Sick In The Head: Conversations About Life And Comedy by Judd Apatow (4 out of 5)
I’m not a huge fan of Judd Apatow. Let’s get that out on the table right away. But I AM a fan of comedy and those who bring it to us in all ways, shapes, and formats. I have to say I laughed for about five minutes at the cover, before visualizing Apatow in flames. Apatow is obviously most well known for his directing a good number of Hollyweird comedy flicks, among them Anchorman, Anchorman 2, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, and Talladega Nights. Prior to that, Apatow did his rounds as a writer for the Larry Sanders Show, a writer and producer for The Ben Stiller Show, as well as writing several sitcoms that weren’t picked up. He’s done his time in the dungeon known as Hollyweird. His brand of comedy either works for me or doesn’t, so I was curious to see how he was as “interviewer”. To my surprise, pretty darn good. Not as good as Vince Vaughn interviewing members of the Chicago Blackhawks, but still, pretty effective.
There are a number of very interesting, incredibly blunt, and some very thought provoking, deep “conversastions” (I’m going to call them relaxed interviews, because that’s how the typeface is set in the book, as well as the formatting of the conversations themselves). I think they put the word “Conversations” in the subtitle so he would appear more intellectual than the collection of interviews are. As I said, he interviews everyone from James L. Brooks to Roseanne Barr to Harold Ramis (RIP) to Jim Gaffigan to Jon Stewart to Amy Schumer. (And yes, the Amy Schumer one is pretty entertaining, in case you’re wondering). There are no subjects left off course, and in a move that should surprise no one, Apatow also interviews his wife, the lovely Leslie Mann. I don’t think she’s a comedian known for much outside of being married to him and starring in many of his directing vehicles, so not sure why she was included in here. She’s funny, sure, but come on, there are funnier out there. Overall, though, I can’t complain too much about this book. I enjoyed it, I learned some new things about preparation for standup through the eyes of more than one comic who’d been doing it for many years, and it kept me captivated enough that I didn’t just give up halfway through out of boredom. Likely because I wasn’t bored, so I guess we can say I finally found a vehicle that Apatow is involved in that I actually don’t mind. It’s a good book. Anyone even remotely interested in comedy should give it a go.