Mike Judge: ‘Silicon Valley’ Actor’s Death Won’t Affect HBO Comedy’s 1st Season

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HBO’s “Silicon Valley” creator Mike Judge said that the passing of actor Christopher Evan Welch will not affect the story arc of his new comedy’s inaugural season.

The HBO series got the first five-and-a-half (out of eight) episodes shot before Welch’s Dec. 2 passing. There were scenes that he and exec producer Alec Berg had to rewrite, but not enough to change the story. Though Berg pointed out the obvious at HBO’s Thursday Television Critics Association panel, saying, “Should there be subsequent seasons … he’s a character that we don’t have in our arsenal anymore.”

Berg added, “[Welch] was incredible and we loved writing for him.” Judge remembered Welch as the talented guy that they all drove home impersonating after long days shooting. Welch, 48, had lung cancer.

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At the press event, Judge, who was actually a Silicon Valley engineer himself decades ago, also spoke about how his attempt to resurrect “Beavis & Butthead” on MTV fell through. “That got caught up in some kind of changeover in the top brass at MTV,” he said.

But it may not be the end of the sophomoric animated comedy, Judge cautioned: “You never know, that’s one of those things that could come back.” He added, “I still like it.”

For now, he and Berg are focusing on “Silicon Valley.” For the new workplace comedy, Judge drew on his real-life experience — dividing the “billionaire vibe” that he personally observed into two types: the “Aspergery type,” as Judge put it, and the more Type-A personality. Both exist in “Valley.”

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Even with his hands-on resume, Judge and co-executive producer Alec Berg also did plenty of homework they said — and both were pleased with what they found. As Berg put it, “It’s always a good thing on these things when you’re doing research and the craziest stuff that you can think of is not half as crazy as the real stuff you’re finding.”

Even if viewers are not into the tech side of the show, there is this promise for the Season 1 finale that viewers can rally behind: “We have what might be the most complicated dick joke ever told,” Judge told reporters. Berg was quick to add that the joke in question is also one of the most “sophisticated” of its kind as well.

“Silicon Valley” premieres this spring on HBO.