Director Judd Apatow Talks Filmmaking, Pee Wee Herman, and S.F. (VIDEO)
Read our edited version of the interview below, and for a longer version (in which you will get to hear why Apatow will never do a re-make and the new Pee Wee Herman movie) watch the video after the jump. For more video awesomeness, subscribe to SFWeekly TV.
C: So I won a contest to interview you.
J.A.: You did. That's how most people get to interview me.
C: I thought I was special. So I feel a bit like a Make a Wish Foundation kid right here.
JA: Well ...
C: I'm not dying.
C: I heard when you were young you knocked on Steve Martin's door?
JA: I didn't -- I drove by his house and saw him out washing his car or something and asked for his autograph. I use to chase after people. Once I saw Robert Conrad, the actor, when I was on vacation in South Carolina and I chased after him on bicycle for three miles. I was all about seeking out people. I use to write letters to everyone on television to see who would send me an autograph back. I would write, "Dear Merv Griffin, You are the best talk show host in the world, please send me an autograph," and then I'd take out another piece of paper [and write], "Dear Mike Douglas, You are the best talk show host in the world please send me an autograph." And I would do it for years, every night, as many letters as I could. I still have a big stack of Jack Klugman autographs at home.
C: You also had an interview show when you were young?
JA: I did. I used to interview comedians in high school for a high school radio station. I interviewed like 50 people, all just people I wanted to meet. I created an interview show just so there'd be a reason for people to give me their time. This was in 1983, 1984, and I interviewed [Jay] Leno and John Candy and [Jerry] Seinfeld, Howard Stern, "Weird" Al Yankovic, Steve Allen, Henny Youngman, Sandra Bernhard ... anybody that I liked. I would trick them into thinking that I was a real interviewer.
C: I want to move on to some of your movies. ... I saw Funny People, and I wanna say it's really stuck with me. It feels kind of like a movie from the '70s. They don't really make movies like that anymore. It felt very personal, is what I'm saying.
JA: Well, it definitely felt like a moment where I'd be allowed to make a movie like that that I might not be allowed to make again. There's one moment where you have enough success where you can do something a little more personal. It's not like the world was screaming for a "comedian-who-has-a-fatal-disease" movie. But there are a lot of things that I wanted to say about my journey in comedy, and all the questions that are raised, [like] "What's the purpose of all this?" and how even when terrible things happen to people how difficult it is to change and evolve even in the face of something terrifying, like a fatal disease.
C: Are we gonna see more of the writer-director point of view in the future? Is it going to get smaller and more intimate and personal, or are we just gonna go balls-out crazy?
JA: I try to do both at the same time, so if I'm directing I tend to do things that are more personal because I feel like if I do something that's just silly there's a lot of people who could direct that really well ... But the things that are just about me or my feelings about certain things are things I don't feel like I could pass off to somebody else where they would understand ... but that doesn't mean there's not a thriller in my future. Maybe a ghost story, a house that's really scary, or maybe a lot of people get chained together and have to kill each other.
C: I wanna talk about the book. The title is I Found This Funny: My Favorite Humor Pieces and Some That May Not Be Funny at All -- is that true?
JA: The book is an anthology of humor and articles about humor and poetry and cartoons and short stories and just things that I like, and after I re-read it I thought, "Wow, a good third of this is not funny at all." ... Maybe odd funny, but not ha ha funny. ... I'm really oddly proud of it. I feel like I wrote it. I didn't actually write it.
C: Is there a foreword by you at least?
JA: There's a very brief foreword. I may have written the entire forward on a BlackBerry while in the bathroom. ... It's perfect for the bathroom, it's perfect for an airplane, it's perfect if you're going into a dentist's office and they make you wait for an hour.
C: You want to tell me what the funniest one is?
JA: I find hilarious Simon Rich, who's a writer for Saturday Night Live and has a lot of short humor pieces that are in there. ... There's a hilarious sketch from Adam McCain and Tom Janice that they wrote for Saturday Night Live that Alec Baldwin was in ... The "Look Well Pilot," that was a pilot that Robert Smigel and Conan O'Brien wrote for Adam West in the mid-'90s ... where he plays a guy who's an actor on a television show who was a detective and now the show is over and he has a badge in Lucite, like an honorary badge from the city of Beverly Hills or something, and he tries to solve crimes. There's also a Raymond Carver story, and Flannery O' Connor and F. Scott Fitzgerald -- basically I made the book just so I could put my friends' work next to Hemingway's.
C: Do you like it here in San Francisco, or do you think it's a shithole?
JA: Why would you use the word "shithole"? ... Does anyone think of San Francisco as a shithole?
C: Certain parts.
JA: Where you live?
JA: You live in the uh, Mexican Jewish section?
C: There's lots of delis and burritos.
C: You're one of the good guys, Judd ... to all Mexican schlubby Jewish guys out there ... you're a superhero.
JA: You're a subdivision of the schlubby Jew, because there's the schlubby Jew and then there's the schlubby Mexican Jew, there's the schlubby Asian Jew, the scrubby Brazilian Jew ...
C: Well you're kind of like our Miles Davis.
JA: I'm the schlubby Turkish Jew. ... I feel like I'm getting a lot of guys like you laid. ... Like it used to be embarrassing to have sex with guys like us, but now it's kinda almost a cool thing to do.
C: Thank God in 2010 for a man like you to get me laid. Nice meeting you, Judd.
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