She may be the No. 2 on Veep, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is TV's comedy commander-in-chief. As Selina Meyer the vainglorious, profanity-prone vice president with a gift for gaffe the 53-year-old actress has been scoring laughs with blunt-force punchlines, tossed-off bons mots, and a splash of slapshtick. She's won the hearts and minds of (TV Academy) voters, claiming two Emmys for the role that pair nicely with her other two from Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine. With Veep returning to HBO for a third season on April 6 and Selina ready to test the campaign trail as she plots a bid for the Oval Office we reached out to her colleagues to learn what it's like to work with JLD. These truths became self-evident: She has a Jedi-like understanding of the science of comedy. (''She's the greatest quarterback you could ever hope for because she knows every angle,'' says costar Reid Scott. ''She's like a Peyton Manning of television comedy. I don't think she'll choke in the Super Bowl as much, though.'') She's a natural-born leader. (''I think of her as the Knute Rockne of comedians because she's so inspiring,'' says Kevin Dunn. ''A Knutella Rockne.'') She's also a relentless competitor. (''She's always trying to find the better scene,'' says Sufe Bradshaw. ''Like, 'This is funny. But how could it be funnier?' '') Herewith, six anecdotes from her Veep mates with rebuttals from the top second banana herself.
Reid Scott, Deputy director of communications Dan Egan
''It was the day after we wrapped. And season 2 was grueling. We were just trying to get it right and show that season 1 was not just a fluke. We worked so hard and were so tired, and Julia and I ended up on the same flight on the way home. We were up in the very cushy first-class cabin, and she was sitting toward the front and I was in the back, so she came back and asked my neighbor very politely if he wouldn't mind switching.
This stuffy, needle-nosed D.C. archetype in a sweater-vest and everything glanced up from whatever crappy book he was reading and just looked at her, looked at me, looked at the seat, and said, 'That's a bulkhead. Sorry. No.' And goes right back to his book. She just stood over him and glanced at me, and then I saw her just turn on that JLD charm with that cherubic smile and those big brown eyes and say, 'Would you mind terribly...?' And I watched her sweet-talk this a..hole into doing exactly what he didn't want to do. Then she and I sat on the plane drinking white wine and bitching about season 2 all the way home. She can do it, man! She'll sweet-talk you into writing, like, six more articles about her.''