Erlich Bachman, Silicon Valley’s equally self-involved and compassionate tech stoner, is a bold, obnoxious ideas man, always shooting for the big time with a generally minimalist effort, and he’s beautifully played by the already-crass T.J. Miller. The character is a natural draw for those in real-life Silicon Valley: Of the five main characters, he’s easily the most gargantuan personality with strange instances of real tech insider know-how. So to discover that Miller met tech superhero Elon Musk is intriguing. To learn it went poorly is even better.
At the show’s first public screening in 2014, with the tech crowd largely unsure what to make of a fictionalized tale of their bubble world, Musk openly didn’t much care for it. He told a Recode reporter, “Most startups are a soap opera, but not that kind of soap opera.”
Then, at the afterparty, Miller met Musk.
MILLER: “I think he was thrown by the fact that I wasn’t being sycophantic—which I couldn’t be, because I didn’t realize who he was at the time. He said, ‘I have some advice for your show,’ and I went, ‘No thanks, we don’t need any advice,’ which threw him even more. And then, while we’re talking, some woman comes up and says, ‘Can I have a picture?’ and he starts to pose—it was kinda sad, honestly—and instead she hands the camera to him and starts to pose with me. It was, like, ‘Sorry, dude, I know you’re a big deal’—and, in his case, he actually is a big deal—but I’m the guy from Yogi Bear 3-D, and apparently that’s who she wants a picture with.”
Honestly, I’d read a whole book of T.J. Miller’s tales of Elon Musk ego blows.