‘Silicon Valley’ EP Alec Berg Tells How Twitter’s Ex-CEO Dick Costolo Made the Show Even Better

HBO hit’s executive producer also shares a key lesson that he learned from his “Seinfeld” days

“Silicon Valley” is not just one of the funniest shows on TV, it’s also one of the smartest. Given the subject matter, it kind of has to be.

Executive producers Mike Judge and Alec Berg are both bright guys, so that helps. (And Judge famously worked in the real Silicon Valley before his Hollywood days.) But like any show — especially a highly technological one — the guys employ actual experts.

“We have a lot of extremely qualified people helping us out,” Berg told TheWrap. “That’s one of the upsides of doing a show that for the most part has largely been embraced by the tech business — people are happy to help out.”

This year, one of those people was ex-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo — “a fan of the show,” Berg said — who actually sat in on the writer’s room one day a week. He kept the guys honest, which is usually good, though sometimes bad.

After all, they’re talked out of probably as many jokes as they’re guided along on. Fortunately, in the tech world — like many others — truth is stranger than fiction. And Berg told us that the “disconnect” from reality that he observes in the real Silicon Valley is hilarious.

Here’s one example: “You get real company websites, where it’s like, ‘Our Mission: To Help Humanity Thrive,'” he said. That, from a company manufacturing to-do lists.

This isn’t the first time Berg has noticed the real world trumping his exaggerated one — he learned the same lesson back when he was writing for “Seinfeld.”

“When we were writing the J. Peterman catalogue jokes, every time we would write the most absurdly florid, overwrought prose. … The new J. Peterman catalogue would come out and shame us,” he recalled.

We’ll share another great “Seinfeld” story from Berg tomorrow.

“Silicon Valley” returns for Season 3 on Sunday at 10/9c on HBO.

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