Scandal’s Jeff Perry on the Show’s ‘Rabid’ Twitter Audience

The chief of staff holds tweeting get-togethers for his castmates


Specs
Who Jeff Perry
Age 59
Claim to Fame Stars as White House chief of staff Cyrus Beene on ABC's Scandal (Thursdays at 9 p.m.); currently appearing in Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie with the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles
Base Los Angeles
Twitter @jscandalp

What's the first information you consume in the morning?
I'm a basketball freak, so I'll Google NBA stories. I love my Clippers, although I have affection for a big handful of teams. The way the San Antonio Spurs play—man, they just epitomize teamwork.

Do you still try to stay current on political news for your role on Scandal?
I was never a political junkie. I was remarkably—or unremarkably—ignorant. But like most acting jobs, it's been really fun to delve into it and find out how these people tick. I get the L.A. Times and The New York Times on the weekends, watch a little bit of television news, usually CNN, some news-meets-parody shows like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart.

The Scandal cast, yourself included, always live-tweets new episodes. Were you on social media before you joined the show?
No. I went from the rotary phone to Twitter, which was quite a learning curve [laughs]. But I kind of dig it. I grew up doing theater, and that direct response with the audience and getting to know them and talking to them after the show, it's kind of a fun corollary with the Twitter audience because they're so rabid and they're so interested. "Oh, I love Cyrus!" "Why won't Scott Foley talk to me?!" All that kind of stuff. You start to have an interesting relationship with the core audience.

Do you watch the show live when it airs?
As much as we can. We use my and Linda's house—I'm married to Linda Lowy, who is the casting director of Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder and Grey's Anatomy—as kind of a clubhouse. When we're a little bit ahead of the curb production-wise and we can get a DVD, [the cast] will gather at the house and just hang and giggle and watch the show and mentally or literally start drafting some tweets.

What other TV shows are you a fan of?
I love The Americans. I love watching my ex-wife Laurie Metcalf and the rest of the cast in HBO's Getting On. I'm a big fan of Girls. I like Downton Abbey. Between my wife and myself, we have about 30 shows—mostly hour-long dramas—on the DVR. There are many that I'm behind on.

What's your favorite app?
I don't know what my favorite app is! I just learned how to use Uber. I'm only five years behind the curve on that [laughs]. I've used it like three times this week. For music, I use Pandora Plus a lot.

What are you reading?
I'm reading the Arthur Schlesinger biography of Robert Kennedy, which is great. My daughter Zoe and I and some other buddies are doing a local theater production of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie in Los Angeles, and that's got me reading Eugene O'Neill: A Life in Four Acts by Robert Dowling.

How do you wind down at night?
Usually with a television date with my wife!