This past week we had the 8th Annual Crunchies awards at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Every year the good people of Silicon Valley go to the Crunchies and then get themselves all worked up about how to pan it. Some new people came along and decided to never come back. Here’s the thing. It’s an awards show! Who really takes this super seriously? It’s a dangerous game to both assume the worst while taking yourself too seriously…
The weekend before the Crunchies I saw the HBO’s Silicon Valley panel at SF Sketchfest. The actors explained a lot about how the show came about and it was hilarious! TJ Miller was fun, relaxed and seemed to have a deep respect for geeks. The Silicon Valley on HBO is a parody of what we’re doing here in the Bay Area and it was created out of love. Apparently, the rest of the world is fascinated by us and what we do.
I was taken aback by how many people didn’t get the joke behind TJ Miller’s genius. Specifically I’m referring to the many people who reacted badly to TJ Miller trying to provoke the Uber CEO’s girlfriend by calling her ‘the b word‘ for bringing a little dog into a symphony hall. First of all, isn’t that pretty tacky to bring a little dog to a symphony hall? What nobody considered was that TJ could have been referring to the dog as ‘bitch’ but many, many folks took it to heart.
The biggest mistake critics of the Crunchies made was in taking TJ Miller seriously. He’s a comedian! Yes it was TJ on stage, but he was very clearly playing his character Erlich Bachman on HBO’s Silicon Valley (season 2 premiers April 2015).
How do I know that he was playing Erlich? For one the dramatic change to his beard from the week before. Secondly, he said precisely the kind of wicked jerky things that his character would say! I compare Erlich’s provocation at the Crunchies to various geeks with the scene in the show where he gets attacked by a jealous husband on stage. Perhaps he was trying to parody his own parody? As smart as we are, people of Silicon Valley, we should be able to pick up on when we’re getting trolled!
If the Crunchies host TJ Miller struck a chord, it was because there was a kernel of truth somewhere in there… Creepy or not, Miller’s comedy is tribute to us in some weird way, channeling our collective angst. Yes, many of us here are caring and want to carry the troubles of society on our backs, but this was one night to enjoy the ride. Our sensitivity is a beautiful thing, but it’s a recipe for hurt…I for one really liked having a few good laughs, seeing my friends and getting all dressed up.