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Interview with Mike Judge


Judge is one of the leading chroniclers of American absurdity. In the 1990s, he created Beavis and Butt-Head, the MTV cartoon about two grunting, pyromaniac teens that was loved by a Generation X who basked in its reflected idiocy.

He went on to create King of the Hill, an animation centred on a beer-swigging, conservative Texan family man, which punctured the foibles of middle-class America. His first movie, Office Space (1999), targeted 1990s cubicle culture and workplace tedium.

'Silicon Valley'

Judge’s characters are vulgar and potty-mouthed. They are often ugly, inside and out. When I speak to him over the phone, he is polite and thoughtful, with a quiet southern drawl. He says that the success of Silicon Valley has been “really good for me — I haven’t had a hit in a while . . . my stuff gets underrated so much. I think at one point I was googling my name and Office Space and ‘underrated’ came up in the autocorrect.”

Judge was born in 1962 in Ecuador, where his father worked as an archaeologist. His family settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when he was seven. Judge says he felt like an “outsider”, which may have contributed to a life-long fascination with those stuck on society’s fringes. Silicon Valley engineers meet the criteria.

Stashed in: Awesome, tv, Beavis and Butthead, Office Space!, King of the Hill, @mikejudge, Telly: SV, Pied Piper, @amandaccrew

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There's a common thread among his characters besides the vulgarity. 

They're all very human.