The tech world, with its billionaire CEOs and socially awkward programmers, might not strike you as ripe ground for comedy, but the stars and writers of Silicon Valley have found LOLs in circuit boards. The show follows Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) and his company Pied Piper, as he clumsily attempts to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. NME spoke to Middleditch, plus creator Mike Judge and writer Alec Berg, ahead of the season three finale.
How do you make the world of CEOs and start-ups funny?
Mike: “There were lots of discussions about how do we make this funny, because most of what these people do is programming. What that gives us, though, is a less obvious comedy. It’s an odd world with lots of money at play. It’s the idea of the richest people in the world being introverted that’s interesting. Historically the people who would become the richest people were aggressive captains
of industry, and now you’ve got Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. It’s just funny.”
Thomas, what attracted you to playing a beta male who becomes rich and powerful?
Thomas: “The script was genuinely funny and I liked that it wasn’t reliant on network-style humour. I enjoy being on a show where you can spend five minutes of an episode talking about a d**k. I’m nerdy myself – I know about computers and Dungeons & Dragons. All that fun stuff.”
So what do the real-life Silicon Valley people make of the show?
Thomas: “The best compliment I get from fans is when they tell me they watch Silicon Valley to chill out after Game Of Thrones. Everybody dies on that show and we’re much more relaxed.”
CEOs from Snapchat and Dropbox have made cameos. Is every billionaire in Silicon Valley desperate to be on it?
Mike: “Lots of people have asked to be on the show, which is funny when they could just buy HBO and own the whole thing. We’ve had lots of cameos but people don’t tend to realise who they are.”
Alec: “A lot of the CEOs we meet aren’t very self-aware. They’ll say how funny the show is for poking fun of certain companies and then try to explain how they’re different. They’re all the same though.”
Have you all secretly got a billion-dollar business idea at the back of your mind?
Mike: “I think the answer to that is that if we did have an idea that good, we wouldn’t be here.”
Thomas: “It’s hard to imagine working harder at a start-up than we do on the show – so if we could do that and make hundreds of millions, we’d be interested.”
The finale of Silicon Valley season three airs Thursday July 14 at 10.10pm on Sky Atlantic, or catch up on demand.