Tim Robbins Points to Paul Begala

Actor's HBO series is set in "Hollywood for ugly people."

Catching up recently to the June/July issue of Details, we found a pair of very enjoyable seasonal pop culture snacks: a Q&A with Tim Robbins and a more extensive profile of Haley Joel Osment. The first was conducted by David Hochman, the latter by Andrew Goldman.


At the beginning of the Q&A, Robbins talks about the seductive power vibe of Washington D.C., the setting of his HBO series The Brink. Ending with the observation: “Who was it again that said that ‘Washington is Hollywood for ugly people?'”

If you already know the answer, pat yourself on the back. We didn’t and in looking it up, found this genealogy in a 2014 Roger Simon Politico piece:

Washington is Hollywood for ugly people.

That line, or a variation thereof, was first used by Paul Begala in the 1980s. Begala says he might have heard it in a bar. Which is where most truths about Washington and Hollywood originate.

Ha ha. A saying on top of a saying. Nice. The Washington Post, a few years earlier, also confirmed that the popularization of the saying tracks back to Democratic strategist Begala.