Now in its fifth season, HBO’s Silicon Valley remains buoyed by Zach Woods’ alternately buttoned-up and unhinged Jared Dunn, who, as we’ve previously pointed out, is just a few editing flourishes away from veering into the dark side. Woods told us that, hilariously, he improvised a great deal of his bizarro backstory; there’s one bit, however, that comes not from the imagination, but rather real life.

In an interview on Conan last night, Woods told the story of how Jared’s propensity for shrieking in German while sleeping came about. Clearly a touch embarrassed, Woods emphasizes his Jewish heritage before telling the story of four blunt words he uttered while dead asleep. His roommate told him the story the following morning, and while Woods can’t quite explain what prompted the terrifying declaration, he seems to accepted that he’s some kind of “nocturnal anti-semite.”

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It makes sense the situation would be co-opted for Jared, as the character is hilarious not because of his strange, subtle, occasional malevolence, but more because he almost doesn’t seem aware that the darkness in him is, well, dark at all.

Watch the full clip above, or the rest of his interview below.

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