HBO’s “Silicon Valley” | Talks at Google


]MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE] KUMAIL NANJIANI: You’d
think Google would have a better room than this. I thought there would be,
like, an awesome movie theater, and most people
are on the floor. Great. Google. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
That’s how we roll. That’s– you know, we gotta– KUMAIL NANJIANI: You
want to stay grounded. DANA HAN-KLEIN: We
need server space. KUMAIL NANJIANI: I get it. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Kumail just read– [INTERPOSING VOICES] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Kumail
just read “The Game,” and started off with,
like, a hard neg up top. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah, man. This is Google. You’ve gotta show
them who’s boss. I bing, so I don’t know what– [LAUGHTER] JK, nobody bings. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: I webcrawl. DANA HAN-KLEIN: This
would be the shortest talk in the history of–
you’re out of here, like, all right, gotta go. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. I went on Bing by mistake
once, and it said, you– just go to Google. [LAUGHTER] DANA HAN-KLEIN:
Did they give up? Was that just it? KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. My computer got on fire. [LAUGHTER] Yes? ZACH WOODS: Go ahead. KUMAIL NANJIANI: No, no, no. ZACH WOODS: Oh, no. This is– my question
cannot support this level of attention. I just was curious if you
used the phrase got on fire. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Yeah, he did. ZACH WOODS: That was it. Thank you. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Got on fire. DANA HAN-KLEIN: I mean, this
is going on the internet. It could be the next,
like, slang term. Everyone will be like
that’s got on fire. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Got on
fire, it’s gonna get on fire. DANA HAN-KLEIN: There we go. It’ll be like a
self-fulfilling prophecy? Is that what that becomes? ZACH WOODS: Yeah. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
I’d love to know, we just saw the first
episode of season four. What do you think the
biggest shift in reaction has been to the show? KUMAIL NANJIANI:
For season four? DANA HAN-KLEIN: Yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: We haven’t
heard any of the reaction yet, so we don’t know. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Oh. Well, let’s give them the
reaction for season four. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Yeah, how do you– AMANDA CREW: Reaction. [CHEERING] Whoa, big– ZACH WOODS: I would
say, just based on that, the reaction is much more
coerced this time around. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Oh,
yeah, they hated it. They hated it. They’re being paid to do that. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Can I say,
this is a very diverse crowd. It’s white people
and Asian people. [LAUGHTER] I see my people. This is great. Look. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Yes, it’s all the peeps. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Does this feel
threatening to you, white man? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yes. It’s not my America. [LAUGHTER] I want to see everybody’s
H-1’s right now. KUMAIL NANJIANI: I bet
there’s a few here. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: You bet
there’s a few H-1s in here? KUMAIL NANJIANI: Hey, man,
I was an H-1 until I found– tricked someone into
falling in love with me. AMANDA CREW: And then made
a movie about it too, right? KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. AMANDA CREW: Yeah. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
I was an O-1. It’s for artists of, um,
extraordinary ability. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah, it was
made for people like Einstein and then, you
know, these people. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Not L-1s. That was made for talentless
hacks like myself. Let’s get into a strong
visa debate right now. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Let’s. KUMAIL NANJIANI: I’ll go
anti, just to stir the pot. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: [LAUGHS] DANA HAN-KLEIN: This ends in
me being fired, I feel like. KUMAIL NANJIANI: You haven’t– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: All of us. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
–done anything wrong. We have. Sorry, Dana. DANA HAN-KLEIN: I
am out of questions. No, how much did you
know about the goings-on of Silicon Valley,
like this area, before you started the show? KUMAIL NANJIANI: I didn’t
know anything about it. I remember– I feel like the
world outside Silicon Valley has become much more aware
of the goings-on of Silicon Valley in the last four years. Not because of our show,
but I remember the show– when we did the pilot, I
would tell people I’m gonna do a pilot– a pilot is just,
it’s just the first episode– called “Silicon Valley.” And they were like, oh,
is it set in the ’90s? And I was like, no, there’s
crazy shit happening there right now. And people– it wasn’t as much
in the mainstream consciousness as it is right now. So I knew nothing
about it, really. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: I had
approached tech in general just as a consumer, as,
like, a primarily a gamer. So, like, however it
was going to improve my gaming experience, that’s
usually where I checked in. And I would say my horizons
have broadened a little bit. And it’s been interesting
to know, like– well, to find out just the
business elements of it all, just how much
money is flying around. It really does sort of feel
like this tech, nerdy Wild West. Everybody’s shooting each
other with infrared laser beams instead of pistols. ZACH WOODS: I hadn’t
even really engaged with tech as a consumer. Like, I was so frightened of
tech just in my daily life, I used my father’s email address
in high school, because– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Which was zachsdad. ZACH WOODS: Yeah, zachsdad. KUMAIL NANJIANI: At aol.gov. ZACH WOODS: We have ego boundary
issues between the two of us. But I was too– it felt
too daunting to set up a Gmail account, so that
was my relationship to tech. AMANDA CREW: I remember when I– MARTIN STARR: It
felt too daunting? ZACH WOODS: Daunting, yeah. I was intimidated by it. I, like, went to the login,
and it asked me my name, and I was like, fuck this. [LAUGHTER] AMANDA CREW: When I set
up my first email account, I didn’t understand what it was. So when I shared my email
address with my friend, I was like, yeah, it’s
[email protected] And– KUMAIL NANJIANI: Oh, I’m so
sorry, a couple questions. Cucumber cutie? ZACH WOODS: That feels both
suggestive and infantile at the same time. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah, it’s like
a child trying to be sexual. ZACH WOODS: Oh, no. AMANDA CREW: I’m– KUMAIL NANJIANI: Cucumber? AMANDA CREW:
[email protected] was my email address. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Why? AMANDA CREW: And it was because
I was in the ninth grade, and I was in the computer
class when I was making it, and there was a poster that
said, cool as a cucumber. And I was like, yeah,
cucumbers are cool. So that was– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
That is adorable. ZACH WOODS: Although
I shouldn’t give you– Kumail shouldn’t give you shit,
because his first email was dildoteddybear. KUMAIL NANJIANI: (LAUGHING)
I know you have questions. I will answer them. Dildo teddy bear. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Why teddy bear? Dildo I get. KUMAIL NANJIANI: It
was dildoteddybear– ZACH WOODS: This is
the most– like, it’s– KUMAIL NANJIANI: It
was dildoteddybear2– ZACH WOODS: Yes. KUMAIL NANJIANI: –because
someone got to the– ZACH WOODS: Because your
dad had dildoteddybear1. KUMAIL NANJIANI: My dad was
original dildoteddybear, and I was dildoteddybear
Jr. And that’s still how we call each other? Hi. Does that answer your question? ZACH WOODS: Does this
count as sexual harassment, since we don’t work here? DANA HAN-KLEIN: This
answers my question more than I ever wanted, I think. ZACH WOODS: Sorry. It’s gross. Sorry for saying that. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
It’s a safe space. We’re learning a lot about
each other, apparently. Has working on the show
made you, like, at all more inclined to
learn about this? Or are you just
like, eh, I’m good. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: No– ZACH WOODS: It’s
interesting, it’s not– I mean, we’re not–
at least for me, I’m not going on any, like,
giant research expeditions into– but like, if I’m
listening to the radio and a show about
tech comes on, I’m more likely to understand some
of the, like, basic vocabulary of it, or like
articles I’ll read that I wouldn’t otherwise read. But yeah, I feel like it’s
made me a little bit more familiar with tech. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: I’ve
definitely pursued it, just because the show’s gotten
some sort of direct lines not only to investors,
but developers, as well. And I always– like,
talking again about games, my favorite booth
at E3 is always like the new, like,
rendered grass that Nvidia has, as opposed to,
like, the latest modern warfare game. So like, I– I kind of like the
elements and the pieces of LEGO that go into building
the bigger picture. And just with the show
and kind of like– I mean, as crass
as this is, like, the little bit of extra
spending money that you get by being on TV, there’s just
some opportunities to kind of– to explore, just based on
if you have an interest in a certain thing– me, it’s games and
the environment– I think there’s opportunities
to explore here in the Valley. And it’s been interesting. ZACH WOODS: Tommy’s
been heavily investing in bringing back Tamagotchis. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah. Yeah, Tamagotchis. But I’m calling
them “Tommyguccis.” KUMAIL NANJIANI: And they’re,
like, little versions of you. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: And
you gotta feed ’em. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah,
you gotta feed these guys. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Gotta feed these guys. AMANDA CREW: And you’ve
got to play with them. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: You’ve
gotta feed these guys. KUMAIL NANJIANI: It’s
gotta be compliments. You feed it compliments. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Yeah, they always have just super low self-esteem,
and you have to pick them up. ZACH WOODS: But weirdly,
the more you praise them, the hungrier they get. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah. Yeah, it’s a real
sad relationship you have to develop
with these Tommyguccis. In Canada, gucci is– KUMAIL NANJIANI: What? Don’t say it. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Yeah, just wanna– DANA HAN-KLEIN: Um– [LAUGHTER] DANA HAN-KLEIN: This is,
like, the most R-rated thing we’ve had. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Good. We want to challenge you. KUMAIL NANJIANI: What
else have you had here? DANA HAN-KLEIN: I don’t
know, we’ve just– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
So when you were saying that you guys
get big movies here, this is where you
fucking show ’em? [LAUGHTER] This? [LAUGHTER] MARTIN STARR: On
two tiny screens? KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah, you
bring in a bunch of chairs from somewhere? ZACH WOODS: Why don’t
you just have one person hold their iPhone
while 300 people– KUMAIL NANJIANI: Oh, no,
hold their Google phone. ZACH WOODS: Sorry. Google phone. MARTIN STARR: Yeah, yeah. ZACH WOODS: Sorry. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
This is where you– MARTIN STARR: You could have
one big screen, at least, on this wall instead
of two tinier ones. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Well, where
would we put the logo– AMANDA CREW: Separated
by the logo, Google. KUMAIL NANJIANI: They don’t
watch the movie, or the show, they just look at
their own logo– [LAUGHTER] –and they just smile and
cry, and all the emotions. And at some point the credits
roll and we come in and– ZACH WOODS: It’s on both
screens simultaneously? MARTIN STARR: Is there usually
a partition down the middle and you watch two
different things? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
There’s a delay. The one screen is
30 seconds behind. It’s a nightmare to watch. DANA HAN-KLEIN: –3D
projecting in the world. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
(LAUGHING) Yeah. ZACH WOODS: It feels like
a passive-aggressive attack against epileptic employees
if it’s both simultaneously. Isn’t that triggering? KUMAIL NANJIANI: Do you
guys forget where you work? [LAUGHTER] Why do you have to
constantly be reminded? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: As
soon as they walk in, oh, I’m in the wrong place, damn it. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Oh my
god, it says AltaVista. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Shoot, not today. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Google. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Google. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. DANA HAN-KLEIN: That’s
one of the things your show gets so right. It’s just all the weird
quirks, obviously, somebody was paying
attention to it. Because all the Hooli
stuff, like the Pied Piper, “swag, schwag, schwag”
is such a thing. Like It’s just fascinating,
I think, for us to watch because it’s like
looking in a mirror, a very scary mirror sometimes, but it’s
definitely a fascinating thing. So it’s interesting to see
how you guys approach it because you’re not in
tech you’re actors– KUMAIL NANJIANI: We
would read the scripts and we would think that
this is so exaggerated, and then we come here and we’re
like, oh, we underplayed it. [LAUGHTER] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Why does
it say Google on the wall? You guys know where you
work, look at your badges. [LAUGHTER] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah– KUMAIL NANJIANI: It’s
funny because when we’re shooting our show it
does say, HBO really huge, and then we have
to CG it out later. CG is– I don’t know if you
guys know computers, but– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
I think that’s a testament to the writers,
Mike and Alec and the whole team there, they come
up here constantly and mine for stories. And whenever– Alec said
this– whenever they’re in a narrative corner, when
they’ve backed themselves into what happens
now, they usually call someone up and
say what would normally happen here and then get
their answer out of that. Their “solve” out of that. ZACH WOODS: It also seems
like people don’t mind– you’re really
pleased with “solve.” No, no, don’t– KUMAIL NANJIANI: Hey,
you’re really good. You’re really good on the show. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Pling! KUMAIL NANJIANI: There you go. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Pling! [LAUGHTER] Points, points. ZACH WOODS: It feels
like people don’t mind being made fun of as
long as they feel known, as long as you pay
attention, and then people will tolerate a high
degree of mockery, or even enjoy it,
because it feels like the compliment of careful
attention has been paid. And so it’s nice when
tech people don’t bristle even though it’s pretty I mean. It’s nice because
it feels like, well, then we must have
got some of it right. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Yeah, it can be mean, but it’s also from the
point of view of the inside. It’s not like– ZACH WOODS: Oh, yeah– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: –five
super aggressive alpha dudes came to Silicon
Valley and was like, look at all these dweebazoids! That’s not the show. It’s this. ZACH WOODS: That was the working
title for the first season, “Look At All These Dweebazoids.” [LAUGHTER] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: (LAUGHING) KUMAIL NANJIANI:
We’re dweebazoids too. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
Were they worried that “Look At All
These Dweebazoids” wouldn’t fit on a shirt? And they’re like, we’d have to– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: It does,
you just do a smaller font. [LAUGHTER] DANA HAN-KLEIN: Problem solving. I like it. But I find it so interesting
when you guys get grilled about tech questions,
and it’s like, that’s not your background. What’s your instinct
to do in those moments? KUMAIL NANJIANI: Literally
say, that’s not our background. [LAUGHTER] DANA HAN-KLEIN: Right. KUMAIL NANJIANI: We don’t know. We’re all just
consumers of technology. People are always like, so
what’s your billion dollar app idea? I wouldn’t tell
you if I had one, also I don’t have one
because I’m an actor. I’m pretending to
be what you are. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: It’s a
bit like inviting an actor who played a doctor on
a medical procedural to give a speech at a medical– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Or perform surgery. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Give me a 100 ccs of
gigabytes, is where we’re at. KUMAIL NANJIANI: We are. That’s the most technically– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: We have to
have an consultant on our show on-set at all times because
we’ll get these monologues of like, [INAUDIBLE]
and all this– I didn’t even say
it right then– and he has to come in and–
or it could be a she– he or she has to come in and– KUMAIL NANJIANI: He or
she, but it is a he. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Thank god. KUMAIL NANJIANI: On
our show it is a he. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Yeah, I mean– KUMAIL NANJIANI: But he or she. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: It
could be a he or she. KUMAIL NANJIANI: This is
a great mix, by the way. It really is. MARTIN STARR: It actually is. KUMAIL NANJIANI: It’s a good– MARTIN STARR: I thought you
guys were saying Hiroshi. [LAUGHTER] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Hiroshi does come in. There’s a big language barrier,
but Hiroshi does come in and tell us what’s going– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
He’s not a H-1B1. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
Direct him for us. KUMAIL NANJIANI: It’s OK. Look at me, I can’t be racist. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: It’s
impossible for you to be– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
It’s impossible. ZACH WOODS: But you’ll
put it to the test. KUMAIL NANJIANI: I have been. Here’s my observation
about Mongolian people. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
(LAUGHING) Mongolian people. ZACH WOODS: Wow. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Why? Why? ZACH WOODS: He goes hard
at the Mongolian people. He’s has a whole bit
about their barbecue. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
They love Popsicles. I make up stereotypes
and I double down. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Commit to it. That’s the true internet way. Yes, It’s true. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Oh my god. Mongolians and their Popsicles. ZACH WOODS: You could
be president one day. KUMAIL NANJIANI: No, I can’t. I wasn’t born here. Ugh. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Of Mongolia. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Of
Mongolia I could be, yes. They’re very relaxed rules. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah. Kumail Nanjiani starts
feud with Mongols. KUMAIL NANJIANI: (LAUGHING) THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: I don’t
think Mongols is a PC term. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
I don’t think so. KUMAIL NANJIANI: I
don’t think that’s good. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
We’ll check it later. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: It’s
just short for Mongolian. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
No, don’t do it. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
But it sounds weird– KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Me even saying Mongolian sounds like I’m
being mean, but I’m not. Mongolian. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
I’m Mongolian. KUMAIL NANJIANI: As long
as you’re not saying like– yeah– “whore” after it. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
In a history context. KUMAIL NANJIANI: In
a history context. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: If you’re
listening to Dan Carlin’s– KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yes. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: History– KUMAIL NANJIANI: “Hardcore–” THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
“Hardcore History,” you could talk about Jengis
Khan, as he says. What the fuck is
going on right now? KUMAIL NANJIANI: Hey. Wait. Yeah, I’m lost. Where are we? Oh, OK. DANA HAN-KLEIN: You’re– yeah. [LAUGHTER] This is why we have the signs. This season seems to be a
lot about status changes within the group, and you guys
are all in very different roles and having to deal with that. What was the most fun part
to explore about that? Because we’re seeing
these different sides of these characters. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Up until
this point, as the group, they’ve seen obstacles come
at them from the exterior, but I think after
the first episode you gather that the group
dynamic is being challenged. And as a result, I would
say over the season, there’s a little bit more
emotional anchor points to kind of latch
on to, not to say that the show’s going to
become like “Girls” or anything like that. It still is Mike Judge’s
sentimentality level which is small, he has a low
threshold for that stuff. But it’s been nice
to latch onto that and see this interplay
between the characters in terms of what this sort
of like dynamite stick being thrown into the group has been. ZACH WOODS: Yeah,
because once you’ve been doing a show for a while
the dynamics get locked in and it almost becomes
predictable where you’re like, oh, OK, Jared’s going to
be mothering to Richard, there’s going to be homoerotic
jousting between Gilfoyle and Dinesh– [LAUGHTER] –and you sort of know
what’s coming, and then– KUMAIL NANJIANI: [INAUDIBLE] ZACH WOODS: But
when you mix it up, when there’s internal
strife, or internal drama, it’s nice because it
gives you a chance to throw all those
dynamics up in the air and see where they land,
and I thought that was fun. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: No one
doesn’t play their character in that process, it’s
just like those characters get put in a slightly different
circumstance, which is nice. ZACH WOODS: Yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: And
this season there’s a bit more of a civil
war aspect to it where– MARTIN STARR: It’s actually
called “Silicon Valley– colon– Civil War.” KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah,
I’m Captain America. Why? You have a problem with that? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yes. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
What’s the problem? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Accent. Just the accent. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Man, this is
what America looks like now. Get used to it, Canadian. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, there is divisions
within the group, as Thomas was saying, and so the season– It’s fun to take sides
with different people than you’ve done
before and we’re put in very heightened
different situations. So it’s cool to see these
characters that we’ve been with for three years– a new side of them
because they’re in a completely different
situation than they’ve been in before. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
What do you admire most about the characters
that you’re portraying? KUMAIL NANJIANI: That’s
an interesting question. You’re doing a great job. These questions are great. Seriously. It’s true. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Thank you. AMANDA CREW: And she
can handle our jokes. Not everyone can. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Keep
coming after the logo though we’re going
to have a problem. [LAUGHTER] [INTERPOSING VOICES] KUMAIL NANJIANI: I admire
my character’s resolve. He gets defeated all the
time, but he’s always very optimistic. And he thinks like, you know
what, this next one’s gonna work, and he always
falls flat on his face, but he keeps going. He’s like Wile E.
Coyote kind of, and I think that’s a very
hopeful, optimistic way to be. ZACH WOODS: I think I
like Jared’s reckless love for Richard. I like the idea of completely
unself-protective adoration, maybe to a pathological
degree, but I think I wish I could
do that more readily. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
I like, I guess you could see it as a
negative trait about Richard– I like the negatives more than
the positives in a character, they’re funner to play. The tabs versus spaces thing
is the perfect encompassing of that where a casual
statement is made, and then Richard just is
like, tunnel vision, can’t not think about it, like, I’ll
hang onto that one later. And it just bubbles in him
and, obviously, spews out in all kinds of ways,
that sounded gross. KUMAIL NANJIANI: What do
you mean bubbles spew out in all kinds of ways is gross? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Who knows? But it’s just fun to play. It’s something, just
from a character point, and also comedically that
you can really latch onto. Yeah. MARTIN STARR: Amander? AMANDA CREW: She’s a
bad ass bitch, Monica. She smokes, so she’s cool. In a James Dean kind of way. But no, I really love her heart. Because in a world
where everyone’s just doing what’s best
for their company and making money and
moving their way up, she really believes
in Richard and what he’s doing and sometimes does
things that don’t benefit her, but she knows is going
to help out Richard. And I admire that. I admire that a lot. MARTIN STARR: I think. Gilfoyle doesn’t give a shit
what anybody else thinks about him or otherwise. That’s an admirable trait. [LAUGHTER] DANA HAN-KLEIN:
I would ask who’s most like their character, but
I think I just got my answer. [LAUGHTER] MARTIN STARR: I’m in character
year round from the moment we did– DANA HAN-KLEIN: Very
method, very method. You’re getting ready
for Season 5 hopefully. This is random, but who holds
the “always blue” record? Does anyone hold the
“always blue” record? MARTIN STARR: There’s a
rubber band in that thing. We tricked you all. KUMAIL NANJIANI: But
we did do it without– MARTIN STARR: We
did it originally– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Why that
came about is actually we were messing around in
between takes– this is the very first
episode we ever shot– messing around doing that game
and they put that into the– KUMAIL NANJIANI: Mike was
like, just do that on camera. And it became a recurring thing. It was literally us killing time
between takes goofing around. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah, that’s
happened a couple of times– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
And then, I read a thing that was this huge
thing on Reddit that was like, this is what the “always
blue” means, it’s a thing about how when
you’re making code it could be red or blue. And it’s this whole thing and
people are like, oh my god, that scene in the
show’s so genius. Meanwhile it’s totally random. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: It’s us
being full-blown timewasting jackasses. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Oh,
the jacket is a thing that they incorporated– MARTIN STARR: Yeah, that’s real. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: You get
downtime in between set ups and you have some time,
we all sit around and goof off and the idea– ZACH WOODS: We shoot the show
on a studio lot and Martin got us these scooters,
these electric scooters, and so we thought it would be– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: We called
ourselves “The Rude Boys” because– ZACH WOODS: “Rude
Boys On the Lot.” We got these stupid jackets that
said, “Rude Boys On the Lot.” MARTIN STARR: And we were
going to be a biker gang with these EcoReco electric– ZACH WOODS: Tiny
electric scooters and our purple jackets. DANA HAN-KLEIN: With
the dice on the back. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah,
they had dice on the back. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: And so
we were all wearing them to the set thinking,
this is cool, but we get this is silly also. And next thing you know,
two episodes later Jared walks in with that
Pied Piper jacket, and we’re like, oh,
touche, writers. You’ve called us and
raised us and we fold. KUMAIL NANJIANI: –a
lot stuff from our life that ends up on the show. The gold chain thing that I had? That was from my life. In high school I was like, I’m
going to wear a silver chain and I’ll be cool. And it’s that thing, as soon as
you get to school you’re like, oh no, this is horrible. ZACH WOODS: When Jared
speaks in German in his sleep that actually has
some basis in reality, but I never speak in
German in my sleep. I guess, this is a little bit of
a strange thing to talk about, but I’m Jewish, I’m
from a Jewish family, I have great respect
for my people. But my freshman year
at college I woke up one morning and my roommate was
like, hey, man, you all right? And I was like, yeah,
what are talking about? And he was like, I was up late
writing a paper last night and you fell asleep, and then
in the middle of the night you sat up and made eye
contact with me and went, I hate the Jews, and
then went back to sleep. We celebrated
Hanukkah every year, my sister’s studying
to be a rabbi. I’d just like to reiterate,
not reflective of my waking feelings about Judaism. But I told one of the
producers that, and then he started yelling in
German in his sleep. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Ha. DANA HAN-KLEIN:
That’s terrifying. ZACH WOODS: It’s scary. Sorry. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Well, don’t worry. I mean, even Hitler didn’t use
chemical weapons so you’re OK. [LAUGHTER] DANA HAN-KLEIN: We’ll take a few
audience questions in a second if anyone wants to line up. I’d like to know, what’s
the last game y’all played? KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Like a video game? DANA HAN-KLEIN: Yeah,
like a video game or not– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
I’ve played “Zelda.” DANA HAN-KLEIN: OK. KUMAIL NANJIANI: And I’m playing
a game called, “Horizon Zero Dawn” that I really love. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: I
found that as time goes on I’ve been less about playing as
many games as possible and more like, I got a couple of standbys
that if I have time I play. I play this very
intricate flight simulator called, “DCS”– “Digital Combat
Simulator”– where you don’t press a button
to start up a jet, you click all the
little buttons. And that’s so my dream,
is a steep learning curve where you have to study. And this game called,
“Legends of Grimrock 2,” which is pretty fun. I like those weird
obscure PC games. Amanda, what are you playing? AMANDA CREW: Oh,
so much solitaire. [LAUGHTER] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Anything
with 52 cards, I’m in. AMANDA CREW: I’m still
waiting for the cards to completely cover
the screen when I win and it always misses
the one corner. So I’m still playing. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
I’ve also found a pretty good pen-and-paper
group that I love playing. I like “D&D” and “GURPS”
and all that kind of stuff. AMANDA CREW: “Werewolf.” THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: “Werewolf.” I lead you guys in
a “Werewolf” game. So I think, yeah, those
kind of things are good too. AMANDA CREW: Zach,
what are you playing? ZACH WOODS: Doing a lot of
“Pride and Prejudice”-themed word searches. [LAUGHTER] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: When
we started filming actually and Kumail and I and Martin
were talking about video games and stuff, and we’re like, Zach,
did you ever play video games? He says, oh, well, I
remember one of the games that I played as a
child, it was on some CD and it was essentially
an interactive jazz game. ZACH WOODS: My first–
the only video game I had when I was a kid was a
jazz video game where you just wander through the
history of jazz. [LAUGHTER] And you can’t really
get points, you’re just a passive participant
as jazz happens. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: It was like
“Zork” meets a jazz museum. ZACH WOODS: Yeah. You just walk into like, and
now you’re in New Orleans, and now you’re in Chicago, and
oh, there’s Billie Holiday. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Click on
the picture to find out more. ZACH WOODS: Yeah. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: I
mean, what a dweebazoid. ZACH WOODS: What a dweebazoid. Look at all these dweebazoids. AMANDA CREW: Martin,
what are you playing? MARTIN STARR: I think the last
time I played video games was probably playing “NBA 2K”
whatever with y’all boys, and lady. You’ve never played. AMANDA CREW: I didn’t play. ZACH WOODS: Sometimes
they’ll play video games and I’ll just sleep. And then we’ll all go
to one trailer and– MARTIN STARR: He’ll be
at our feet laying– ZACH WOODS: Like a dog. [LAUGHS] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah. Yeah. I could talk about
games forever, but that’s totally boring. ZACH WOODS: Look at
all the questions. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Waiting. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Sir, go ahead. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Sir! KUMAIL NANJIANI: Sir,
what’s your name? AUDIENCE: Sergey. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Sergey,
nice to meet you. ZACH WOODS: –so
they got it right. Yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Sir
Sergey, nice to meet you. AUDIENCE: You’re welcome. Yeah. But I had a question,
what are your guys’ real-life inspirations
in Silicon Valley? What do you do actually
to get a real sense of– ZACH WOODS: That’s offensive. [LAUGHTER] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Sir! ZACH WOODS: That’s offensive. What’s our inspirations? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: You
know, I feel like a bad actor when I say I didn’t do
any character studies. Essentially it’s an
amalgamation of myself and all the kids I went to LAN
parties with as a teenager. I’ve picked up pieces here
and there throughout life. Although very recently, I met
[INAUDIBLE] Richard Hendricks who talked 4,000 miles a
second and got immediately into the weeds about
something that you’re like, I don’t understand you at all. But I said to the
guy who introduced me I was like, why didn’t
I meet him before? But, yeah, what about you guys? MARTIN STARR: For me
it was on the page. The character was
kind of a conversation that happened after the
pilot had been written. And I think an
evolution of the show came when they found
Kumail and myself, and these side characters. They hadn’t really fleshed out
the full group off the jump. That’s a basketball term
because you start the game with the throw the ball– the referee throws the ball up,
and then two guys jump for it. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Martin
Starr’s a big Clippers fan, so watch out. MARTIN STARR: You
guys, what do you– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
They’re Warrior fans. MARTIN STARR: –up here? KUMAIL NANJIANI: They’ve been
Warrior fans for two years. Their whole lives. They have loved the
Warriors as far back as they can remember, 2014. MARTIN STARR: You
guys started winning and now you’re all dicks. [LAUGHTER] Congrats. So I think they’ve figured
it out as they went along. But we were lucky to be a
part of the spawning of it. And inspired them and
they inspired, clearly, the characters because
they wrote them. But a lot of it was on the page. ZACH WOODS: I kinda think
of it archetypically almost. I watched some documentaries
and read some books about Silicon Valley,
but I think of it as a family where Erlich’s kind
of the belligerent dad, Jared’s kind of the passive mom,
Tommy’s like the favorite son. I feel like Dinesh is
the baby, Gilfoyle’s the cat who kind of like– Monica, I feel like is the
grown-up next door neighbor. I don’t know. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Or the fun aunt. ZACH WOODS: Yeah. Yeah. Like responsible. KUMAIL NANJIANI: But she smokes. ZACH WOODS: Yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah. AMANDA CREW: She’s
a bad influence. ZACH WOODS: See? I think of it more
like that, like how it fits into the family as
opposed to trying to draw from a specific tech person. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Amanda? AMANDA CREW: It’s
on the page, man. Mike and Alec, they
do the research, they do all the hard work,
heavy lifting, we’re puppets, we just read what’s on the page. ZACH WOODS: Right. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Thank you, Sergey. ZACH WOODS: Thank you. KUMAIL NANJIANI: What are
you working on, Sergey? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Do we have to sign– AUDIENCE: I work in Business
Operations Strategy team. KUMAIL NANJIANI: What is it? AUDIENCE: Business
operations strategy. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Cool. Good luck. [LAUGHTER] Hey, Sergey, fascinating. I don’t actually
know what that means. DANA HAN-KLEIN: I work here and
I don’t know what that means. I don’t know if that’s a
good thing or a bad thing. KUMAIL NANJIANI: He
doesn’t work here. Nobody knows that guy. MARTIN STARR: And he got back
in line to ask another question. [LAUGHTER] Hi. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Hi. AUDIENCE: Hey. Thanks for coming today. My question is, in your– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
What’s your name? AUDIENCE: My name is Connie. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Connie,
nice to meet you. AUDIENCE: When you
guys visit the area, have you guys encountered
any ridiculous real-life situations? MARTIN STARR: Yeah. [LAUGHTER] KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Sometimes you’ll– AUDIENCE: Like in the
context of Silicon Valley. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Sometimes
you’ll go to a screening and you’ll think it’s going
to be a great movie theater, but it turns out– ZACH WOODS: It just looks like
a Radio Shack that just closed. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah, it’s
like a closed Radio Shack and all of them staring
at the name of the company that they work for. ZACH WOODS: Once– well, this
isn’t an at Silicon Valley, but there’s a big Silicon
Valley contingent at South by Southwest, and that’s
where we premiered the show. And I was eating in the
lobby of the hotel right before a premiere and I heard
a guy, in earnestness say– he was pitching his app and
he said to the other guy, he was sitting across
from, he’s like, it is like the Mahatma
Gandhi of apps. [LAUGHTER] To be fair, it was an app that
overthrew British imperialism. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Something along those lines, when the first season– we went
up to TechCrunch in New York to help, I don’t know, either,
I think it was just to promote or something like, that, and a
guy comes up to me and T. J., who unbeknownst to
him, how would he know, we’re quite militantly atheist,
and he goes, OK, you’re from the show, OK, great. I’ve got this app that
like it prays for you. And we’re like, what? I guess you select your religion
and it prays on your behalf? KUMAIL NANJIANI:
That sounds great. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
And I just saw T. J., who barely
keeps it together 24/7, just like the fire like– and I was like, we gotta go! [LAUGHTER] You’re gonna
eviscerate that boy. ZACH WOODS: I hope
it’s like Tinder where they show you Jesus and you
have to go left or right. Obviously, no photo of Muhammad,
but whatever the next one is. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Right,
it’s just a bright circle. That app, don’t
choose your religion. You should choose all
the other religions, so you’re covering your bases. So you do– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Or just tick all. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Yeah,
just be like, whatever you got, some on that side. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
I mean, if that ever gave anyone peace of mind,
you’re doing it wrong, I think. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Thanks. We have time for
one last question. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Oh. KUMAIL NANJIANI: But what
about all these people? ZACH WOODS: We could
just speed round. KUMAIL NANJIANI: They can
all four ask a question, and then we’ll answer all of
them and it’ll be so great. So hi, just ask all your
questions really quickly. ZACH WOODS: Yeah, real quick. AUDIENCE: My name is Lisa. I’m a game designer. This is related to
a previous question. And I know a couple of you
guys have played “D&D.” I was wondering what kind of
tabletop games you’re into? KUMAIL NANJIANI: OK, and
then the next guy’s question. Lisa, what tabletop– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: –questions? KUMAIL NANJIANI: We’re
going to get the questions, then we’re gonna answer
all of them together. Go, dude. AUDIENCE: –just in line to
represent one of the people from your place, so– KUMAIL NANJIANI: Get out. AUDIENCE: I’m kidding. My question was– KUMAIL NANJIANI: What do
you mean from my place? [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: KGS, bro. KGS. KUMAIL NANJIANI: KGS! AUDIENCE: Whoo! KUMAIL NANJIANI: No. AUDIENCE: Bro, that’s
why green and white. KUMAIL NANJIANI: You really–
we went to the same high school, he says. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: In
Hachi Chachi Karachi? AUDIENCE: About 10
years later though. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Ten years? [LAUGHTER] MARTIN STARR: Wow. ZACH WOODS: Oh, shit! Oh! THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Damn, you old, son! You old! ZACH WOODS: Shots fired! MARTIN STARR: Sit down, grandpa. KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Ah, ah, my back. AUDIENCE: The question was,
an alternative search engine, that you mentioned, you
know, you started using it and it caught your
computer on fire. I used to work for
that before this and I just want to make sure
I didn’t write any bugs. Could you tell us
the repro steps? [LAUGHTER] KUMAIL NANJIANI: The what? DANA HAN-KLEIN: Go fight him. Just go fight him. ZACH WOODS: All right. OK. And last question. What is it? AUDIENCE: I don’t know
if I can follow that. KUMAIL NANJIANI: –there’s two– ZACH WOODS: You definitely
can. (LAUGHING) Yeah. AUDIENCE: Yeah, I
just wanted to know about any more moments
of improv or something that someone said on-set. Last moment scripting things
between just actors on the set and if they ended up in the
show and what those were. KUMAIL NANJIANI: OK. ZACH WOODS: All right. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Is
that all the questions? ZACH WOODS: “D&D” is first. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Wait, you have? AUDIENCE: Nope, I’m all good. KUMAIL NANJIANI: OK. All right. ZACH WOODS: We should also
get Sergey’s second question. [LAUGHTER] KUMAIL NANJIANI: Business
and strategy development. Look, he’s sitting there like
a king like, I nailed it. [LAUGHTER] What tabletop games do you like? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Oh, yeah, “D&D,” “GURPS,” “Call of Cthulhu.” I like some board games
like “Mansions of Madness” and that “Battle
for Westeros” game. But as long as there’s a
character sheet, some dice, and your imagination,
I’m into it, yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: The second
question was impenetrable. He made fun of me being old. [LAUGHTER] Third question? THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: (LAUGHING) MARTIN STARR: There
is improv, but I’d say 95% of what
you see on screen is either the exact words
as they were written or we’ve played with
them a little bit to make them feel our own, or
feel fresh, from take-to-take. There is a lot of
improvisation, but most of all it just keeps us happy. It keeps us fresh and enjoying
the experience because you do it so many times, and
the writing is so good, so you really want it to
feel fresh when you say it. And so we play around and
enjoy having fun and making each other laugh. KUMAIL NANJIANI: They’re
so good at writing for us that most of the stuff
that you guys might think is improvised is all written. They’re just great– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: The
improv approach to this show is less about recreating
the scene in “a better way,” it’s more so finding a
moment with the character. Or if we think a particular
joke on page is funny we usually maybe go
on a tangent to see if we can build on that
even if it just gets cut or they pick one thing from it. Yeah, it’s more a beat, an
extra joke here and there, but there’s very few instances
where they come with a scene and be like, hey guys, help us. MARTIN STARR: Although I will
say that a lot of the Zach moments from season
1 and 2, especially, guided the writers towards
this underlying sadness that has become Jared. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Jared’s
backstory of pure hell. MARTIN STARR: When I was–
like all of the orphan improvs in the first two
seasons were really– or like how gaunt and
shadow-like he is– THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
The wasting disease. MARTIN STARR: –like a ghost. Yeah. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
Just a really freak of– KUMAIL NANJIANI:
Multiple foster families. ZACH WOODS: Yeah. Well, one thing that’s nice is– Alec Berg and Mike Judge who
are the guys who run the show– Alec Berg wrote on Seinfeld–
ran Seinfeld for a while, Mike Judge, obviously,
has this crazy resume. And they could be real auteurs
and kind of dictatorial in the way that
they run the show, but they could not
be less egoless, they are so collaborative. And that’s really,
I think, unusual. You hear all these stories
where people are like, it has to be to the
syllable, and those guys it’s just best idea wins
and usually the best idea’s their idea. But you never feel like you’re
under foot or something. I think it’s good. MARTIN STARR: And I remember
when we were doing the pilot, I forget what the
exact line was, but I was saying
something a particular way and it wasn’t how it was
written and Mike came up to me and said, hey,
could you say this? And I said it in front
of him back to him and I was like, oh, yeah,
that’s way better than whatever the fuck I was doing
that was like fucking up what you had written perfectly. AMANDA CREW: And
then he beat you. MARTIN STARR: Then he
took his belt off and he– [LAUGHTER] ZACH WOODS: It’s a very
corporal punishment heavy set. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Yeah,
yeah, we run it like a ship. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Yeah. KUMAIL NANJIANI: I feel bad,
Mr. KGS, what’s your name? I didn’t ask your name. AUDIENCE: Usman. KUMAIL NANJIANI: Usman. Right. [LAUGHTER] DANA HAN-KLEIN: Look
him up in a yearbook. KUMAIL NANJIANI: I was
like, maybe he’s lying and I was like, nope,
that’s a pretty deep cut. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH:
(LAUGHING) Deep cut. DANA HAN-KLEIN: My very
last question for you is, pie-in-the-sky, unlimited
time, resources, whatever, what project or role would
you like to explore outside of the one you have
on “Silicon Valley”? KUMAIL NANJIANI: I want
to be Captain America. I truly think we’re ready. Put me in, it’s
not like President. I don’t gotta be born here
to be Captain America. This is what it’s like. Just like a tiny
Pakistani Captain America. [LAUGHTER] Thank you so much. ZACH WOODS: Weirdly, I
want to play Malala, so– just kidding. KUMAIL NANJIANI: An
actual tiny Pakistani. ZACH WOODS: An actual
hero. (LAUGHING) KUMAIL NANJIANI: I did
have this interaction yesterday with someone who
was like, you’re actually from Pakistan? I said, yes, and they were
like, do you know Malala? And I was like, yeah, we see
each other at the meetings. [LAUGHTER] THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: Over
at Pakistani headquarters. DANA HAN-KLEIN: Pick
up the Pakistani phone and just call her up. Cool. Well, thank you so much. Season 4 of “Silicon
Valley”‘s out. ZACH WOODS: Thanks, guys. THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH: April 23rd. April 23rd. [APPLAUSE]

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100 thoughts on “HBO’s “Silicon Valley” | Talks at Google

  1. The show isn't as good without tj. And I'm not even that bug of a fan of his. He just has great timing and he was the wize person everyone went to. That is gone now. It feels incomplete.

  2. Neat fact. In season 5, pied piper was modeled after The SAFENetwork and the CEO, CTO, and COO were technical advisors to the show.

  3. i feel all of them play their real life in Silicon Valley show, may be except Amanda. She seems to be funny here, but in show she is caring and warmth.
    Gilfoyle is Gilfoyle.

  4. "Setup a Gmail account…" LOL, Gmail didn't exist when I was in high school. I remember when Google was a cage at Exodus Lawson with a bunch of cabinets with fans zip-tied to the door, and an HP blade switch sitting on top.

  5. I discovered Jared in a French version. But hearing his real voice, I didn't expect that. They made him so girlish. I really love his real voice

  6. Silicon Valley is actually being filmed in LA 🙂 I had to learn that the hard way of marching to Silicon Valley/paloalto from London … and using the show as my Navigation around. This show really helps me as an cofounder of a Tech startup… it helps me unwind hehe

  7. I Love when Ed Chambers plays Jared. It’s just odd watching Ed Chambers being so candid in this interview

  8. the host seems like a bitch with a punky haircut.
    sorry i dont like her. to me, she looks like a bitch to work with.

  9. The crowd either doesn't have a mic to pick up their uproarious laughter or they're so dry cause the tech industry took their souls lol

  10. Without Erlich this is soooo cringeworthy it’s ridiculous…..everyone trying to be funny and its just not working.

  11. I think it would be funny af if jin-yang took his smoking habits to Vaping for the new season 😂 lot of comedy potential there.

  12. I feel something weird going on here between the only Indian up there lol and everyone else something behind the scenes

  13. I want to thank the camera men for not doing any close ups of the mohawk host.
    It was quite the challenge listen to her and see her in general – but the distance was really helpful.
    So: well done.

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