Silicon ValleySilicon Valley

Thomas Middleditch On The Two Steves, Dungeons & Dragons and Farts

  • Why is tech stuff in your wheelhouse?

  • I’ve just always been into it. I’ve always been a gamer. I play a version of Dungeons & Dragons. Nerdiness is all part of it. I don’t know how to necessarily code as well as my character -- or in any respect like my character -- but I would call it in the same wheelhouse.

  • You sound like a longtime fan of Silicon Valley creator Mike Judge. Do you have a favorite project of his?

  • I remember trying to stay up late and catch as much Beavis and Butthead as I could, and then King of the Hill. Office Space really spoke to me, and Idiocracy -- I’ve always really loved his live-action stuff. I’ve sold an animated show with him and John and Dave, so animation is in there, too.

  • As for your character, what do you have in common with him?

  • I’m the pinnacle of manliness and confidence, so there is no crossover whatsoever. [Laughs.] Let it be put in print. Richard is a little socially awkward, and he’s very focused. He’s the type of guy where you’d look at him and see a hamster spinning in his wheel constantly, trying to crack codes, like Neo in The Matrix. Me, I’m just casual, you know, oh yeah.

  • I saw on a bio for you on the Upright Citizens Brigade website, you were listed as Thomas “Greasy Palms” Middleditch. What’s with “Greasy Palms”?

  • Oh, that’s me trying to come up with something fun to say in my bio. You have opportunities in all these bios to say weird stuff. I had this website that, at one point, I listed myself as “actor, writer, comedian, and fart enthusiast” just because I thought that would be a really clear joke. Then I got an email from some guy months later: “So it says on your website you’re a fart enthusiast. I just wanted to know if that was real or not? If it is, let’s meet up and do stuff.” I was like, “Oh sweetheart, no. No, no, no.” [Laughs.]

  • Do you have a favorite moment from the Silicon Valley pilot?

  • I really like that exchange I get with Erlich, played by T.J. Miller -- the line about Steve Jobs versus Steve Wozniack. When T.J. says: “You just disappeared up your own a**hole.” We had a lot of fun with that, and I think that line in particular is going to be something that will hopefully get a little bit of cred because most coders are underrepresented in that field.