In a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter, T.J. Miller was far more open about his reasons for leaving than he has been in recent interviews, and offered a few telling quotes about his fellow cast members and the producers in a bizarre rambling interview. It’s worth checking out in its entirety, but here’s a few of the best takeaways:
— The decision to leave the show came after the producers came to him and told him that they weren’t picking up his contract for next season; they only wanted him for 3 to five episodes, and Miller basically said, “That’s great! How about I don’t come back at all!”
“And then they suddenly said, “Wait, no, what? You can do whatever. What? What do you mean?” And that was so good of them. They said, “Look, we wanted to reduce … We just wanted you to have more time to do all of the things you’re doing.” And I said, “Well, the best way for me to be involved in the show is by no longer being on it.”
To be fair, they only wanted him for 3-5 episodes because it was impossible for them to fit their production schedule around all of Miller’s other projects.
— Miller doesn’t seem to be a fan of Alec Berg, a producer and the showrunner on the series for the first couple of seasons. Miller blames Berg — who came from Seinfeld — for the cyclical nature of the show. “It’s recycling, it’s network. This is HBO. And so I thought, what if suddenly the whole thing changed? Where’s the guy at the house? He’s gone.”
He added later that he didn’t talk to Berg about the decision to leave.
“I didn’t talk to Alec because I don’t like Alec, but I think Mike Judge and Clay Tarver are brilliant. Both of them were so accommodating, saying, “Well, what if you just do three episodes?” or, “What if you just did the season finale?” … But I just thought that what the show has suffered from, what’s bad about it, is that Richard is the CEO and then he isn’t but then he finds his way back to be CEO, and then once he finds his way back to being the CEO he says he doesn’t want to be the CEO, and it’s just the same thing over and over. … So I thought it would be really interesting [to leave].
— Miller seems to be having a weird time with his family, as he alluded to when he explained his reasons for leaving the show.
“It’s not about money, it’s not about any of that stuff. It’s certainly not about fame, which is destroying my relationships with my family.”
Later, he adds, “Instead of dying, like everybody in my family would love, I go and make The Emoji Movie. It’s worse for American culture.”
He seems to have a weird relationship with the Emoji Movie, too. “I guess some people are like, ‘Ah, I guess he’s got too much going on, he’s too big for the show,’ Miller says. “What are you talking about? It’s, like, the best show on television, in my opinion, and I’m going and doing The Emoji Movie — and you can publish that because Sony knows we down to get motherf—ing paid globally.”
Back to his family: His father seems like an asshole.
And even my father when I told him that I was leaving was like, ‘Yeah, we watched three or four episodes in a row and it’s kind of one-note. I think it’s a good idea.’ So I had the perfect father-son moment with him going, ‘Yeah, it’s starting to kind of suck. It’s a little stale. You’re becoming a bit hack.’ If I can trust anyone in terms of comedy, it’s my father. I thought this is definitely a good idea if he’s saying, ‘I’m getting sick of watching you. Why don’t you do something else?’”
— He is complimentary of his co-stars:
“Knowing that Kumail [Nanjiani] is brilliant, Zach Woods is the greatest improviser alive, Thomas Middleditch is one of the funniest people of all, Martin Starr is the deadpan comedian of our generation, what if I just stepped aside and let them continue the show and see what it becomes? “
But he also seems to have a love-hate relationship with Thomas Middleditch:
“But I’m not sitting here saying, ‘I need more lines. I’m not funny enough.’ I’m not Thomas Middleditch,” he says at one point. At another point he adds, “Thomas Middleditch has always wanted to be a star. He’s always wanted to be the star of the show. So I thought, really it’s an ensemble show and if I step aside, the ensemble will each have a little more room.”
And then he seemed to take another swipe at Middleditch and Alec Berg:
I think that HBO and Alec Berg, specifically, kind of thought — and I guess apparently Thomas Middleditch — I guess they thought, “Alright, maybe this is the end of the character. But like everything in the show, we’ll sort of solve this and then it’s back to normal.” And they just didn’t imagine that I would be in a position of being like, “I think that’s it.” … I don’t know how smart [Alec] is. He went to Harvard, and we all know those kids are fucking idiots. That Crimson trash. Those comedy writers in Hollywood are fucking Harvard graduates and that’s why they’re smug as a bug.
But then again, he also seems to love Middleditch:
I think in some ways Thomas Middleditch is … we have a contrarian relationship, like a big brother-little brother relationship. And this is also an opportunity for me to be like, “Let me just step off, dude. Like, just do your f—ing thing. You’re amazing.” I did a two-man improv show with him for a decade. He’s amazing.
— And no, Miller is not coming back.
I would love to work with [HBO] forever. It’s just that I will never be on Silicon Valley again. That character, as you have seen, disappeared into the ether.
— And then he ends the interview on a sad, sort of self-pitying note, but it’s T.J. Miller, who can be very self deprecating, so I have no idea how to take this:
And then the people that don’t are like stupid fucking websites like TV Over Mind or something, and they’re putting forth very reasonable, well-written logic for why this is so dumb and the only thing I’ll ever be good at was this part in Silicon Valley. Yet none of them have seen Yogi Bear 3D, so they’re all talking and chit-chattering and squawk, squawk, squawk — but none of them have seen Yogi Bear 3D. So they don’t know that I’ve already done the best thing that I’ll ever do. And because of that, there is no fear about any move in Hollywood for me. I’m just on the downslope. This is all a downward spiral, career-wise.
So, yeah: Really bizarre interview.