A former engineer, Mike Judge achieved animation renown for his dead-on idiot savant satire of American suburban teen culture in the MTV phenomenon Beavis and Butthead.
Born in Ecuador and raised in Albuquerque, NM, Judge got a degree in physics at U.C. San Diego. Relocating to Texas, Judge worked as an engineer and also tried to forge a career as a musician, but found that animation was his preferred calling. After a Dallas animation festival, Judge's 1991 short Office Space was picked up by Comedy Central. His 1992 short Frog Baseball, featuring two sadistic teen cretins voiced by Judge, subsequently led to a 1993 MTV animated series revolving around the heavy metal-loving adolescents Beavis and Butthead.
Anchored by the pair's witty critiques of music videos ("this blows, huh-huh-huh"), Beavis and Butthead attracted devout fans with its astutely low-brow take on the teen boy culture of raging hormones, loud music, fast food, and pyromania. Despite fierce criticism of its overt idiocy and a 1993 scandal involving its influence on a fire-setting viewer, Beavis and Butthead ran for several years, spawning lucrative merchandising and Judge's first big-screen feature, Beavis and Butthead Do America (1996). Judge branched out into network TV in 1997 with Fox's popular, Emmy-nominated animated comedy series King of the Hill, featuring executive producer Judge as the voice of laconic Texas propane salesman and family man Hank Hill.
Bringing his sweetly jaundiced view of American suburbia to live-action film, Judge expanded his early short into the full-length feature Office Space (1999). Humorously chronicling the myriad forms of office cubicle and chain restaurant hell, with visually clever detours into the suburban white male affection for gangsta rap, Office Space wickedly celebrated one man's revolt against 1990s corporate culture and became a small hit.
Despite his initial success with live action, Judge became somewhat dormant as a writer-director of feature films in the years following Office Space's initial release. Over the seven-year period of 1999-2006, Judge) continued his work with small-screen animation via King of the Hill, and made vocal contributions to the outrageously tasteless yet intelligent blockbuster South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999). He nonetheless remained conspicuously absent from megaplexes for almost a decade, which made Office Space cultists increasingly impatient for a sophomore follow-up to that earlier hit. It will arrive in the form of 2006's Idiocracy - a sci-fi comedy, produced for Fox Searchlight. Scripted by Etan Cohen, an award-winning writer of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill, the film has the U.S. Military sending a dufus (The Royal Tenenbaums' Luke Wilson) 1,000 years into the future; when he arrives, he discovers that he is the most intelligent person on Earth. According to the trades, this feature - in production through the end of 2005 - will tentatively receive nationwide release in fall 2006.
Judge is married to Francesca Morocco and has two children.
~ Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide