Earlier this summer, TJ Miller shocked the HBO-watching, comedy-loving world by announcing his departure from Silicon Valley, the show on which he made his name as tech-industry blowhard Erlich Bachman. And while many of the trickled-out bits of news since then would imply that ballooning egos were at play, he’s also said that the exit was “super friendly.” In the midst of all of this, he debuted an HBO comedy special in which he showed audiences the full range of his talents, coming across as a comedian at home with both traditional, storytelling stand-up and a much more unhinged, performance-art style.
Last week, after a meal at New York City’s Niu Noodle, he indulged yet another previously unknown skill set: writing batshit-insane, stream-of-consciousness Yelp reviews. In the five-star review, which somehow combines the tone of a Tom Wolfe-influenced fiction undergrad with that of an elderly person commenting underneath a favorite brand’s Facebook promotion, he writes:
The Hong Kong pork bun, and the fried pork buns are incredibly delicious and very soft... if they are warm when they come to the table push them against your eyes and your face... You’ll thank me later!, or it’ll feel weird and you won’t thank me when you see me later on.
There was some sort of truffle business going on with oyster sauce in some dumplings or another but by that time I was so dumpling’d out, I forgot which goddamn dumpling I was eating! All I know is there was some fried egg around it and I wasn’t callin’ the cops about it! Because it was delicious- no crime committed!
You get the picture. While he’s penned a handful of such posts over the last month, including many shirtless pictures of himself holding cats (in a five-star review for Doggy Style pet groomers), the reviews themselves stretch back to 2009, when a more straitlaced Miller dropped five stars on the Twelve Shiny Nickels Standup Comedy Show. Pretty much everything else is a five-star review that serves little impetus beyond a writing prompt for Miller, like the claim that a plumber named Ozzie “was Ozzome,” or this take on Perfait Nails Spa in Toronto:
This was exactly the Canadian nail experience that I was looking for. I woke up absolutely nerve-racked, devastatingly fearful that I may not be able to get a French manicure as fresh as the the very hands that would wear it. Thank the Canadian gods and furious politicians above that they have allowed this nail salon to stand as a monument to all Canadian hands across this great health care for free nation.
Perhaps most tellingly, he writes of the Cheetah Lounge strip club in Atlanta:
There is A “no pole” policy as well as a policy where the women are not allowed to let anything touch the stage except their shoes. No floor work. That’s why during the day the girls were especially enthusiastic about talking to a strange looking writer person who’s trying to be Charles Bukowsky scribbling furiously in a black moleskin notebook about the nicer yet seedier side of Atlanta.
Look, many writers have gone through a Bukowski phase at some point, they just generally don’t do it via Yelp reviews and after leaving a successful HBO comedy series. But hey, if his review scores are anything to go by, he is at least very, very happy.