Day 6

Here are Veep actor Timothy Simons' favourite Jonah Ryan moments

The final season of HBO’s comedy series, Veep, premiered this week. To mark the occasion, actor Timothy Simons came to the Day 6 studio to talk about the stand-out moments playing the lanky and unlikable Jonah Ryan.

‘He is charmless and graceless, and has no ability to see social cues,’ says actor Timothy Simons

Timothy Simons plays the unlikeable Jonah Ryan in the HBO comedy Veep. The show's final season began Sunday. (Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
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There are hardly any good guys in HBO's Veep — a satirical take on Washington, D.C., politics — but the characters in the show have decided just one person deserves all their wrath: Jonah Ryan, the lanky former White House staffer-turned-congressman.

"He is charmless and graceless, and has no ability to see social cues," said Timothy Simons, the actor who plays Ryan in Veep.

In the show, Ryan has "somehow failed upward" and managed to get elected into office, Simons added.

"The only thing that Jonah really cares about is proximity to powerful people, and his proximity to power is the thing that sort of that drives him," says Simons.

The final season of the critically-acclaimed comedy series premiered Sunday and Day 6 asked Simons for some of his favourite Jonah Ryan moments from the series' run.

In no particular order, we present the top three:

Jonah gets fired

Early in season three, Jonah Ryan gets fired once he's discovered to be the person behind a gossip website.

"This is a huge moment for him for somebody who has only ever wanted to make their way up the ladder in the White House," Simons said.

"I wanted him to go through the seven stages of grief in that scene ... from disbelief to anger to bargaining and then ultimately to acceptance," Simons said. 

"I don't know if I got all seven; [I] feel like I got a solid two or three."

The 'Jonad' files

During his tenure as the White House's most-hated staffer, Ryan was often the butt of jokes and insults. So often, in fact, that there was a file of nicknames for the him shared among his coworkers. In season four, viewers are treated to its contents at a congressional hearing.

"They are just read very matter of factly to him," Simons recalled.

The list included "the pointless giant," "the 60-foot virgin" and "jimpanzee." 

"The [show] writers might have just had a solid 35 insults that they wanted to use, but hadn't found a place for," Simons said.

Jonah breaks down

After being diagnosed — and treated — for testicular cancer in season five, Ryan begins to enjoy the attention and sympathy he received as a patient.

So even while in remission, "he keeps shaving his head and his eyebrows to gain sympathy from people," Simons said.

The plan goes off without a hitch — until a morning show TV host, who used to be his coworker, catches him shaving his head in his dressing room ahead of an interview. 

"Then in the interview, [the host] brings up a lot of shaving references ... it leads to Jonah having a full meltdown on live television," Simons told Day 6.

Not a great look.


To hear more from Timothy Simons, download our podcast or click 'Listen' at the top of this page.

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