Mike Judge has spent three years satirizing the technology industry in his hit HBO show "Silicon Valley." For help with the upcoming fourth season, he turned to Snap's (NYSE: SNAP) Evan Spiegel and took trips to the campuses of Google, Facebook, GitHub and Dropbox.
"It's gotten easier to get in those doors since the show came out," Judge said in an interview with CNBC Tuesday night in San Francisco. "The first season we were sort of -- nobody knew what we were doing."
Venture capitalists and tech executives definitely know what he's up to now.
Silicon Valley won two Emmy Awards in 2015 and was nominated for 11 last year. In the process, the show has created a cult-like following in the region while simultaneously exposing the many absurdities of start-up culture.
Alec Berg, who produces the show alongside Judge, said one of the most candid responses he gets from fans is, "the show makes them nauseous -- they feel like it's so close to home that they're slightly sickened by it."
The new season, which debuts on April 23, forces the main character Richard Hendricks (played by Thomas Middleditch) to confront life after Pied Piper, the video compression start-up at the center of the first three seasons.
Judge said that he and his team visit Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) each year and have made multiple stops at Dropbox. Prior to creating season four, they also went to software start-up GitHub in San Francisco and met with Index Ventures, Judge said.
Index makes for a natural stop. Former Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) CEO Dick Costolo is a venture partner there. Costolo, who has a background in improv, started contributing to the show shortly after he left Twitter in 2015.
Snap co-founder and CEO Spiegel has also been involved with the show in the past, appearing in a cameo role in season two. For season four, Judge said Spiegel was helpful in developing the theme of a "new decentralized internet."
Spiegel runs one of the hottest internet brands on the planet and does so from Los Angeles, hundreds of miles from tech's center of gravity. Berg sees that as an advantage to the show.
"He has a perspective because he's slightly removed from it all and he can look at Silicon Valley from the outside," Berg said. "As comedians, what we're always trying to do is look at the way systems work from the outside and kind of take them apart."
Berg doesn't view all internet executives so favorably.
In the interview, Berg was asked if the show will delve into any of the real-life hot-button issues in the Bay Area, notably the mounting cultural and legal problems facing Uber and CEO Travis Kalanick .
He didn't say exactly what we should expect, but Berg did offer this:
"We have difficult CEOs and people who are bombastic and somewhat enamored with themselves. I'm not saying anyone whose name may or may not be Travis, I'm just saying that's what I've read."
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