Judd Apatow's Family Values
May 27, 2007 9:10 PM   Subscribe

Judd Apatow's Family Values A look inside the comedic mind that brought us "Freaks and Geeks", "Undeclared", and "The 40 Year Old Virgin". Apatow’s childhood hero was Steve Martin. On a summer trip to L.A., Apatow persuaded his grandparents to drive by Martin’s home until Apatow spied his hero in the driveway. Martin wouldn’t give him an autograph, so Apatow wrote him an angry letter saying it was his patronage of Martin’s projects that allowed him to live the high life. A few weeks later, Martin sent Apatow a copy of his book “Cruel Shoes” with an apology: “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was speaking to the Judd Apatow.” Also: Judd and Seth Rogen at play.
posted by ColdChef (33 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Little known fact: Seth Rogen was not the original choice for Apatow's new film "Knocked Up." See "Arrested Development's" Michael Cera in the take that got him fired from the film.
posted by ColdChef at 9:30 PM on May 27, 2007 [4 favorites]

Is that Cera video legit? It smells of viral marketing to me. Conflict gets attention these days and makes for a good (free) advertising.
posted by SirOmega at 9:36 PM on May 27, 2007

As an 11-year-old growing up on Long Island, Judd Apatow began each week by studying the newspaper's TV section and highlighting all talk-show guests of Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore and company. He spent afternoons holed up in his room watching TV, hanging out in his head with Charles Nelson Reilly.

"I couldn't have had more fun in the saddest, lonely way," Apatow said. "There was a period when I would get home at 3 and watch TV until 11, and I couldn't be happier."

Eventually his parents became concerned.

posted by ColdChef at 9:39 PM on May 27, 2007

The Cera video is obviously not legit, but very well done. Funny stuff.
posted by papakwanz at 9:40 PM on May 27, 2007

The Cera video is a parody of the Lily Tomlin/I Heart Huckabees meltdown.
posted by ColdChef at 9:41 PM on May 27, 2007

Of course that's a fake, and Cera is starring in one of Apatow's two (I hope) hilarious films this summer.

Check out this (very NSFW) trailer to Superbad.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:46 PM on May 27, 2007

And here's a NSFW trailer to Knocked Up.

I'm really glad these guys are going to rule comedy for a few years (until they get lazy and some other group of young turks knocks them off). They are badly needed right now.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:48 PM on May 27, 2007

It's more on the topic drift than the thread topic, but an interview with Michael Cera paints him as a pretty bright, funny kid. I'm just happy to see any of the Arrested Development people get work...
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:51 PM on May 27, 2007

The best (deleted) scene from The 40 Year Old Virgin.
posted by ColdChef at 9:54 PM on May 27, 2007

Michael Cera, previously on MetaFilter.
posted by ColdChef at 9:56 PM on May 27, 2007

I hope that Michael Cera thing is a parody. Otherwise, strangely, it seems like Katherine Heigl is apparently surrounded by actors who are constantly losing it. What's up with that?
posted by miss lynnster at 9:59 PM on May 27, 2007

The best (deleted) scene

The Apatow method of directing comedies, heavy on the improv, leads to sometimes dozens of alternate takes of jokes, making the movies great for DVDs. I watched the Virgin special features today; they're hilarious. You can see it in the Adam McKay comedies he produces as well. In fact, the Talledega Night outtakes are better than the movie.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:03 PM on May 27, 2007

This has to be the most amazing idea for a comedy I've seen in years: "the Sandler flick You Don't Mess With the Zohan, about a former Mossad agent who fakes his death to pursue his real love, hairdressing."
posted by Kattullus at 10:13 PM on May 27, 2007

He spent afternoons holed up in his room watching TV, hanging out in his head with Charles Nelson Reilly.

Paging Judd Apatow to the white courtesy phone.
posted by hal9k at 10:39 PM on May 27, 2007

You just have to love comedians. The best of them have Snark on Tap, aka, 'I don't know you, and yet you have embarrassed me. So have some of this...'

And I'm liking this trend towards directors who let their cast just fuck about. If you trust your principles, and believe that they have the part in their hearts, just let them do what they do.

And if it's a silly improve scene, so be it.
posted by quin at 10:42 PM on May 27, 2007

Incidentally, I saw Superbad at an advanced screening the other day. It's GLORIOUS.

Apatow and Rogen did a talkback afterwards. They're smart, funny guys, and the best thing to happen to Hollywood in a long time.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:13 PM on May 27, 2007

Superbad and Knocked Up are the only movies I want to see this summer.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:24 PM on May 27, 2007

I used to work with Apatow in the early 90s when he did stand-up and I managed clubs in SoCal. At stand-up, Judd was good but not great; I thought many of the guys in his comedy weight class were 10 times better. I thought Judd would level off, write for TV and that would be that.

Shows you what an awesome judge of potential I am.
posted by frogan at 11:45 PM on May 27, 2007

Man, that NSFW Superbad trailer is hysterical. I can't wait.
posted by jonson at 11:47 PM on May 27, 2007

*cancels career counseling appointment with frogan*
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:00 AM on May 28, 2007

Apatow's Myspace page features a few production diarys for "Knocked Up"
posted by Tenuki at 12:20 AM on May 28, 2007

This is probably a good place to talk about my deep seated love for Freaks and Geeks, which is so funny and so entertaining that I barely realized, watching it as a disillusioned high school student who had gone from a determined academic to the kind of guy who grudgingly puts in the bare amount of effort needed to succeed but still does very well, how utterly perfectly it captured the essence of high school for me.

I'm not sure what the exact difference between a clichee and an archetype is, but I like to think that maybe an archetype is a clichee that hits a little closer to its mark, and Freaks and Geeks completely nailed what it actually felt like to be in high school. Some of the characters may have been broad stereotypes, but they were at least stereotypes drawn from life and imbued with a life of their own. There are stoners and geeks and cheerleaders, and they all feel like people I have actually known.

What was so thrilling about the show, and what sets it apart from virtually every other high school drama, is that it was really the only one to understand that the true fundamental social division in high school isn't between, you know, all these tired punchlines, the jocks, the nerds, the popular kids. What it comes down to is the people who were in high school because they took it seriously and the people who were in high school because they had to be. As far as I can tell, most other social distinctions were at least slightly permeable, but this one...let's just say it carries on past high school and into life: the people for who see life as a duty, and the people who see it as a way of passing the time.

I cannot recommend this program enough. If you are reluctant to see it because, you know, who needs to watch another tired high school comedy because we all know how they go, this isn't that tired high school comedy.

I would also like to extend my deep, non-pederastic love to Michael Cera, who deserves to and almost certainly will go very far as an actor.
posted by Tiresias at 12:59 AM on May 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

Yes, Freaks and Geeks was incredible. One of the best television series I've ever seen. Smartly funny and very true to life. It's one of the very few television series I've bought on DVD.
posted by D.C. at 1:25 AM on May 28, 2007

I am a huge fan of Apatow and Rogen, comedy hopefully won't be the same while they're around.
posted by Derek at 1:30 AM on May 28, 2007

I'm surprised nobody's dredged this up: "Until then, die in a fiery accident and taste your own blood."
posted by micketymoc at 5:33 AM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think Freaks and Geeks got cancelled so they could have yet another night of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (the show where the prospective contestants have to meet a predetermined level of stupidity before they can be allowed on the show- how were they never tricked by a smart person?) and I'm sure Undeclared was replaced by something equally useless.

My boyfriend and I just started watching the DVDs of Undeclared and I think I'm developing a crush on Seth Rogen.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:24 AM on May 28, 2007

I'm not sure what the exact difference between a clichee and an archetype is, but I like to think that maybe an archetype is a clichee that hits a little closer to its mark

An archetype (in the sense of character) is a recognizable sort of person, boiled down to his essential qualities. If you claimed "The Joker is the archetypal bad guy," you're saying that, in essence, he's the mold that all other bad guys are printed from. If other bad guys are different from The Joker, they are variations of him. It's a similar idea to platonic forms.

A cliche is any bit of communication that you've heard so often that it's lost its ability to affect you sensually. For instance, the term "under the radar" once had a sharp meaning. It conjured up the image of a plane flying so low that it couldn't be detected. So it was a great metaphor for stealth. Then, people started saying it over and over on TV (I think the trend started on "Survivor" and quickly spread to other shows, like "American Idol." Now, when I hear it, I don't see a plane or a radar. I just have a vague sense of an understated person taking over a contest.

However, when people apply the term cliche to character, they generally mean a popular but false idea about someone. If I say, "all nerds secretly want to be popular," you might tell me that I'm spouting a cliche. I HATE that use of the word cliche. Oh well...

Incidentally, I love "Freaks and Geeks." The co-creator, Paul Feig has too great books that are simpatico with that series: "Kick Me" and "Superstud" (read them in that order).

Feig also directed a lovely film called "I Am David."
posted by grumblebee at 9:35 AM on May 28, 2007

I liked Paul Feig's books too.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:31 AM on May 28, 2007

I discovered Freaks and Geeks over Thanksgiving this year, when I watched the DVDs with the friend I was staying with at the time. I was shocked at how good it was and embarrassed that I passed over it when it was on TV (I just figured it was another formulaic high school sitcom). The essential quality of Freaks and Geeks seemed to be that its creators loved all the characters on the show. It was also really well cast.
posted by pombe at 9:42 PM on May 28, 2007

let's get some fuckin' FRENCH TOAST.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2007

Hey! I just noticed that this was my 100th front page post. Awesome!
posted by ColdChef at 9:27 AM on May 30, 2007

Deleted "Brokeback" scene from "Knocked Up." It's better than you'd think.
posted by ColdChef at 7:30 PM on May 30, 2007

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