‘Idiocracy’ Director Mike Judge: Fox Killed Our Anti-Trump Camacho Ads
The filmmaker behind the futuristic satire and creator of HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ dishes on why the election season ads he’s been cooking up are ‘not going to happen.’
Back in February, screenwriter Etan Cohen (not to be confused with Ethan Cohen), who’s written the celebrated comedy offerings King of the Hill, Idiocracy, and Tropic Thunder, fired off a tweet in reference to the political rise of former reality star Donald J. Trump:
It generated such a spirited response that Cohen reached out to longtime collaborator Mike Judge, the director of Idiocracy, and by June the word had spread that the two were cooking up a series of anti-Trump ads featuring the film’s President Camacho (full name: President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Drew Herbert Camacho), an ex-porn star and five-time wrestling champion played by the hilarious Terry Crews. They were simply waiting on 20th Century Fox, which owned the rights to the film, to sign off on the ads.
Well, according to Judge, it looks like Fox refused—and the ads are now dead.
“It kind of fell apart,” Judge tells The Daily Beast. “It was announced that they were anti-Trump, and I would’ve preferred to make them and then have the people decide. Terry Crews had wanted to just make some funny Camacho ads, and Etan [Cohen] and I had written a few that I thought were pretty funny, and it just fell apart. I wanted to put them out a little more quietly and let them go viral, rather than people announcing we’re making anti-Trump ads. Just let them be funny first. Doing something satirical like that is better if you just don’t say, ‘Here we come with the anti-Trump ads!’ Also, when Terry heard that announcement he wasn’t happy about it.
“I think also Fox… yeah, they… even though they’ve probably forgotten they still own it…” he continues, trailing off.
I don’t see Rupert Murdoch signing off on those, I tell him, since the Fox mogul is an avowed Trump supporter.
“Yeah. That’s the other thing. I think there was a roadblock there, too,” says Judge. “I just heard that they were put on the shelf, so it looks like they’re not going to happen.”
Judge, whose excellent HBO series Silicon Valley is up for six Emmy Awards—including Outstanding Comedy Series—is also amazed by how prescient 2006’s Idiocracy, about an “Average Joe” who finds himself transported 500 years in the future where everyone in America is a total fucking idiot, turned out to be.
“Three or four years ago, I started getting comments about it, people discovering it, and it just keeps building. Now every other Twitter comment I get is about Idiocracy, and how it’s a documentary now,” says Judge. “At first, I was just thinking, yeah, that’s nice to hear, but then very specific things, like Carl’s Jr. announcing that they were going to have a completely robotic, non-employee store—and it’s Carl’s Jr. in the movie. Then there’s this thing called the Fellatio Café in Switzerland where you get blowjobs with coffee, and we had the Starbucks thing in there. And then Donald Trump being in the WWF before, and talking about his penis size. It’s just one specific thing after another!”
“It’s surreal,” he adds, chuckling. “I didn’t want Idiocracy to get popular by the world getting stupider faster. I guess I was 450 years off! But yeah, it’s a tad bit scary!”
Stay tuned for The Daily Beast’s longer Emmys interview with Judge on Silicon Valley, Beavis and Butt-head, and more—out next week.