tv Studio 1.0 Bloomberg May 22, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT
♪ emily: it is a show about a bunch of geeks writing code. it is an hbo hit. "silicon valley" pokes fun at the idiosyncrasies. behind the show, people that brought us some of the greatest satire in entertainment history. mike judge and alec berc. joining me today, silicon valley creator mike judge an executive producer alec berg.
i am a big fan and i have seen every episode. you have written, produced, and directed several different episodes. what is different about season two. alec: the biggest thing we have had to deal with was the loss of christopher evan welch. that was a huge, huge hole to fill and a challenge to figure out what to do. emily: he was terrific and i understand he is being replaced by a woman. mike: not necessarily replaced. she becomes the lead partner, this character that was not in season one. it is not necessarily a 1-1, you cannot replace them with anybody.
we had to write around that. the second season is the story about what happens to a company. it is then going to the next level. emily: everybody wants to know, is there a good dick joke in this series? mike: there is at least one. emily: is it worthy of the one in season one? alec: we love all of our babies. [laughter] mike: it is hard to say which one is better. emily: that is one of the most talked about moments of season one. i feel like it is indicative of how you put the show together because it is technically correct. you did a lot of research on the technical part of things. tell me how that came to be.
alec: when mike and i talked about working on the show, what we said is that what we hate are technically incorrect jokes so we said that if we did them they would be correct. they may not be funny but they will be correct so far i think we have stayed with that. emily: mike, you are an engineer. he worked in silicon valley yourself. you know about the world. mike: i have fun on that one. we actually, believe it or not, this guy who has adhd after we finished season one was the compression consultant. we asked him for the joke. we have a lot of technical stuff about the various angles he went to town on this. it came out of one of the writers.
he was talking about discussion and what you can sit on the show. manipulating four men at the same time. alec said i think we have it. alec: that is my own personal "beautiful mind" moment. emily: i just got spit on. very meta. alec: they call it a classic for a reason. emily: you guys do a lot of research for the show. tell me a little bit about that. mike: our stories come from real stories appear. we both have a desire to dig in and find out more about the real world and what these people actually do. it kept occurring to us that we do not know what these people do.
i used to program a little bit but i was not building apps and platforms, i was in a test engineering thing. the more we dug in, the more we found. emily: tell me about your time in silicon valley. mike: i worked for a company making graphic interfaces for a few months. emily: why did you leave? mike: i did not enjoy it too much. the movie "office space" was more about why i would leave that job. i don't know, i just wanted to do something else. emily: hot shows used to be about doctors and lawyers. why write about geeks? mike: you do not think these guys are hot?
alec: we asked ourselves that on a daily basis. why did we decide to do a show about people who sit and type all day. and what they do is inherently unfilmable. it is a challenge. [laughter] emily: unsexy. unglamorous. unfunny. alec: it could not be more relevant. you look at the speed at which tech is moving and the role that it plays in our life. mike: hollywood is always very puzzled. when the internet exploded big of a movie called "the net," trying to make it sexy and intriguing. it was ridiculous. it is the challenge that can lead you to do more interesting stuff that has not been done in television. it seems like a good time to take a look at the people were getting rich off of it and building the things that we use everyday.
emily: when you ask doctors about grays anatomy, they say that it is nothing like that. what do you want engineers to say about "silicon valley?" mike: i like it when they say -- we have a lot of people saying that we have gotten it right for the most part. alec: we try to get the technical details right. we do a lot of research and have a lot of consultants that ask a lot of questions. it is mostly the personality types. mike was an engineer and my father was a biologist. i feel like i know those personalities so it is really about that attitude. mike: i also feel like it is good if we can make the people who work in this world actually laugh and enjoy it on that level. so far it seems like for the most part that has been the case.
there are a few haters out there. emily: i have to mention elon musk. alec: nice segue. emily: he said that none of those people are software engineers. software engineers are more thoughtful and special. i feel like mike judge has never been to burning man which is silicon valley. have you ever been two burning man, first of all? mike: i have not. he is right about that. alec: he did just last week light a man on fire. mike: one step at a time. emily: how do you respond to that? mike: elon musk is at the top of the game so he may see things differently. i am not going to ever say that elon musk, that i know silicon valley better than elon musk.
we are looking for a comedy, not to just glorify and put it up on a pedestal. emily: you might poke fun at venture capitalists in season one with a guy named peter gregory. i know that some of these people you talk to on a regular basis. who did you talk to make sure you were getting it right? that you had geek cred? mike: lots of people. before this went to series i did not have the resources so one of my best friends from high school is a top programmer at google. a lawyer who has a connection to startups. once we got going we went all over the place. google and facebook and yelp. emily: was mark zuckerberg happy to talk to you? mike: we have not met them yet.
emily: i wonder, is it strange critiquing silicon valley from hollywood? which is its own epicenter of anxiety and ego. alec: i think there are actually a huge number of similarities. we pitch pilots, entrepreneurs pitch startups to senior investors. we do season one and they do series a. it feels natural and there is no shortage of ego in either. emily: you often hear entrepreneurs say they are
trying to change the world. what do you think they are doing? mike: some of them are making the world a better place. not to say that hollywood is better. i am sure that the top successful people in hollywood. j.j. abrams and chuck lorre are not saying that their shows are making the world a better place. it is a different culture. they do not flash wealth in silicon valley the way they do in hollywood. alec: you cannot have a car because it is pompous but you can fly 50 friends to france and have a party. emily: your movie, "idiocracy," portrays a world in which people are getting stupider. we do not have to drive today
thanks to uber, we do not have to cook. groceries are delivered. are we on a path to a real-world idiocracy? mike: yes, probably so. [laughter] mike: i would not take that movie too seriously. that is just exaggerating things. maybe it is making the world a better place. i like uber. emily: who in tech is overdue for lampooning? mike: tom perkins. alec: there is so much lag time between when we write and when the show comes on, we write in june and it comes on in april. 10 months from when we write to when it hits air. so much of what happens that we want to go after happens after
we have written shows but before we air. emily: your writing history before it happens. mike: sometimes we have gotten lucky -- or unlucky, depending on how you look at it. we do something on the show and then it happens in the real world. emily: what would you like to happen in the real world silicon valley? alec: keep doing what you are doing. it seems like every time we try to make up what is the crazy next thing, the real crazy next thing happens and is even crazier. mike: we would take meetings and people would describe deals that have happened. 50 million users from this app are worth so much.
we found ourselves saying, is there a giant bubble that is about to burst. emily: is that happening? alec: what are the reasons that they could not get $10 million or $50 million in funding and they kept saying that there is no reason. if you had to make up a reason why, hypothetically, so the show was more interesting, what would that be? no reason. emily: the show has been criticized for the portrayal of women. your actress has said that we are not trying to change silicon valley. you agree? mike: yes. we are doing satire about it. i think if we came out with the show and every company was 50%
women, 50% men, we would be doing a disservice by not calling attention to the fact that it is 87% male. one of the guys that we talked to was a system architecture guy on facebook said, by the way, there are no women. it was like that when i was here. when you're doing satire, you are taking jabs at them for it. emily: have you been following the lawsuits? facebook and twitter. what is your take on the sexism issue in silicon valley?
mike: it is kind of surprising to me that it took this long for anything to happen. it has been male-dominated for -- i am old. i was in it in the 80's. engineers, i immediately brought his statement but i think a lot of male engineers have this thing about women that goes back to women treating them badly in high school. alec: anything that is right for satire, we have a duty to the show to go after. if we can figure out an inspired way to hit it, absolutely. emily: would you work for amazon or netflix? ♪
emily: i wonder, how does silicon valley compared to the other things that you have done? mike: "king of the hill," "beavis and butthead," there was no overall arc. i have never run live-action television. i've done movies. you have 40 crew people standing a high and you and i have this feeling of, oh my god, what if this sox? alec: season one, it is like if we screw it up nobody will notice. now that people are watching and we have a little buzz, we cannot fail quietly. emily: the entertainment landscape is so fragmented. different from "seinfeld" and must-see tv. it is different for viewers. how is it different for writers and creators? alec: it does not feel that different to me. you have to do something that is good and make it as funny as you can or listen to people who want to make it something it is not.
mike: one thing that is different is the nature of hbo with almost no interference from the network. with networks it is just all kinds of notes and things you cannot say. very weird standards. not that i am always trying to be foul mouthed and vulgar. alec: they do not have advertisers. they do not have to worry about offending anybody and we take money from that airline. emily: what does hbo care about? what did they say they want from you? mike: they wanted something that --originally, something that is uniquely yours. they really just want, it has been nothing but let's get you what you want. emily: would you work for amazon studios? would you work for netflix? mike: sure. not for the next year or two. i am under contract.
[laughter] emily: have you been impressed with what they are producing? alec: when you're not making that many shows, there is an emphasis on quality because you have to put something out that they are excited about and for us, that is great. sign me up. emily: should comcast be worried? mike: probably. i guess they should be worried. if they are not, they should be. emily: what is next for you guys? how long do you want to keep doing this show? alec: we write for four or five months and shoot for three months and edit for four or five months and then it is time to start writing again. when we wrapped the show, there is this thing going around the
crew about what is the next year and they always ask us this and the question is, what are you working on? i am working on this. [laughter] mike: i get two weeks off. alec: it is embarrassing but that is the reality. mike: this is one like doing three movies in a year. that is what it feels like. but it is 10 episodes. it seems like it should feel easier and easier but it is not. but i love doing it. emily: when do you start thinking about season three? mike: june. alec: we might be gathering material as we speak. season three, season of the spit take. emily: thank you so much for joining us. ♪ emily: is uber charting its
course to ipo? why they might be asking wall street for a $1 billion line of credit. i'm emily chang and this is "bloomberg west." coming up, a special report -- a sublet fight in san francisco's tech community. we talk to experts about what the trend means about a possible tech bubble. plus, down to the wire the , senate works into the weekend debate the controversial bill that would rein in the nsa's dragnet. we will look at the risk on both sides. and twitter cofounder ed