[03/18/08 - 01:18 AM]
Live at the Paley Festival: The Comedy World of Judd Apatow & Friends
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

7:07 p.m.: Our old friend Pat Mitchell is back to intro tonight's slightly unorthodox panel - Judd Apatow himself will moderate the panel, bringing out new guests as the night goes on.

7:12 p.m.: "Does it feel like this night is going into the shitter already?" Apatow says about the archival clip the Paley folks used to kick off the show - a sketch from "The Ben Stiller Show" in which Apatow plays Jay Leno auditioning for "The Tonight Show." He goes on to talk about his Paley memories - both "Freaks & Geeks" and "Undeclared" appeared at the Paley Festival, only to be canceled shortly thereafter. But tonight isn't about sour grapes - Garry Shandling is here! Mike Huckabee is here! Okay he was kidding about the last one.

7:14 p.m.: Apatow intros a clip from the final episode of "The Larry Sanders Show," in which Jim Carrey kills with a Bette Midler-esque send off for Larry, only to proceed to tell him how much he hates him during the next commercial break.

7:23 p.m.: Apatow returns and brings out Larry Sanders himself, Garry Shandling. "It reminds me that it was the last show, it reminds me of how exhausted I was," Shandling says. "I remember when I came up with the idea for that last episode I called Pete Tolan and I said, 'Let's do a last episode that I don't have to do much in and have a lot of guests.' And so I just sit there and it's primarily Jim Carrey's moment. Nice choice of clip." Apatow quips, "But it's the kind of reactive comedy that you're so good at." Shandling gives him a harsh look. Funny stuff.

7:25 p.m.: Another Huckabee reference! Garry says he caught him making an old "Seinfeld" joke on the stump about how his daughter asked him why they don't hold onto the guys on the "most wanted" list while they're taking their picture. Garry on McCain: "When I see John McCain at 71 honest to God I think how could he commit to four years? I couldn't. I'm exhausted. I would think he'd want to go season to season... or do a series of specials."

7:27 p.m.: Judd reveals they first worked together when he wrote jokes for Garry's tenure as host of the Grammys. "It was so long ago that at the time I made a joke about KISS not being popular," he adds. "And since then they've became popular again and are now unpopular again." Shandling responds, "I thought you wrote and you tell me if you did... 'K.D. Lang is a vegetarian, she must be frustrated because she's sitting next to Meatloaf.'" "That might be some early Apatow there," he regretfully admits. "I know I wrote this joke - 'A lot of people are wondering why I'm hosting the Grammys, what's my connection to the Grammys. Well my girlfriend used to do the guy from Uriah Heep.'"

7:31 p.m.: Judd admits he would use Garry to try and meet famous people, including backstage at the Grammys. "I said 'Go ask Michael Stipe [if he'll] come on ["Larry Sanders"], because you just killed hosting the Grammys, and he'll know who you are, ask him to do the show.' And Garry says, 'Hey Michael, Michael, you should come on 'The Larry Sanders Show' sometime.' And then Michael Stipe just immediately kept walking. And do you remember what you said? You said, 'Or I could go fuck myself.'"

7:34 p.m.: Judd on some behind-the-scenes drama: "There would be writers on the show that would pitch Garry bad jokes. Usually not Jews. I'm not even joking, there's just some kind of connection... like I would never pitch a joke that was just on fuckin' Jupiter because we had a Jew connection." Garry quips, "Try and say something without 'Jew' in it." Judd continues, "But there was a lot of tension in the writers' room, sometimes, because sometimes they were mad at you because you didn't like their jokes."

7:36 p.m.: Garry confesses Judd harbors a grudge over a particular "Sanders" joke he nixed in which Hank was supposed to date a girl with a kid and had to watch him, cut to Hank using a human leash on him. "Don't fuck up the joke so it doesn't sound funny," Judd notes. Judd shares his version - the audience doesn't seem to be swayed either way. Don't worry, it's all in good fun.

7:39 p.m.: Judd encapsulates his "Larry Sanders" experience: "When I first started working at 'The Larry Sanders Show,' Garry said, 'You are going to learn so much.' It was always funny because there was no sense that I was going to make a contribution to the show. I was just going to learn something... [so] whenever I'm writing, in my head what I do is I'll pretend that I'm writing an episode of 'The Larry Sanders Show' but just with different characters and that's my trick."

7:44 p.m.: Hey it's Tom Arnold! He shares his first impression of Judd, whom he gave his first paying gig: "I went and saw your stand-up and I thought, 'Man, he's a good writer.'" He adds that years later Judd wrote some material for him when he was supposed to play a sportscaster on Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday." Stone fired Tom before he even filmed his scene but Judd's material still made it to the screen.

7:52 p.m.: Tom is filled to the brim with Roseanne stories, all of which feature Judd being caught awkwardly in the middle of their fights. Among them: Roseanne and Tom literally come to blows after she wonders if she should have plastic surgery (all while waiting to film at Judd's grandmother's house). Another has Tom demanding that Roseanne not go to lunch with Jesse Jackson because he thought he was going to steal her away from him. Folks I couldn't make this up if I tried.

7:54 p.m.: At this point Garry is so freaked out about Tom he's moved a seat down. Eventually everyone bonds over their shared love of dick jokes.

7:56 p.m.: Hey it's Busy Philipps! Paul Feig! Jason Segel! Seth Rogen!

8:02 p.m.: Judd on how he got the "Freaks & Geeks" cast he wanted: "Everyone we liked they approved because the head of the network was fired right before we did all the tests. And [former NBC West Coast President] Scott Sassa, who was a much higher level person, he didn't have an ego about it. He didn't know he was supposed to destroy the process. He said - 'They all seemed great!' - and then he walked out of the room." Conversely: "[When] I brought in Jason Segel for the lead of 'Undeclared' [for FOX] they looked at me like I was fucking crazy. They said absolutely not."

8:03 p.m.: Jason adds, "Judd brought me to his house and he said, 'Listen, Jase... I think you're great but you're also a really weird dude. The only way you're going to make it is if you start writing.' And so I started writing and I didn't work from like 22 to 25 because I was way too tall to steal the SATs in a movie... Judd was the only person who stood by me, it happened again on '40-Year-Old Virgin.' He put me in '40-Year-Old Virgin' and I couldn't get [approved]. And I finally got in 'Knocked Up' and Judd was nice enough to make this movie that we have coming out. And he took me aside when the movie got greenlighted, put his arm around me.. and I had been waiting for this for a long time. And he says, 'Jase I'm really proud of you... if I were you, a couple years ago I swear to God I would have blown my brains out.'"

8:04 p.m.: Seth explains how he got into "Undeclared": "I helped write a lot of the audition scenes with me in mind. So I wrote scenes only I could do well. And the studio approved me because I was the only guy who could do those scenes."

8:06 p.m.: Clip time! Judd intros a scene from "Kim Kelly is My Friend" in which Busy has Linda Cardellini's character over for dinner only to have her parents erupt after learning that Busy had been lying about where she spent her time. Judd subsequently reveals NBC flat out refused to air the episode, which was its third shot, because of concerns over its violent content. It also caused a minor disconnect with the next episode in which Busy and Linda's characters - previously at odds - act as friends without explanation.

8:14 p.m.: More clips! Judd reveals he has a scene from the upcoming "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" which - much to Jason's chagrin - prominently features shots of his junk. Afterwards, Tom regales how impressive it is - "It's got that extra bulbous thing on the end!" Yes, I can't believe I'm typing this either.

8:23 p.m.: More guests! Paul Rudd! Jonah Hill! Jonah, who's still hoarse from his "SNL" stint on Saturday, recaps that experience: "[Mariah Carey] had like 50 people outside her dressing room. She had a lady that just held her Diet Coke... the promos we did, she didn't get any of our jokes. One of the things I wrote was like, 'Hey, remember when we were in 'Superbad' together? And Bill [Hader] starts to talk and I go, 'No, not you, her.' And Mariah was like, "I don't get it, cause I wasn't in 'Superbad.' She was so confused... but she was sweet, yeah."

8:30 p.m.: The clip machine continues, this time with the mushroom hotel scene from "Knocked Up."

8:34 p.m.: Judd gives a shout out to his mom, who's in the audience, and her support. "The greatest gift my mother gave me was she really just always believed I could do it. Like without any hesitation. [She thought] anything was possible and that any dream I had could just happen. I actually believed it. I just never questioned [it] for a second... because she brainwashed me to believe it."

8:36 p.m.: More clips! An extended deleted scene from "Knocked Up" in which the guys debate whether Seth's character should ask for an abortion.

8:42 p.m.: More guests! Andy Dick! "Am I allowed up here? Because I'm not a movie star," Andy quips. "I'm the faggoty loser."

8:43 p.m.: Andy reveals Chris Farley used to be his sponsor and likewise Tom used to be Chris Farley's sponsor.

8:47 p.m.: Even more clips! It's a scene from "The Ben Stiller Show" in which Woody Allen's "Husbands & Wives" is re-imagined a la Francis Ford Coppola's "Dracula" with Andy as Woody Allen. It really is amazing how well that show holds up.

8:52 p.m.: Paul says during "Ben Stiller's" heyday, he used to be mistaken for Andy.

8:55 p.m.: And just when you thought there would be no more clips! Judd has a scene from the upcoming "Pineapple Express" starring Seth and James Franco, which Seth describes as a "weed action movie."

9:02 p.m.: Audience Q&A. Jason on what's it like to learn from Judd: "When I was like 20 years old, I went to his house and he gestured at his opulent mansion. And he said, 'I want you to remember what I'm about to say you Segel' - because at that time you talked like an old-time producer - 'funny paid for all of this.'" Seth quips, "Your dick is going to buy a lot of shit."

9:05 p.m.: Judd on the core of "Larry Sanders": "It was about people who love each other and showbusiness gets in the way."

9:07 p.m.: Paul on what makes Judd great: "There are very few people who want to protect what you do and can make it great. It's a tough thing to protect you because the whole industry is about trying to whittle away and whittle away because there's all these people whose job is to put their two cents in and sometimes - I'm not against two cents - but when the two cents start taking away from the dollar and suddenly you're left with fifty cents. Nobody's happy, nobody's proud. What's so good about Judd is he protects everyone's vision and makes it better. And I could have never have done 'Freaks & Geeks' without him."

9:09 p.m.: Someone asks if we'll ever see "The Andy Dick Show" on DVD. Andy says unlikely due to the music licensing costs.

9:12 p.m.: Whew! And so ends tonight's session. We'll be back tomorrow!

  [march 2008]  


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