you want funny stories. It’s like, No, we don’t necessarily want to find stories. We just want stories and we’ll figure out what the funny is, but everyone just starts talking And very quickly you just go, oh my God. I cannot believe that or that can go in the show.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:35

    And sometimes it’s a turn of phrase, but ultimately, it was what the show was about, which is people’s just insane desperation to be three inches closer to the president than you. Do you know what I mean? That’s all it was. And by the way, That’s kind of what White House plumbers is, not to loop it all together. It’s all about I’m a little bit closer to the president, and I’m therefore a little bit more important than you, but all of a sudden my life has value.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:09

    And once you understand that, yeah, there are people who do go to DC trying to do good. You know, there are some people that I still believe are trying to do that. But there’s a shitload of finance bros that decided this would look good on their resume for a couple of years. And if they can have a senior in their title and they can be, you know, that baby step closer, and I didn’t create the character of Jonah Armando Yannucci did. But, you know, He’s got the access.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:39

    He’s got his pass that gets him into that part of the West Wing that you can’t go to. I mean, that’s just DC in a nutshell. And it jumps out at you and whacks you over the head very quickly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:50

    Yeah. And also, I think that V did a good job with the other insight, there are a couple of the but one is the finance bro element is true. Right? There are outsiders who come into DC who just, you know, wanna do the scaramucci. But there are also the people who just get corrupted over time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:04

    Right? There’s this element of, oh, they got in because they were earnest, but it’s like, man, it turns out it becomes really hard to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. But it’s really easy to be in the golf cart next to the chief of staff and have a good story to tell, you know, meemaw when you go home for Thanksgiving Right? And so you start to do that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:23

    Easy and seductive. Yeah. Exactly. And and this is the worst. There’s also a lot of people that go there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:30

    And again, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. They went to go and do something great to save the world, and they are confronted years later by their own absolute, like, I did nothing. And then that’s not even sort of the importance or not important. It’s just seeing those people occasionally like at an event or something, standing there just looking like they wish, you know, nibbling at whatever wishing they were dead because of their own confrontation of, I’ve been here eight years and I’ve done effin nothing. You know what I mean?
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:03

    So there’s something about that that’s interesting too.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:06

    So that’s Like, image changed from you from, like, ninety two. I mean, ninety two, you’re young, and kudos by the way, if not mentioning Harvard to your third mention of your college degree, actually saying what the universe he was.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:17

    I did it via the lampoon, which I thought was a classy way of doing this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:20

    I’m looking for this humor magazine in Cambridge.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:22

    Yeah. It was nice. It was good kudos.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:24

    Yeah. In the Boston area in the Greater Boston.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:27

    Yeah. It’s like little niche humor magazine. But but, like, that ninety two when you’re doing early SNL with Frank and talk about how you saw it differently and how like the jokes might have been different and how writing about Washington was different. And do you think because the reality was really different or just because our eyes collectively hadn’t been open to just how debased the reality is.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:49

    It seemed simpler, it seemed more fun, it didn’t seem as life and death, if that makes any sense. And I don’t know if maybe our eyes weren’t completely open. You know, there’s all that stuff in like the early eighties where you always wanna hear about what good pals like tip o’neal and Ronald Reagan were, and I don’t know if they really were. And maybe they, you know, hated each other, which is fine with me. But there was an illusion of I don’t know by a like at least at at the end of the day we can walk off like the you know the sheepdog and the coyote and go have drink at the end of the day.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:25

    I don’t know if that makes any sense. And that nowadays, I am bothered by the normalization that, like, you know, one side is sort of saying, well, let’s listen to this. Let’s look into that and let’s look into that. And that’s one opinion. And the other opinion is, you know, you’re a communist and you should be in prison.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:40

    And that’s the other side and it’s not another side. It’s this other that making it into a two sided debate Debases the notion of debate, so rightly or wrongly it seems simpler.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:52

    We had Will Saletan on last week. I wonder your take on this like if you even do a correspondence dinner now. Or a show like Veep now. For the comedy to work, like there had to be an ability of, oh, I’m gonna shoot bullets at both sides a little bit. You know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:04

    Or I’m gonna take punches? You know what? Everybody and oh I’m a comedian. I’m a truth teller. It is challenging to do that when you know, on the one side, you have somebody trying to overthrow the democracy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:16

    Right? And then on the other side, you have somebody, you know, like Joe Biden or Kamala Harris who there’s plenty material there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:23

    But then, of course, you know, then it’s like, you can’t do that about Biden. You know, it’s so mean you can’t do that about her. But that goes back rightly or wrongly I’m a comedy nerd, so I don’t I don’t want I don’t wanna I’m gonna really now reveal my hand. Okay. So, like, you know, like, Mart Saul, who, you know, attacked Republicans until the day, you know, and loved Kennedy, and then Kennedy got in the White House, and he started doing Kennedy jokes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:46

    And of course, people go, wait. You can’t do that. You know, how dare you, you know, your, you know, little brother is watching. How dare you? And it always makes me laugh a little bit.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:55

    And some of it is the partisan nature of politics, which is I’ll simply say Democrats are so on defense because it’s like they’re calling for us to be put in prison. So, yeah, their sense of humor when you try and make a little fun of their guy has gone away out of just, I think, the systematic abuse a little bit. So, yeah, it’s gotten very difficult. And again, we mentioned how Franken I was basically the one who brought me into S and L, talking about his comedy writing days, and he actually did the White House correspondence dinner twice, and I actually went with them and helped write a bit and whatever and kind of did it, and it was such a different thing. I mean, just even the the weekend itself, it seems like even the socializing seemed different, you know, in a way that didn’t exist.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:43

    And while he made fun of both sides. Both sides were fine with it, and no Republican got so angry in the audience that they decided to run for president and ruin the country. So, you know, again, a very different time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:58

    I’m curious on the franken thing. What’s your take on what happened to him? How would you judge it, somebody that’s outside of politics, his forced resignation?
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:06

    Well, I am outside of politics, but obviously I’m very close to him. So I I have no doubt the people will scream, you know, the biases. Look, I don’t know what to tell you. I thought he was railroaded. I know he regrets the decision now.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:18

    I think it was an unfortunate perfect storm of what was going on at the time along with obviously the me too movements such as it was at time, all the the revelations coming out, but also you had what was going on with forgive me, I’m not going to remember his name. The senior democrat out of Michigan, the the older gentleman who was accused of something and they may upset the black caucus And so they wanted they wanted a little I don’t know, that’s, you know, my take, it was there was a a bad mix of politics. And look, again, I’m not going to convince anyone of anything, I will simply say, a lot of those things were jokes, again, you don’t have to like them, but they were jokes. You know, I don’t know what else to say about that. They were you don’t have to like it, but they were jokes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:07

    And it was very clear that the entire thing was an attack job on a senator who was a comedy writer, but if you go back and look at his questioning on the judiciary committee, He’s the one that got Jeff Sessions to basically recuse himself. He was a brilliant questioner that didn’t do thing, you know, so many of these people during these, like, you know, you in a hearing, and it’s just they have they come with their prepared questions that were written the night before. And person after person after person asks the same damn question. Doesn’t listen to the answers. Al would sit there, he’d listen to the answers, he’d find inconsistencies in things that they were saying, and he would attack on those things and I’ll just simply say the Senate, it’s a giant loss that he’s not in there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:55

    I just happy to argue with anyone, but yeah, I think he was railroaded.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:00

    I want to get to plumbers, first seconds here. But here’s what’s interesting thing. Well, you seem I get my timeline right on this. You taped it when? What year, like, was it kind of written?
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:10

    Yeah. This is where it gets kind of insane. So it was written in like, two thousand nineteen, and we were all set to go. I was in and out of New York, you know, hiring crew and all of that kind of stuff, you know, in December, into January, into February, we were literally casting the morning of whatever that, like, Thursday in what was it the end of February or early March when basically everything shut down. It was like I I finished casting in the morning and like got in my car and got a phone call like I had to go pick my kids up.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:44

    The school was shutting down. So At that point, we were supposed to shoot that spring. We shut down for a full year and then started shooting again in May of twenty twenty one and shot May of twenty twenty one through October of twenty twenty one. And originally, we’re gonna air in May of twenty twenty two, which was a very tight turnaround. And then I had a I had a pulmonary embolus in November of twenty twenty one, right, when production ended?
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:25

    And then that editing went out the window for a little bit and here we are in May of twenty twenty thirty. So more than you ever wanted to know. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:34

    I forgive me just a little bit of a long wind up on this question. But the insight to me, it seems like of the show, is, you know, the old, all the president’s men lined about how these are not very bright guys. I’m like, let’s make a movie about they’re not very bright guys. Right? And, simultaneously, about two months ago we had Adam Brody on the show and he recommended we read a diary of a man in despair, which was about this one of our people from the Nazi Germany time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:58

    It was a conservative monarchist who was like, how the fuck is this happening? I just finished the book this week as I was watching your show, and like the parallels are so great. And I have to read this great line. This guy has in his diary. He writes, It was not even the physically beautiful and spiritually glittering antichrist of the legends, but only a poor dung face.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:17

    A middle class anti Christ. This is what this guy writes when this is happening. And, like, that’s what the show is. Right? And so I’m interested in.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:25

    You write the show about these poor dung faces who are like, totally incompetent in trying to execute these crimes. And then as you’re editing it, I guess, simultaneously, a different group of poor dung faces like plots a coup.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:38

    Yeah. I mean, it’s a very strange thing. I’ll say a couple of things. Sorry. Let me just get it all out.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:42

    First of all, I I wanna say this just to be super clear. The script was written by Alex Gregory and Pete Hike who were two VP writers that I worked with Adveep. They are the writers, I just wanna get their names out there. I don’t know if they’re listening, There probably are. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:56

    They’re big fans.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:57

    We have a very elite fan base.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:58

    What I will say about it is it jumps out at you of this notion of these people who begin to in the name of the president, in this idea that somehow like he is better, are willing to kind of push all their chips into the middle and be you know, just basically sacrifice everything in the name of this other. And you’re right. There’s a stupidity to it. And this is the thing about Hunt and Lady. They could be dumb, they could be incompetent occasionally, but they could also be really, really dangerous.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:29

    I mean, Hunt was a CIA station chief who may or may not have been involved in the Kennedy assassination. Liddy was I don’t know what you know, I don’t even know how to categorize Lydia.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:41

    Liddy’s what Corey Lewandowski imagines that he is, like somebody who could stab someone in cold blood. Right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:46

    And by the way, Roger Stone has been doing a liddy impression in the twenty years.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:50

    Yeah. That’s for sure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:51

    Minus the come have sex with my wife. I’ll take an ad out in the newspaper. Because Lydia was pretty good with his family. But really dangerous. I guess that’s the main point I kind of want to get into for a second.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:02

    And you have to, and this is I think what hopefully works in the show, is even when they are being incompetent and you are laughing it’s a weird laugh because there’s still that sense of danger of what they’re doing of what the mission is. So with all that in mind, it was this incredibly weird thing that as the show was written and we started almost making it the first time, and then it kind of keeps going. In very strange ways, the reasons to make the show and the relevance of the show only kind of start increasing day by day by day as first there’s an election and we have people sort of saying, oh, no, no, it was stolen, and being incompetent in their explanations. You know, something like, you know, and again, I know it’s now a cliche. But, you know, the whole four seasons landscaping is very on brand for White House plumbers in a way.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:55

    You know what I mean? It’s, like, there was an idea there, a press conference, but they kinda messed it up. But then they they didn’t want to admit they messed it up, so they tried to embrace it and it made it worse. I mean, again, I that’s my own explanation of it. And then, obviously, you get to January sixth where it just all of a sudden it seems like, oh my god, we have to make this show, which, of course, we were already making.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:17

    And we had our premier in New York City we literally had our premier, I think it was like less than two weeks after Trump was indicted. I thanked HBO marketing for that tie in, which, you know, they did a really great job with that. But, obviously, you can’t plan those things. But the relevance and those connections, they’d punch you in the face. I mean, they’re just there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:42

    Both in terms of the Shmucks that are sort of, you know, the Dan what
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:46

    did you dung Dung face.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:48

    Yeah. The dung faces I mean, g Gordon Liddy would have been you know, with his legs up and a, you know, a buffalo helmet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. I mean, he just he would have been. There’s no way he wouldn’t have
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:00

    There’s a lot of Jeff Clark in both of these guys, Hunt and Liddy. I see a lot of Jeff Clark in both of them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:06

    Yeah. Our colleague, Charlie Sykes, like to say, you know, people try to dismiss all the Trump stuff is saying, those guys with flamethrowers, they’re just a bunch of clowns. You know, and Charlie’s response is always Right. Yeah. But but they’re holding flamethrowers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:19

    Right? That’s what the White Us plumber’s thing is.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:21

    And I’ll go one step further, which is this is that other thing that happens. I think it happened a lot with Trump, but it happens with Americans in general, which is, you know, there’s no sense of history. And so and it was funny because I remember I just taken over Veep and we were in DC the first time as a group, right as he was like, showing up in Trump was showing up in Arizona and, like, you know, meeting with what’s his name? The sheriff?
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:48

    Jeff Joe. Joe Rapayo right now.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:51

    Yeah. Sheriff Joe and whatnot. And I remember, we actually sat with McCain, we sat with loads of Republican ops, you know, so many of whom were just kept talking about how this Trump thing was gonna be over soon, and the classic line was just always like, we kept hearing guy after guy being like, this is good for the Republican party. It’s gonna bring the crazies out, and then somebody’s gonna punch Trump in the face. That was the phrase they kept using.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:13

    We’re gonna get to a debate. Someone’s gonna punch him in the face, And that’s gonna take care of him and the crazies, and the parties gonna be better for it. And, you know, guy after guy swearing allegiance to Jeb, and how much they hated Trump. And, of course, they all ended up working for Trump later on. No matter how terrible a thing is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:30

    I was available for a VP interview back then, but I guess you didn’t need me.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:33

    No. I wish I’d known you. I would have loved you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:36

    You needed the Alex Castellanos of the world. My friend, who I got into a screaming match in the green room who you’re interviewing about. Because that was I was where went in and stuck with him. It’s like, you, you’re sticking with him too. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:46

    And it’s like all there’s a whole list of people like that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:49

    I mean, he gave a thousand reasons why Trump wasn’t the guy. What I will tell you he did do which was my favorite thing in the world was we sat with him and he had a drink and he ordered three fingers of whatever bourbon he ordered, which I’d never heard before, which I guess is like the measurement, like three fingers in the glass. And desperately tried to put that into as many episodes as possible of just people ordering three fingers of something, but never quite found the right spot.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:13

    Well, I guess he probably didn’t tell you the story. Me and Alex ended up in a Miami. He’s sort of been a good VP scene. We ended up in a Miami TV studio. It’s one of these fake ones though.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:22

    We’re like, you know, you’re on CNN and there are two closets, and he’s in one closet. I’m not talking about how how the republics need to line up behind Trump, and I’m in the other closet going, why is anybody lining about behind strongly walk out of the closet, like, getting each other’s face and, you know, do the, oh, we’re gonna pretend to fight, but no, actually, we’re a feat media people, so we’re not actually gonna fight. And then just yell at each other. So anyway, this was the kind of world that you inserted yourself in.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:46

    The closets would have been fantastic. That would have been I mean, because that cutting wide, you know, the idea of starting tight and then cutting wide and seeing like how kind of close you were. I mean, that would have been a hell of a deep shot, just that alone. But So we were there and just kept hearing about, like, what an aberration this was. And and that’s the I guess, that was the point I wanted to make is There’s nothing that’s an aberration about Trump.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:08

    We like to forget about these things. We think that, like, I don’t know, that Jimmy Carter came in and everything was fine, and ethics was restored. But the truth of the matter is is some people went to jail at Watergate, all the number twos and threes moved up a level, and they just kind of went into the Ford and the Reagan administrations and whatnot. And it’s Trump isn’t an aberration. He is evolution, and Hunt Liddy, Michael Cohen.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:35

    I mean, again, pick your person, pick your poison, you know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:37

    I’m wondering I wanna I’ve watched everything about the show, but for more on this topic is Bill Barr, I don’t know if you saw this, Bill Barr’s back on the interview circuit. He was doing an interview this week where he talked about how the Republicans aren’t actually a threat to democracy? Because like did you see these guys that tried the thing on January They’re all buffoons. So like Bill Barr is making the dunk faceplate. But Bill Barr is all like he’s lived through all this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:01

    Right? Like, I mean, he’s been through multiple such as this. So do you just kind of judge, you know, having to kind of read through all this at, like, a character like Barr? What is going through the head of somebody that has seen these idiots like literally cause a storming of the capital and yet now is currently signing up for another run.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:21

    As much as I am bothered by the idiot. I will, you know, and I and I am. I am truly bothered by the idiots. And as you know, as we’ve said, the dangerous wounds with the flamethrower or whatnot, they scare me and I’m worried. In some ways, my true disgust is for the bars of the world, because this is just this is a guy who is sitting there thinking to himself I might be able to be, what, attorney general in another administration.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:46

    Is that what he’s thinking? Or does he have his eye on something else that we don’t know about, and that’s where my just disgust comes in. Because he was there, he saw it, he was hardy to a shitload of it whether he wants to ever admit it or not, of course, he never will.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:02

    He was scared enough to run away from that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:04

    Yes. He was scared enough to run But by the way, same thing with Pence, you know, we get just enough, we kind of get the idea that he objects conceptually to the idea of people hanging him that bothers him. Like, I think we can agree that that he kind of is willing to go on the record and go, I don’t think people should hang me. But a lot beyond that, you know, what is he questioning Trump’s tone? I mean, it’s like someone’s got to punch Trump in the mouth, one’s willing to punch them in the mouth, so maybe those guys were all right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:32

    I don’t know. You know? It’s embarrassing because they do know better. And again, it’s that How do I get three steps closer? To whoever the next president will be.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:41

    And by the way, the worst version of things, obviously, as far as I’m concerned, would be if somehow Trump were ever reelected, but I intellectually would find it fascinating to see how many of these guys who have vaguely criticized him would come running back just as the exercise are. Seeing how many of them sign back up. I mean, I don’t wanna see it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:03

    JBL, could you field that one?
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:05

    I can tell you the answer to that. I come from the few David. All of them. And here’s the thing, they’re not even gonna wait. They’re not even gonna wait till, like, the the Republican Nashville convention.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:16

    If he starts doing really well and he shows well in Iowa and his dominant New Hampshire, and it looks like it’s basically all a done deal, They’ll just all rush to sign up right then because what they’ll say is they’ll say don’t worry. He can’t possibly win. And then this this is the last time right. Any of us have to do anything for him. We just bend over this one last time, and then he’ll be gone.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:39

    I want I wanna add you about to the two characters in the show just really quick. The Hunt character for the woody Harrison
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:46

  • Speaker 2
    0:27:46

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:47

  • Speaker 2
    0:27:47

    is fascinating to me. Not buttering up here. I’m saying the truth. I didn’t really expect to like the show. I felt like I knew everything about Watergate, like I’ve lived through all this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:54

    And I was like, do I really need another Watergate show? But like these secondary and tertiary characters, you did know the basics, but like about them as three-dimensional humans was the most interesting part to me. And hunt it sent me down this rabbit hole of like learning about his family and like what happened to his family and it’s like really sad actually. Here’s all these — Yeah. — kids and all of them are pretty fucked up now basically.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:14

    They’re all grown. But So my question is twofold. One, how did you balance like not making the hunt character in particular not really Liddy? Like not too sympathetic. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:24

    Or not too human. And two, did you actually speak to some of his kids and like other family members for the show?
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:30

    We never spoke to any of the kids. Everything is based basically based on research and then, you know, look, I’m not gonna lie. There are things that you do because, you know, you’re trying to tell, you know, somewhat dramatic story. So, there’s a lot of truth, I should know that he talks about these daughter’s accident stuff. That’s on record, so we know about that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:47

    But there were things, you know, we did with the two guys. We’re sort of like, we probably pushed some of his money troubles a little bit. They existed. But, you know, we definitely made that more of a character trait, just because again, you are trying to tell an entertaining story. So we didn’t talk to anybody But it just seemed like, and I came at it from a similar standpoint again before I was ever involved as both someone who I’d felt like I’d read a crapload about Watergate, and I knew a lot about it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:16

    And I also felt like I was a consumer of Watergate Entertainment, And, you know, at some point, you kinda go, well, do we really need another one? And so number one, once it was like, oh, this is different, there’s so many things in here I didn’t the multiple attempts, and the family on both sides, because Lilly’s family is fascinating almost in its opposite nature. They’re so this almost — Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:41

  • Speaker 3
    0:29:41

    von Trapp family sort of very tight kind of clan of some sort, clan with a C, lowercase C,
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:48

    did not realize the Lady Hitler fascination. I thought that you were just some Hollywood liberal. I was like, oh, we’re we’re really traumatizing this. And so that was the other thing I’m googling,
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:57

    I I wanna be really clear. I am a Hollywood liberal, but, no, also, he was fascinated by Hitler.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:02

    It’s always the ones you most expect.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:05

    You know, it was this conscious effort to kinda go, we’ve seen the Watergate stories where people are, you know, knocking on the president’s door and all of those things. And so this attempt to sort of dive in on these guys, you know, I don’t know what to call it, the Rose and Cranstern version or whatever you wanna call it of, like, these guys that are always like, mentioned but never focused on, you know? It’s always, like, five men were arrested last night, and then it’s, like, you move on and it’s always mister president. We need to deal with this. And so to be sort of on the ground with the burglars, to be sort of in the trenches and whatnot, just seemed really interesting and different And like I said, I was blown away by their story.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:45

    And by the way, let’s go one step further, how really, it is that Elsburg break into doctor fielding’s office that so leads directly you know, and they did both that leads so directly to Watergate. So in a way, it just presented this sort of interesting story. And what I try and tell people is it’s five episodes. The break in is actually only like episode three in the middle. There’s two episodes before and two after, and I love the break in.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:13

    But it’s the before and the after that, to me, is like why I wanted to do this, if that makes sense. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:19

    I’ve only watched the first two. I loved the backstory I knew some of that. I knew the Elsberg thing, but there are other, like, steps.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:24

    Did you remember Dita Beard?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:26

    No. Dita Beard, I did not remember I mean, I remember the story of Dita Beard, but I did not remember that it was again, Hunt and Liddy and the same Mitchell, the same crowd that that ended up shaking out. Anyway, it’s so great. Okay. My other thing, very important question about the show.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:39

    Is that Justin throws real mustache? Yeah. That is impressive. He has this g Gordon and Lady mustache. He’s the one who’s playing Lady and it is I mean, it is a masculine mustache.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:48

    No.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:48

    It’s it’s there. I mean, it’s like, had its own dressing room. He worked on something years ago, I guess, with a fake mustache, and he hated every second of it. The on and off and the you know, the taking it off. And so he he committed to the idea, he grew it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:04

    When I first met him, he had already been growing it, When I was coming on as director, he was already attached, and he knew he was going to be growing this mustache, you know, to have it. And I can only tell you, we called Cut on the last night of shooting, which was in LA, and he ran to his trailer and shaved that thing off. It had been like a year of that thing, and he had just had it. But my god, it’s real and it’s glorious.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:31

    Human thumbs up for me. Okay. Well, I wanna get to the fun stuff like Seinfeld. But JBL, can you guys nerd out a little bit on the
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:36

    writer’s strike?
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:37

    I haven’t been following this as closely, but I just think it’d be good to get your perspective since that’s happened in life.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:42

    How are things going? This is a pretty pro labor place right here.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:45

    It may be fifty fifty. Speak for yourself. Okay, JVL?
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:48

    The guy who was supposed to be sitting in for for me, Sonny Bunch is the most anti labor pro management capitalist running dog I’ve ever met.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:58

    Oh, I’m sorry. I missed him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:59

    And he has spent the last six months saying, we are heading to a strike because the studios are trying to screw the writers. And even he has looked at this and said, we’re gonna have a bitter strike because the writer’s demands are totally sensible and the studios are never gonna give it to them because the studios are trying to screw the writers. Is this how is it going for you? What does it mean for you?
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:22

    It’s going for me, what does it mean? I’ll start, yeah, on the ground level. I mean, it’s going okay, you know, it started, you know, whatever now. Basically, most days, you go and you pick I mean, and there’s not much else. That’s just kind of what it is.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:34

    You pick it in the morning or you pick it in the afternoon. Those are your choices. And the truth of the matter is, There’s no progress. The sides are not talking, and my guess is they’re not going to talk, I think whether they strike or reach a deal will have unfortunately an effect. You wish that all three of the unions, the directors, the writers, and the actors, could work together, but they they never quite do, which is always a problem.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:00

    So everything will be fine. I, you know, I was prepared for it, I am prepared for it just in terms of life, it sucks, because I think a lot of people are not prepared for it. I think the same people that are striking because they’ve had trouble these last two years of there’s no other way of saying it, of making ends meet because of the way the system is working and you have a kind of a weird combination of writers who have been doing it for a long time are struggling to find work and struggling to find work that actually covers their nut. I don’t know how else to put it. And at the same time, there are no jobs.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:38

    So — Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:38

  • Speaker 3
    0:34:38

    no young writer, so people that are moving out to LA to b writers can’t even get a start to their job. And even if they did, it would probably be for four weeks, again, you know, these are the problems. And the real thing and I don’t know, you know, again this falls into the whole labor discussion is these are not studios anymore. And I think to treat them like studios is a mistake. These are teeny tiny percentages of giant corporations.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:06

    And the two facts of that are number one, as giant corporations, you can mess with their business but they have other parts of their business, unfortunately, that can cover them through it. In the old days, I think when you struck on paramount or whoever, you could hurt them. And obviously, when Linear TV was a bigger thing, let me put it this way. Had we struck in nineteen ninety five, and America didn’t get Seinfeld in September. I think we would have had more of a chance for the other side to cave in because they would be very upset that they didn’t have Seinfeld episodes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:43

    It’s hard to tell when the pipe will feel empty in terms of like regular Americans sitting at home, noticing that there are writers on strike. Right now, okay, there’s no Saturday night live on, but what does that mean? So it’s gonna be long, it’s gonna be really bloody. I think they are not inclined to settle nor are we. But they’re not inclined to settle is basically the same sort of corporate malfeasance that’s been going on since the eighties.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:10

    I always call it the Jack Welch playbook, which is grind your distributors down, get rid of everybody’s benefits and whatnot, put them on sort of a gig economy, basically.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:21

    You
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:21

    know, everybody’s part time. Nobody’s an employee and fucking gut research and development. And I’m fond of saying, writers are r and d. One of the great American corporate problems is we kill r and d, and we smile about it. And writers are r and d, and they just They are doing badly all their cries of poverty.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:42

    They’re doing badly because they made terrible decisions. They made acquisitions that are hurting their bottom line. They made business decisions to go all in on streaming. That have hurt their bottom line. They have named bad successors at certain companies that hurt their bottom lines.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:01

    Writers did none of that. Writers had nothing to do with any of it. But we are in a system where the only thing that’s valued is stock price, And stock price is based on hitting earnings and on debt sheet. And so that’s how they manage their business. And I think this is gonna be really bad.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:20

    But we’re prepared. I know. I know. Hang in there, Tim. The only thing that strikes me as hopeful for the writers is that The studios are no longer all in the same business.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:32

    Sure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:32

    You know,
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:32

    the last time we had a writer’s strikes, the studios were all in the same business. They were making movies. To put into theaters and to sell a lot of tickets and then to eventually monetize with the downstream ways and monetize the IP. But now they’re not. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:45

    Now we have We have streamers, and then we have studios which are, you know, like Netflix and Disney are in very different businesses. Netflix and Sony are in very different businesses. Is there a way to break them apart?
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:55

    You know, it’s interesting when the writers sort of had their mini action against the agencies a couple of years ago, to put an end to the agency packaging, there was an element of that sort of they started picking off some of the smaller agencies and making deals and sort of eventually kind of, you know, worked inward and sort of forced the big three to ultimately make a deal. And I’ve heard discussion of that, I’ve heard it as a strategy. I don’t think we’re quite there yet. I mean let’s see where we are. And again, I think unfortunately rightly or wrongly, if the DGA strikes and look the DGA is not going to strike over mini rooms and AI.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:32

    Although certainly with AI, they should, because it’s only a matter of time until they can, you know, I think all of a sudden you’re gonna have AI starting to do things like previsiting movies and stuff, and you’re going to start to wonder why we need a director and why a DP and computer algorithm can’t start to sort of just figure out what it looks like. There are issues that are similar and I think one of them is sort of transparency. You know, we work in an industry where, you know, like Netflix doesn’t want you to know who and how many people are watching anything, because obviously, they don’t want to tell you, you know? And I guess, they can’t be losing that much money because obviously they’re managing to pay all CEOs, you know, millions of dollars. So somewhere along the way, there’s an accounting discrepancy that needs to be figured out.
  • Speaker 3
    0:39:20

    But the honest answer is, I think that’s a strategy I’m not sure we’re there yet. I think this is a second act to play out and we’ll know more at the end of the month.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:27

    Alright, Tim, I yield the rest of my time to you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:29

    Yeah. Nationalize Hollywood. Let chairman Bernie decide how much the writers get paid. Okay. I wanna get to the fun stuff.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:36

    So I looked at your career and I’m like, okay, where do you you could ask a million things about everything. But the my big question is, so you go into Seinfeld in the middle. Right? You’re there, I think, for a year with Larry, and then Larry leaves, and then you’re there with just Jerry So my main question is like, how are you not pooping your pants when you’re like, I need to pitch an idea to Jerry Seinfeld. About this show on year seven or whatever year it is and have the confidence to do it and not, you know, completely break down.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:05

    Like just talk to us about that for
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:07

    the most part, I don’t think you become a comedy writer without a certain healthy sense of ego. I mean, let me just start with that. It doesn’t occur to you. I mean, I will I will not lie and say that when I first got the job, the first maybe moment that I was pitching something, there was a little bit of I can’t believe I’m here for about a second or two, and then they say yes to something and they say no to something else and you’re kind of off to the races. I’ll go one step beyond that, which is I was lucky enough that I kind of was hanging out at the offices a bit the year before I got hired.
  • Speaker 3
    0:40:41

    My two later writing partners. Jeff Schaeffer and Alec Berg, Jeff, who did the league and we did curbed together and we’ve done stuff and Alec did Barry and Silicon Valley. So we worked together and apart, they were working there first. And so I was kind of hanging out because I was staying at their house. And so you know, I I this is gonna sound silly, but Larry and Jerry but Jerry, especially as, you know, again, as the star, you know, was super welcoming and very friendly, which, you know, just makes things easier.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:09

    He’s not a scary guy. But the honest answer is is you just a comedy writer, you don’t think about that. You’re just thinking about, I think it’s funny, they’ll like it. And, you know, this you get that first yes and you’re you’re good. Was there
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:23

    a magic moment in the Seinfeld writer’s room when you started doing it? We were like, oh man, this shit is good. This is not my other stuff.
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:29

    I mean, I definitely think I certainly learned so much. I mean, I always say that, like, you know, Larry and Jerry and especially Larry taught me how to write sitcoms. I mean, just in terms of, like, how I think about a show, but also how I outline it on the board and what I’m looking for in scenes. And the big thing about that to get writer y for a second is every scene is moving story forward, that if you’re not moving stories forward. And obviously, on Seinfeld, you’re often moving multiple stories forward, but that even when you’re not doing Seinfeld, you’re working on a movie, whatever it is, the number of times looking at something I’ve written and realizing This is a very funny scene, but, you know, we’re stopping for comedy, and it’s fine, but we’re gonna pay a price because we’re not moving story forward.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:12

    And so then becomes How do I either put important story into that scene so I can have both? Or then I’ve gotta lose the scene even if it’s something funny. And these are lessons that are very hard to learn, not everybody learns them, but like so to this day, I am the writer I am because of those guys. I’ve been very lucky in that sort of
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:32

    Is there one of those shows you remember that you’re like, this is what I showed to young writers and I’m like, this is how you move comedy forward.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:37

    Please say the betrayal. Because the betrayal is the most perfect twenty two minutes ever written of a sitcom.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:43

    The betrayal is hard because of the the backward of it makes it
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:47

    So that is Seinfeld Momentum.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:49

    It’s the backwards That’s the
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:50

    backwards episode with
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:51

    the win
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:51

    the wedding in India. As you say, David, this is a perfect example of Everything every single scene in that has to move the story forward because the next scene is something you don’t know before because we’re moving backwards.
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:02

    Right. Exactly. And we basically with that one, I mean, which sounds insane. It was almost like we outlined it forward, then flipped it Bulwark, then had to think about it’s not just a flip. There because there needs to be information so that when you see the scene it’s almost like a reverse throw, which was very confusing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:22

    Call forward.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:23

    Not a callback. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:24

    Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Call forward. That was a tough one.
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:26

    And I’m not sure I pull that one out teach with, so to speak, because it’s so complicated. But And I’ll tell you something else, oh, God, this is such a weird thing to talk about. I love the episode. I I absolutely love it. I wrote it with Peter Melman and I love it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:43:39

    And the India stuff in it, I absolutely love there was a Kramer story that fell out that to this day I wish we had done and I will say, I won’t name names But a couple of writers at the show at the time didn’t like the story and kind of ganged up on it, and kinda knocked it out, and I think and to this day, I think they were wrong. The original idea, it was connected to what was there, It was Kramer’s buddy, FDR makes a birthday wish that he wishes he was dead. And I know this is gonna sound big, but the idea was is that Kramer’s going to have to more or less fake his own death to convince FDR that he actually is dead. So the idea was that the opening shot would be Cramer’s gravestone, which I always thought was a really cool thing to sort of start a backwards episode with Cramer’s gravestone and whatever. And so I always have regretted that that came out.
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:34

    You know, I go to Bizarro Jerry for me just in terms of a forward episode. Is the one sort of I pull out in terms of just sort of showing that just in any given scene, you know, it’s sort of like Can you pick me up tomorrow? Sure, I will. And that of course then leads to him not picking her up. But then also, hey, do you wanna go on a date?
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:55

    Let me show you this purse and here’s the picture, you know, and you sort of meet her, but obviously you’re not seeing the hands. You don’t see the man hands. So again, these multiple things kinda getting set up, And again, if you watch that episode, especially in those early scenes, there’s three or four pieces of story in every one of those first scenes that’s getting set up And by the way, this is true of every curb your enthusiasm. Look at those first four or five scenes where when Larry goes into Jeff and Susie’s house, and she mentions the party that night, and are you going and the excuse he’s making, so he doesn’t have to go and he’s having dinner with so and so. Can you guys call there?
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:31

    And all of those things that you’re sort of racing to set up at the top, of course, just are the Dominoes through the episode. So, you know, that that’s that’s how I think about sitcoms because of Larry.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:43

    I I only get to Rapid Fire next. My final one for you is, so you were not there at the end of Seinfeld. Right? You are there at the end of Veep. No.
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:49

    I was. I was there for both. Yeah. I was there for both. But I was just I was gonna tell you.
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:52

    Larry, came back
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:54

  • Speaker 3
    0:45:54

    Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:55

  • Speaker 3
    0:45:55

    and he and Jerry wrote the final episode. So I’m not trying to sound like an asshole. We were there, but we were not really there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:02

    You’re like, that was not me. Alright? That was Larry’s David’s fault, the last episode, which I don’t like.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:08

    It was what, Larry, David, wanted.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:11

    Is there a way to finish a comedy show? I guess this is where I’m asking. Like, do you feel like you’ve nailed it or anybody’s nailed it? I mean Veep, and I like the end of Veep, but it’s hard to think of an end to a comedy run. That’s like really great.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:23

    And so I’m just wondering how you thought about that for Veep.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:25

    I mean comedy is tough because ultimately I feel like you end up swerving a little into drama just in general to try and make an ending be an ending. It sort of forces you into drama. Like, you don’t just do an episode that ends with well, that was a bad date. You can you can do an end episode where it just seems like yet another episode, but usually you end up with more Look, I’m not gonna argue for any particular point of the Veep finale, but the final like I’ll put the final three minutes of Veep where basically you sort of she throws Gary to the side and becomes president and kind of regrets it but doesn’t regret it. And then the the payoff of the Tom Hanks joke, which is a, you know, seven season callback.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:10

    I was a big fan. I don’t know. A seven season callback is maybe a big ass. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:14

    They make a joke in the first episode about what if Tom Hank’s dies to distract the news from whatever she was screwed up in the first episode. And when she dies in the final episode at the very very end, spoilers for everybody, whatever. But as her story is being told on the evening news about the death the president, Selena Meyer, they get a special update that Tom Hanks has died. And, of course, it knocks her. You know, it’s it’s that sort of like, you’re if you’re the person that dies the day Michael Jackson dies and you’d kinda knocks you from the headlines.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:45

    I did not remember that it was a seven season callback. I do remember a good end.
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:48

    Well, seven season callback. So I I want some points from the judge on that. So yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:52

    I’ll give you a bonus fight. Okay. Rapid fire. One everybody gets at the start. Something you’ve changed your mind on as a grown Thai food.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:00

    What kind of food are those? What against? You’re against Ty now?
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:04

    No. For it. When I was kid, I got like chicken pox that my parents discovered in a Chinese restaurant when I was in third grade, and I avoided a lot of just in a very sort of unfortunately just like bad asshole way, I avoided a lot of Asian cuisine because of my association with the chicken pox which, of course, makes no sense, whatever.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:25

    We’re gonna clip this portion right now and you’re gonna have a bad day on Twitter. JBL, do you have a food that you liked as an adult that you’ve just grown into? As an adult?
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:33

    No. I eat the same, like, five things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:35

    Okay. You’re
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:36

    I’m I’m very utilitarian. I eat to live.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:38

    That’s not surprising.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:39

    Wait. Can I give you my other backup answer? Please. Godfather two over Godfather one.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:43

    That’s not surprising to me. I think it’s a totally defensible position.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:46

    Yeah. As a child, Godfather one, they’re a happy family. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:49

    That makes sense. I want your favorite Veep curse.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:52

    I had nothing to do with it, but there’s nothing beats jolly green jizz face. It just it’s my absolute joker.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:57

    Green jizz face. Yeah. I included Jolly Green GIF face in I forget if I was just in the promotional material for my book or might be in the foreword, like something where I was like, there know, because I was talking about how the it’s gonna get very heavy talking about all these people that betrayed me and went along with fascism. But, you know, I just want to encourage people they can read the book because there are plenty of jolly green jizz faces to kind of lighten the mood along the way. I I forget where that moving into.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:23

    Okay. It’s a good one. If you could get a character from real politics and just insert them straight into v. Who would you choose? A real life human and just insert them into the cast.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:34

    As themselves.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:35

    Well, this is I don’t know if this would have been hilarious, but I’m beyond fascinated by James Baker. We did sort of a baker s character, but we pushed it, like, we kinda we it was a very quick thing. I know. It just, like, I’m I don’t know. I’m obsessed with
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:49

    People think gonna go for, like, Sean Spice or Kwaitya Landowski or Scaramucci, but no. You need a James baker figure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:55

    The goofy guys that’s easy and it’s boring. You know what I mean? It’s like, I feel like we outdid Sean Spicer regularly. You know, it just was it’s nothing. I’m fascinated by the guys that, like, how did he survive as long as he did?
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:10

    How do you go from, like, counting votes for Ford? And then the connection to Bush, but then Reagan I mean, I don’t know. I’m I just like that to me, that operator and again, it’s almost the taking the drama and putting it into the comedy. So, yeah, I gotta go James Faith.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:26

    There’s also something dark, I would think, about the baker kind of a baker George Schultz combo and how, like, Baker gets conned by Jared Kushner and George Schultz gets conned by Elizabeth Holmes. Right? Yes. And it’s like these two gray beards that went across all these administrations and they get to old age, and they’re so desperate to hang on that they, like, let these, like, hacks totally totally snow them.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:50

    And I think it’s because they don’t fully understand like computers and data and so that these idiots kind of wow them with like Look, I’ve got these poles of I don’t I mean, I don’t even know what it was, but you’d think he would know better. But yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:03

    Jv, I’ll have one final one, but do you have any that you wanna get across? Any any hot ones?
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:08

    Yeah. Give me your favorite SNL sketch that you were not
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:11

    a part of. That I was not a part of. Oh, boy. Oh, boy. One of my all time favorites and again another sort of mentor for me, Jim Downey, who was a longtime head writer and producer there, the Change Bank.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:23

    That’s actually him on camera. The we make change. We can give you two dimes, three quarters and three nickels. That to this day just floors me, just floors me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:34

    That’s good. I don’t know that one. I like getting YouTube requests from the pros. So I’ll get on to YouTube rabbit hole in that. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:39

    The last one is so you’ve done White House plumbers which, you know, takes this kind of slice out of Watergate, is there another political history government little niche thing that you’d like to see. You can make your pitch to the studios right now, you know, on this on this one.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:56

    This is my chance for my great long awaited James Polk story. I you know, it’s funny. I didn’t even that out to make White House plumbers and it just sort of happens. So I don’t know if there’s anything sort of, you know, killing me. I’ll be the first to tell you that if anybody wants to try and do something with the power broker.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:16

    I’m game. I don’t know what to do with it, but I’m but I’m intrigued enough to sort of I’ll sign on. I’m I’m sort of game
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:25

    to try. A hundred fifty episode maxi series.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:28

    Just on the destruction of the Bronx, and then there’s seven hundred other episodes. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:34

    And we won’t need it later. She’ll just use straight care You know? Nothing. Is that what you can do at mid strike? Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:41

    Thank Dave Mandel. That was so good. The third episode of White House plumbers will air tomorrow. We will be back Wednesday for your standard JBL Sarah Longwell Tim next level, and we will be in New York City. Let’s do the math for me because we’re taping this ahead of time on Thursday.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:58

    So we’ll see you in New York City for a live show with Molly Jung, Get your tickets if you haven’t. Thank you again, Dave. Thank you. And catch you all next time. Peace.
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