John P. Johnson/HBO
"Silicon Valley" star T.J Miller can understand if people wonder if they're the inspiration for the show's coding genius Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) or even the ruthless tech mogul Gavin Belson (Matt Ross), but he finds it strange that people would claim to be the inspiration for his character, home-brewed incubator founder Erlich Bachman.
"It’s so funny for people to wonder if Erlich Bachman is based on them, because that’s clearly an insult," Miller recently told Business Insider. "He’s kind of the buffoon. He’s really the worst of all of them on the show."
It may be funny now to Miller, but it's true. Last year, the feuding co-founders of the online marketplace for concierge services, Way, Binu Girija and Pat Murray, both claimed that they were the inspiration for Bachman.
To be fair, they got the idea from Miller himself. According to TechCrunch, the actor said during a 2014 panel discussion that he at least partially based the character on the founder of Way. Miller said that the person harassed him to be a spokesperson for the site. But which founder was Miller talking about? We may never know.
Last year, HBO told Business Insider that "the Erlich Bachman character, played by T.J. Miller, was created by the writers of 'Silicon Valley.'"
And Miller, speaking generally, told us during this interview that Bachman and the other show's characters "are sort of melded archetypes that are so true to life that a lot of people wonder if it’s based on themselves."
The show, currently airing its fourth season on Sundays, has certainly earned the reputation for portraying the tech industry authentically, a source of pride for its producers. And Miller similarly finds people's claims to have inspired the show's characters as a compliment, as well.
"It means that the show is working," he told us. "It means that the satire is spot-on. It means that we’re doing our job, which is mining the most powerful pocket of America right now and to get them them to examine themselves and not take themselves so seriously."