The creator of ''Beavis and Butt-head,'' ''Office Space,'' and the new ''Extract'' wants to be a less ambitious Woody Allen

By Nicole Sperling
September 04, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

Sporting a green trucker hat, a mullet, and a mustache, Mike Judge is playing a very specific kind of dumb-ass. He’s shooting his deadpan workplace comedy Extract and has stepped in to play the facilities manager at a flavor-extract factory — because, frankly, no one has more of a bead on American dumb-assery than the man who created Beavis and Butt-Head and co-created King of the Hill. ”I set up a tripod and put myself on tape to make sure I was the right guy,” Judge says. ”I just barely got the part.”

After 16 years in TV and movies, Judge has learned that if you want something done right, sometimes you have to put on the trucker hat and do it yourself. His first film, 1999’s Office Space, flopped, though now it’s a cult fave. He wanted to follow it up with Extract, but as his producing partner John Altschuler explains, ”Everyone kept saying, ‘Mike, no one wants your silly little movies about ugly people.”’ Judge made 2006’s Idiocracy instead. The $25 million dystopian comedy was released by Fox — well, actually, it was dumped into seven cities with virtually no marketing. It grossed just $440,000 and renewed Judge’s commitment to Extract. ”I’ve had bad luck with a lot of my movies,” he says. ”With this one, I’m getting back to something like Office Space but learning from the mistakes.” Judge and his partners financed Extract independently: ”It’s a lot more satisfying to make movies without someone second-guessing you all the time.” Extract‘s star, Jason Bateman, thinks Judge should knock out films regularly. The director laughs at the thought: ”I don’t know if I could be like Woody Allen and make a movie every year. Maybe every two or three years. A slightly less ambitious Woody Allen. That would be nice.”

Mike Judge: Writer-director-producer

Crude gags in MTV’s grungy show irked critics and cracked up teenagers. A feature film in 1996 made $63 million.

Airing 13 seasons, the Emmy-winning comedy was the second-longest-running animated show in TV history.

A box office dud in 1999, the dark comedy became a cult hit on DVD.

Luke Wilson traveled 500 years into the future in Judge’s scathing 2006 satire.

Judge’s third live-action feature stars Jason Bateman and Mila Kunis as co-workers at a factory. Ben Affleck plays a scruffy barkeep.