Last night’s Silicon Valley season finale gave us two of the season’s funniest bits, both courtesy of Thomas Middleditch’s Richard Hendricks. The first—Richard prancing around in a pied piper costume, flute and all—speaks for itself, while the other, which no doubt sent upstart t-shirt purveyors rushing to the printer, gave us a blessed new catchphrase in “kiss my piss.” Not only is it the kind of awkward, juvenile jab that only Richard would utter, but Middleditch’s relentless repetition of the phrase—each inflected just a little bit differently—and accompanying jig more or less burned it into our soft, hungry brains.
In its wrap-up interview with Alec Berg, the episode’s writer and director, Vulture kicked off their chat by asking about the phrase. And though it doesn’t have the epic origin story such an insult deserves, it does cause Berg to reflect on the infamous jerk-off equation of season one, as well as Middleditch’s dance, which rivals Elaine Benes’ little kicks in terms of pure cringeworthiness,
I have a very important question: Where the hell did “kiss my piss” come from?
It was just one of those things where we liked that Richard did what, for him, was a badass thing. I think it was one of those things where somebody just pitched it in the room and it’s like this is a lame thing he would say, and we all laughed and put it in.
So you were looking for a lame thing and that was sort of the winner?
Yeah. Sometimes you have got these placeholders, and in fact, in season one, the whole jerk-off equation was one of those same things. We knew we needed some silly thing that becomes the inspiration for this big rewrite of their platform. Then one of our writers was talking about how he and his roommate had an argument about who could jerk off the most guys at once. Then it was like, Oh my God that’s the thing that goes in there. Here, we just knew we needed to say something stupid, and then it would come back around at the end to be the thing he used on Gavin.
Did you write stage directions for the dance?
No, no, that was entirely Thomas. Thomas Middleditch, for all of his verbal dexterity, gets very little credit as a physical comic. He is an unbelievable physical comedian. Every once in a while he gets to do something. There was a scene a couple years ago where he kicked a hole in the door and his foot got stuck in the door. The face-plant he did on the desk in season three was one of my favorite moments.
So, that was one where you get to a point where you just know he’s going to come up with something. You throw it at him and he figures it out, so then he does a silly dance.
It’s nice to see that Richard’s still able to reconcile his inherent dweebiness with his slow evolution into cutthroat CEO. And, as for that dance, fingers crossed that the GIFs are coming.
Berg also co-wrote and directed last night’s incredible Barry finale, and, considering that show operates on a much, much darker plane than Silicon Valley, his thoughts on their differences are also fascinating.