Playing the ex-husband of character Selina Meyer, the former US Vice President portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Pasquesi says that his character’s personality is a natural fit for his acting style.
“Andrew is not a nice person,” he explains. “Playing an asshole is kind of my bread and butter.”
Although the script makes it even easier to act the part — “I’m often really impressed at how horrible they write this guy,” Pasquesi notes — his character’s flaws are not unique when compared to the rest of the cast.
“All the characters are in some way reprehensible and often short-sighted about their own greed,” he explains.
But in reality, he says that the people and the mood on the set is nothing like the ones portrayed in the show.
“It’s a great atmosphere from the top down,” he adds. “If they’re shooting stuff that I’m not involved in, I’m always hanging around.” Additionally, he adds, the real-life Julia Louis-Dreyfus is “wonderful in every respect.”
Filmed in Los Angeles, the upcoming season of Veep promises to feature more of Andrew “falling in and out of favor with his ex wife,” as asshole ex-husbands are likely to do.
Pasquesi won the role after completing a series of meetings that started before the show’s 2012 premiere.
“I think I did five auditions for them,” he remembers. “One of them I did on Skype in my house because (show creator) Armando Ianuchi was in London.”
A veteran of Chicago’s improv scene, Pasquesi is comfortable in front of crowds. In the 80s, he studied at the Players Workshop of Second City under the guidance of Judy Morgan, who performed in a company with Brian Doyle Murray, Joe Flaherty, Harold Ramus and John Belushi.
After graduating, he developed a legacy of his own and completed four reviews (theatrical engagements that last “about nine months”) alongside the likes of Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Joel Murray and Bob Odenkirk.
Since then, his film credits have grown to include Angels & Demons, Groundhog Day, Father of the Bride, The Fugitive, Natural Born Killers and dozens more.
Lately, Pasquesi has also been delighting audiences with his portrayal of a high-rise doorman on the popular webseries, The Graveyard Show. His character’s casual conversations with a coworker custodian played by Chicago Fire actor Christian Stolte meander into fairly shocking and absurd hilarity with ease.
He also currently forms one half of the long-running improv show, TJ and Dave, which kicks off a week-long London stint next week. Performing with fellow improver TJ Jagodowski, the show has “no premise” but “has been around for about 15 years.”
“We just start each week and improvise,” Pasquesi says.
In 2015, the pair published Improvisation at the Speed of Life. The book emphasizes a style of improv that Pasquesi describes as, “what is this already, rather than, oh, what can I make this into.” But, he adds, it is also appropriate for anyone who wants to be comfortable in front of a group, mostly by understanding that mistakes are not the end of the world.
“This is all about failing,” he explains. “You fail and you fail and you get used to it and you’re fine.”
When asked about the last time he failed, Pasquesi responds in true improv form.
“Every time,” he says.