The actors and producers for HBO's new sitcom "Silicon Valley" visited the region they will be mocking on national television starting this week.
And in a place that only rarely gets treated to such premiere entertainment events, the cast wasn't afraid to admit that in most cases their tech knowledge was less than stellar. Though there were some exceptions, the cast mostly relied on the geek cred of creator Mike Judge, a former engineer, who led an extensive research effort to get the details of tech culture just right.
But mostly, the premiere on Wednesday was about having fun, laughing at Silicon Valley even as the cast laughed at themselves.
Josh Brener, who plays Big Head:
"I can understand nerd. But I just can’t speak it. You know, like kids who grow up in households where the parents speak Russian and the kids talk back to their parents in English but the parents still only speak Russian? That’s me."
On how he was paid for the show:
"I had most of my holdings in Mt. Gox. So, I’m actually not feeling great right now because that was how I was paid and it's all gone now."
Thomas Middleditch, who plays Richard:
On how he prepared to play a Silicon Valley geek:
"All I did was just suffer about 15 years of relentless bullying. Pretty standard."
Amanda Crew, who plays Monica:
Crew said she watched and read numerous interviews of leading Silicon Valley women such as Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. What she saw of Mayer particularly surprised her.
"How cool she is!" she said. "She's running this huge company and is this very intelligent woman who talks about how she loves football and is really down to earth, which I wasn’t expecting."
Zack Woods, who plays Jared:
"I would ask the guys on the set to explain this stuff to me," he said. "And I would nod knowingly while comprehending very little of it. I’m pretty illiterate when it comes to tech."
"I’m frightened and intimidated by basic technology," Woods said. "I don’t have social media. I used my dad’s email address through much of high school because the set-up process for an email account was just too overwhelming. I’m really uniquely inept when it comes to technology."
Kumail Nanjiani, who plays Dinesh:
In college, Nanjiani learned to code and even built websites, though he insisted on downplaying his chops.
Matt Ross, who plays Gavin:
Ross was not on the red carpet Wednesday. But in an interview before the premiere, he said his character, the billionaire CEO of a tech company who employs a spiritual adviser, becomes the bad guy.
"I’m used to poke fun at billionaires and to add a degree of antagonism. I think Mike [Judge] finds it particularly amusing that you have these guys who are extraordinarily wealthy but are continually talking about bettering the world. They see themselves as benevolent artists even while they are subjugating the people. The reality and their self-perception is very different. And that’s obviously a great source of comedy."
"I don’t think that Mike went in with the intention of doing a parody of Silicon Valley, or to take the piss out of Silicon Valley. He seems very concerned about authenticity. He wants to make it funny. But I don’t think that means this is a takedown. Mike comes from that world. So he’s concerned about how it looks. I think there is really a love and affection for the characters that humanize that world."
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