We chat with Mike Judge, creator of "Beavis and Butt-Head," "King of the Hill," "Office Space," "Idiocracy," and possibly our most poignant and funny critic of popular culture.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Mike Judge. By that I mean in a cab, on the way back from a fancy hotel in midtown Manhattan, where an hour ago I watched Mike and Terry Richardson hold cardboard Beavis and Butt-Head masks over their faces and chuckle like teenage idiots while everyone else in the room giggled their asses off.
But I also mean I wouldn’t be me, a highly cynical person who, at the end of the day, would rather ridicule the absurdity of this often-terrible world than cry about it or become a serial killer. You could say that Mike’s work—especially Beavis and Butt-Head and his feature films Office Space and Idiocracy—served as coping mechanisms of sorts, visual antidepressants that at various times in my life helped me say, “This guy’s making a good living by making fun of all this crap. Things can’t be that bad.” I think it’s safe to assume that most of the people whose company I enjoy feel the same way, whether or not they want to get that obnoxiously analytic about it.
When news came earlier this year that Beavis and Butt-Head would return to MTV, I was excited. Then I started to wonder whether today’s kids would get it—whether the combination of pop culture’s current state of awfulness and the fact that internet commenting has turned young people into defensive pussies who never have to deal with retribution for their half-formed opinions would mean they’d take one look at the show and say, “I like what they’re making fun of, and this makes me feel stupid, so fuck these guys.” Either way, I’m going to laugh really hard at all of it.
So I was ecstatic when Mike, who I’ve been chasing since last year’s Larfs Issue, agreed to an interview. When he said he’d illustrate this month’s cover I pooped my pants (just a little bit). And when I emailed Terry to see if he could drop whatever he was doing for a last-minute shoot with Mike, he replied minutes later: “Holy shit… me, Mike, and Beavis and Butt-Head together? Sounds awesome! What time do you have him?” Then I threw up all over my keyboard from overexcitement.
Thank God I was able to keep it together when it came time for the interview.