With a string of blockbusters to his credit,
New York native JUDD APATOW is
the funniest guy in Hollywood
A middle-aged innocent gets his chest waxed to
impress a girl and lets out a hair-curling string of
expletives every time the wax comes off. A pregnant
woman and her older sister get rejected from a nightclub then harass the bouncer into a tearful confession
about the stresses of rejecting people. A chubby high
school student discusses which porn sites give you
the most bang for the buck.
You may not recognize Judd Apatow’s face, but
unless you’ve spent the last few years in a plastic bubble, you definitely know his work. The writer-director
of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, Apatow is
also the producing powerhouse behind Superbad,
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Walk
Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, which he also co-wrote.
Apatow may sound like your garden-variety Hollywood hyphenate, but what he has accomplished
is much more significant. In a world of $100 million
movie star vehicles, Apatow has developed a hugely
successful comedic brand based on raunchy humor
with a heart, and a decided lack of star power.
“The idea that you need a big star, I think, is not
correct,” he says. “I think you need a good movie.
A star helps you when your movie’s bad because you
can trick people into going even though it’s bad.”
The box office doesn’t lie: Knocked Up and
Superbad grossed well over $100 million each,
and both were effectively marketed with the kind
of grassroots strategies—personal appearance tours,
preview screenings, strategic You Tube posts and out-front promotion by Apatow—that studios and their
accountants love. But Apatow’s success isn’t all about
good business. Inspired by comedy classics like Fast
Times at Ridgemont High, Apatow manages to combine