Silicon Valley, one of the most-watched comedies on HBO, is currently gearing up for its fifth season — but a lot of drama has transpired since the show was last on air. T.J. Miller, whose performance as tech investor Erlich Bachman made him the breakout star of the show’s early seasons, departed after the conclusion of season 4. After the finale, Miller called Silicon Valley showrunner Alec Berg an idiot and downplayed the show. This week, THR caught up with Miller and the Silicon Valley creators to get further comments on the exit ahead of the premiere of the first Miller-less season.
“There are a lot of different ways you can find out somebody doesn’t want to do the show anymore,” creator Mike Judge told THR. “And it’s not fun to work with someone who doesn’t want to be there, [especially when] they’re one of the main people and you’ve got however many crew members and extras and people who are [not paid as well] and they’re all showing up before 7 a.m., and then are just like, ‘Oh, OK, we’re not shooting today.'”
In response, Miller told THR that his erratic set behavior was the result of a busy schedule rather than drugs: “In real life, I’m not always high like Erlich is. And this will blow your readers’ minds, but I’m not high when I work because it gets in the way of the comedy. I also am not a guy who’s blackout-drunk, bumping into things on set. … What was occurring was I was out doing stand-up all the time, even if it meant I only got three hours of sleep. So, the thing I have a problem with? It’s pushing myself to do too much.”
Berg also insisted that Miller’s departure would not make Silicon Valley less funny. He used a sports metaphor to note how teams can still win even after losing a star player.
“So, it’s like, yeah, we’ve lost Andre Iguodala but we still have Steph Curry and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and some other guy on the Warriors whose name I don’t know. But I don’t feel like we can’t win championships anymore because we’ve lost…” Berg said. “T.J. wasn’t LeBron.”
THR got Miller’s response to that comment as well. Miller, who has disparaged Berg specifically in past interviews, said: “Oh, that’s great. And it makes me like him more [because] he’s so good at being an asshole.”
In between Silicon Valley seasons, Miller was also accused of sexual assault by a former college classmate. Miller denied the allegation. THR’s story mentions them, but did not get further comment from Miller or the Silicon Valley creators.
Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter. Season 5 of Silicon Valley premieres on HBO March 25.