AUSTIN -- In the world of political satire, does art immitate life? Or the other way around?

The cast of Veep, the widely-popular HBO comedy that follows the hijinks of a female politician and her staff, offered a few insights Monday into the surreal poliitcal world they've created.

At a panel discussion of the main cast moderated by NBC broadcaster Chuck Todd, the show's actors and writers were asked if they draw on the myriad of controversies surrouding Washington these days.

Not really, said the show's star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

"The premise of this show is that we've set up this alternative political universe," she said. Thus, real-life celebrities, politicians or journalists never appear on the show, Louis-Dreyfus said. The only real politician ever mentioned on the show is Ronald Reagan, she said.

Also, much of the writing for Season 6, which premieres Apr. 16, was completed last June -- before the satire-rich battles between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump even got started, said David Mandel, the show's runner and executive producer. "We're not Saturday Night Live," he said. "If we try to poke fun at something that happened six months earlier, it would seem stale."

Any plot hints for Season 6? Expect themes like the debate over daylight savings time and privatization of prisons, as well as a book-deal fiasco for Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus's character), Mandel said. Also, more screen time between Selina and her assistant Gary Walsh (played by Tony Hale).

And political advisor Kent Davison (Gary Cole)? "Just gets odder and odder," Cole said. "He's in his own zip code."