‘Veep’ Tried to Get David Letterman for Alternate Reality ‘Tonight Show’
We don’t often think of fictional Presidents in terms of alternate realities, even as they mix real-life political history with their own. Veep in particular has a somewhat hazy backdrop, though producers apparently tried to get David Letterman to cameo in an alternate-reality Tonight Show twist.
You’re warned of minor spoilers for this past Sunday’s penultimate Veep Season 6 outing, but “A Woman First” saw Selina Meyer dropping by this reality’s version of The Tonight Show, as hosted by none other than Parks and Recreation star Adam Scott (though the host deliberately wasn’t identified as such). Seeing as Veep only references Richard Nixon as the last President our realities have in common, showrunner David Mandel told The Hollywood Reporter they’d initially thought to have David Letterman as host of The Tonight Show, having taken over for Johnny Carson in this world:
Mandel says he and Julia Louis-Dreyfus then reached out to Letterman, a Veep fan, to see if he would want to play himself on the HBO comedy.
‘The idea being that in alternate Veep world, he became the host of the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson retired,’ Mandel explains of their pitch. ‘He was incredibly kind and gracious, but just as he put it to New York Magazine, he didn’t want to get behind the desk again in any way, shape or form.’
In our world, Jay Leno famously succeeded Carson as host of The Tonight Show; long-seen as a slight against Letterman. Obviously the late-night landscape has shifted quite a bit since then, but Mandel added that Scott’s character was meant to evoke Letterman regardless:
Watching Adam Scott, I can tell you he was clearly a huge Letterman fan and was channeling Letterman at his sort of prickly best. The tones, rhythms, off-handed comments, self-deprecation and almost self-loathing when he talks about what a terrible show he’s hosting.
Veep will air its sixth season finale next Sunday (and return for Season 7 in 2018), but what other odd details of the show’s reality might future episodes play with? Watch the trailer below.