The Origins of Beavis and Butthead w/Mike Judge


1 year ago



Mike Judge

2 appearances

Mike Judge is a filmmaker, animator, and actor. He's the creator of "Beavis and Butt-Head," "Silicon Valley," co-creator of "King of the Hill," and writer and director of "Office Space," "Idiocracy," and "Extract." His new film, "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe," will premiere on Paramount Plus on June 23, 2022.


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How did you guys wind up with Beavis and Butthead there? So I had, I was making these animated shorts in my house, and just mailing out VHS tapes of them, and there was a show called Liquid Television. Well, I'd gotten, I made three shorts before, Beavis and Butthead was the fourth one I'd made, and the first three had gotten, like the first one I made was on the show on Comedy, it was called The Comedy Channel. Night After Night with Alan Havy. Oh, I remember Alan Havy. Yeah, and so, and then I'd gotten in some animation festivals, and so people were starting, there was a show called Liquid Television on MTV, that was on Sunday nights, and they would license animated shorts. So I got like three or four of mine on there, it all happened very quickly, like I had, they were gonna, they asked me to send my first three, and I said I have a new one, and it was Beavis and Butthead, and then it, so it got on that show, and then there was a long, weird cryptic negotiation, where they said they want to buy it, and I said what for, and like, and then I negotiated, it was colossal pictures, did Liquid Television, and then finally they said it's over, oh it was a long, ugly thing, and then finally MTV came to me directly, I still didn't know what they were gonna do with it, I thought those little station IDs or something, and I was elated, I was like, this is amazing, I'm just making these things in my house outside of Dallas, and it's gonna be on MTV, that's amazing, and then I sold it, I sold the whole thing to them for something like $18,000. Really? The whole property, everything? Yeah, I mean I retained something that you'd never see any money from, but I was able to get it back later, years later, but... How'd you do that? Just because they needed me to do it, and I just, you know, but it was, yeah I sold it, but this was after months of negotiating, and I was like, well it takes me, I was animating everything by myself, it would take me like six to eight weeks to make two minutes, and after two beavis and butted shorts I was kind of out of ideas anyway, so I thought like, okay, this will be my admission fee to show business, I'll just sell this off just to meet people and have them know about me, and I went to different lawyers, and there was this mob lawyer in Dallas, and he was just like, don't sign it! And I said, well then I just don't do this? Like, I mean I don't regret it, because I think they were ready to walk away. It had been months, you know, like five or six months, which I guess in show business isn't that long of a negotiation all the time, but yeah, then they flew me up there, and then they started talking about we're going to do 65 episodes, and I was saying, okay, am I going to be involved? And they said, of course, it's your baby, but they didn't say any of that until they already owned it. They didn't want to, maybe it was part of the whole poly-shore of it all, and those people that had gotten out of there, but they did, their lawyer had all the bad intentions of a good lawyer, but she wasn't all that great, and didn't know animation, so there were some big holes in the contract that I was able to exploit later. Yeah, exploit later. Yeah, she thought that I was going to be doing the entire, all the animation myself, so there was like a per minute fee that was like three seasons in. I got, still my manager, Michael Rotenberg, who's also a lawyer, said, hey, this thing says they owe you a ton of money. So yeah, we had, we were able to, I was able to get it back, and now I own it like 50-50 with them, so. Oh, okay. That was after the movie, and they wanted a sequel and all that stuff. And so this movie that you got coming out, when did this start getting developed? Let's see, I had the idea for it a long time ago, it was really about three years ago, and then right before the lockdown, because it was Friday the 13th, March 2020, I had lunch with the Chris McCarthy and Cai's Hill, the Paramount Plus guys, and just sealed the deal right then, and then made the entire movie with everyone on Zoom and evercast. So when you pitch a movie, like a Beavis and Butthead movie, are you pitching, are you just saying, look, I want to do a Beavis and Butthead movie? Are you saying this is what happens with Beavis and Butthead? Like what's the process? Well, with this one, with the sequel, they've been wanting a sequel for years, and I've pitched different, usually... When did you make the first one? The first one came out in 1996. So it was like a couple years, was it like... So the short first aired in 1992, the series started in March of 1993, so the show had been on a while before the movie came out, like three years. They wanted it sooner. And when did you stop doing the television show? Fall of 1998. Oh, wow. So it was off for a while.