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Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy Paperback – May 31, 2016
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“I can’t stop reading it. . . . I don’t want this book to end.”—Jimmy Fallon
“An essential for any comedy geek.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Fascinating . . . a collection of interviews with many of the great figures of comedy in the latter half of the twentieth century.”—The Washington Post
“Open this book anywhere, and you’re bound to find some interesting nugget from someone who has had you in stitches many, many times.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“An amazing read, full of insights and connections both creative and interpersonal.”—The New Yorker
“Fascinating and revelatory.”—Chicago Tribune
“For fans of stand-up, Sick in the Head is a Bible of sorts.”—Newsweek
“This exploration of what it really means to be funny, day in and day out, is for the comedian in everyone.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Incandescent . . . an irresistible, ultimate-insider’s comedy-interview extravaganza . . . [Judd] Apatow never loses his unabashed fan’s enthusiasm even as he asks canny questions that yield superbly illuminating conversations rich in shop talk and musings on the lure, demands, and resonance of comedy.”—Booklist (starred review)
“If Apatow’s gift for comedy is a sickness, may he never be cured.”—Playboy
“Sprawling and insightful . . . The candidness of the interviews also exposes the peculiar community of comedians with anecdotes and cameos unlikely to be heard elsewhere. A delightful and hilarious read for anyone interested in what makes comedians tick.”—Kirkus Reviews
“These are wonderful, expansive interviews—at times brutal, at times breathtaking—with artists whose wit, intelligence, gaze, and insights are all sharp enough to draw blood. Judd Apatow understands as well as any of them the pain that holds the knife, and the glee that wields it.”—Michael Chabon
“Anyone even remotely interested in comedy or humanity should own this book. It is hilarious and informative and it contains insightful interviews with the greatest comics, comedians, and comediennes of our time. My representatives assure me I will appear in a future edition.”—Will Ferrell
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Judd Apatow is one of the most important comic minds of his generation. He wrote and directed the films The 40-Year-Old Virgin (co-written with Steve Carell), Knocked Up, Funny People, and This Is 40, and his producing credits include Superbad, Bridesmaids, and Anchorman. Apatow is the executive producer of HBO’s Girls. He was also the executive producer of Freaks and Geeks, created Undeclared, and co-created the Emmy Award–winning television program The Ben Stiller Show. His latest film is Trainwreck. He was also the editor of the collection I Found This Funny. Judd Apatow lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Leslie Mann, and their two daughters, Maude and Iris.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
What I liked the least: when interviewees recited their job histories.
What I liked the most: when they spoke about the bigger issues about life. Here are a few examples.
Harold Ramis: "...you’re famous. Now what? Now it becomes a measure of character, growth, and development. Who do you want to be from that point on?...Growth is hard...When you’re almost sixty years old there’s got to be something more going on. What are the challenges of being a grown-up in the world?" (Lynne: I loved this, because I'm all about rethinking things when you're around 50, 60, and older).
Jerry Seinfeld on being a dad: "...my son (insulted me) even worse than that. We were making up words as a game at dinner one night and I said, 'You know, I've made up a lot of words that people actually use as words.' And my son said, 'Uh, really, like what? UNFUNNY?'"
Larry Gelbart: "I don’t worry about what (the audience will) get. I write for myself on the assumption that there are a number of people who have similar sensibilities and will appreciate what it is..."
Lena Dunham: "There are always people telling you that your experience doesn’t matter, that it’s navel gazing or unnecessary. 'We don’t need to hear about twentysomething girls who feel like they’re ten pounds overweight. We don’t need to hear about forty-year-olds getting divorced.' But we do need to hear it, because...it can be the difference between someone feeling like they have a place in the world and someone feeling they don’t." (Lynne: I write for people who are 60-something, so thank you for the validation, Lena.)
Louis C.K. on not being chosen for gigs: "I'm glad I didn't get it. I'm glad for every single thing I didn't get."
Great interview question: Judd asks, "Who's voice is in your head that's wise?"
Mike Nichols: every scene is either a fight, a seduction, or a negotiation.
Judd: "When your parents behave in ways that make you feel unsafe, you think, 'Oh, I guess I’m in charge of myself.' And when you’re fourteen, that’s not a great thing. It kind of never goes away. As a producer, I’m always assuming things are going to crash and I’m trying to figure out what could go wrong before it happens. It’s helpful for work. But it’s a terrible way to live your life." (Lynne: amen, brother.)
I could go on, but you get the idea. I think Judd Apatow poured his considerable heart and soul into this book, and I recommend it.
Each chapter is about one celebrity. Think of it like a season of Law & Order. The season is great but each episode can stand alone magnificently.
I have really enjoyed this read so much so I'd check out his other literary endeavors.