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Episode 294

Nerdist Podcast

Judd Apatow

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Nerdist Podcast: Judd Apatow

The hilarious and talented Judd Apatow is finally on the podcast! He talks about growing up in a comedy environment, tells some stories from The Ben Stiller Show, and how his real life has inspired his movies!

See This Is 40, out in theaters December 21st!

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43 comments

  • Chris, you can go to whichever pizza place you want. I am super, super excited to see your show this weekend! (ps – I’m the chick you RT’d that time I tweeted at you about getting a date. No date – still going!)

  • Needless to say another awesome podcast. It would be amazeballs if you got all those bowling teams.

    I’ve always wondered, do any of the guests ask what “Enjoy your burrito” means?

  • Sorry guys, you’ve been getting too high profile with guests like zach braff – kevin bacon and now apatow. Got to drop the p. cast, not even the hostful episodes can save this.

  • Judd Apatow = “I literally couldn’t believe that I wasn’t still a dishwasher.” That kind of humility probably keeps you on your toes. It’s the cocky ones who eventually appear on a “Where Are they Now” piece.

    @Chris Hardwick – RE: your self-help book. Yeah, vanity is a good place to begin. That’s part of the reason I’ve gone from 197 pounds to, as of yesterday, 153 (just got THREE compliments on my weight loss in less than twenty-four hours). Brilliant book, good sir. I owe you a hug and a lobster dinner.

  • Dear @Dynyel,

    If you judge a show based solely on the profile of the guests and not on the individual merits of each episode and what you might learn (not to mention that Judd is a genuine comedy nerd) then you are nothing more than a conformist conforming to non-conformism. As a result, it is the determination of this one-man council that you have achieved “Lamewad Status” and I am currently throwing a cupcake party to celebrate your departure.

    Ok to be honest I just REALLY like cupcakes.

    Slappy Holidays!

  • I’m sure no one wants to hear this, but I found this podcast great until, toward the end, Judd spent a chunk essentially reducing men and women in relationships down to ‘Women are silly, irrational creatures who believe in things like Eastern medicine, and their opinions have no merit. I, an intelligent male, believe in Western medicine, and my opinion has more validity. Marriage is a compromise between a sane man and an insane woman who cannot be argued with.’

    Look, I’m a lady, and I’m a lady who generally falls on the side of Western over Eastern medicine. I’m also with Chris, though, that the omnipresence of the pharmeceutical industry has led me to be cautious about what medications I take and seek alternatives if they are available. I also understand that Judd was, apparently, talking at least partially about his own wife, and he did eventually halfway backtrack by saying one needs to learn not to have fixed opinions. But he did so by essentially implying that his wife’s (and he several times extrapolated her behavior to women at large) opinions were irrational and crazy, and who can argue with a crazy person? Rather than taking her concerns seriously for even half a second, he retreated to the uncomfortably historical anti-feminist assumption that women are overly emotional beings who behave without rhyme or reason. By stating that “men do x” and “women do x”, he’s basically doing what Chris and other people have joked about on the show before as a bad shortcut to mean spirited comedy – “Aren’t men and women different?”

    I really appreciated Chris lightly calling Apatow out on this (“Aren’t you basically saying the Eastern medicine is the crazy one?”) which seems to be the only reason Judd backtracked at all. And I’m sorry for the long comment, but this stuff just totally rubs me the wrong way, and it makes me a sad lady nerd. I normally love the show, but hearing stuff like this just brings me down. White guys of privelege don’t get it, I don’t think, how being reduced to an hysterical caricature can really deal a blow to your happiness. I ended up really disappointed by Apatow, but I’ve been saddened by comments he’s made before.

    Bottom line: You can’t say you’re a scion of bringing women into comedy when you still reduce them down to crazed stereotypes. And women don’t need your help, Judd. We’re pretty funny on our own, thanks.

  • Nashville was great, Chris! The new stuff’s already awesome.

    I was the one who mentioned the old Relapse Atlanta 2 A.M. shows, and my wife was the one who gave you the Aela painting! Anyway, I realized later I probably came off douchey, cuz that’s how I do… crowd anxieties and all. Both times I’ve met you, I’ve always walked away thinking, “bah, I wasn’t as glowy and nice as I intended to be!” so there’s some retroactive context for you.

    Anyhow, Kelly and I can’t wait for the next whatever-thing brings you to town! IDEA: The Belcourt Theatre here would be a great podcast venue. It’s where the RiffTrax guys do their Halloween webcasts. Plus, lots of possible guests around town… Ben Folds, Black Keys, etc… Or, it’s unprecedented, but Howard K. and Kulap V. have talked about wanting to come somewhere like Nashville to do a live Who Charted, so maybe you could double up on a live podcast with ‘em. Yay for ideas!

  • @RG – Let me put your mind at ease! You didn’t come off as anything but nice and cool. Don’t feel bad. I usually replay a convo in my head and think I offended or rubbed someone the wrong way but the truth is, it’s almost always fine. Like 99% of the time, so fret not! You’re sweet and your gf is INSANELY talented with the painting. Thank you for coming and bearing gifts!

  • I haven’t listened to this yet, but I think it was in 2004 or something where I had an irritated exchange with him once when Freaks & Geeks finally came out on DVD. It was an expensive set to for some reason. It was something like $70. I was fine with that seeing that I wanted to see it, but within weeks there’s an announcement on some official Freaks & Geeks website where they announced a special 8-disk set. I was already annoyed that I spent that much, but only to find out there was a mega set coming out irritated me to no end. I mean, it was worse than a 2-disk edition of a movie coming out a year later. So, I wrote an irate email to whoever was innocent enough to open my message and the response was from Judd Apatow. It was something like this: “You should always do research before shelling out the duckets. Glad you liked the show.”

    I was still pretty fucking pissed. Now, I guess they sell the mega disk set for over $100. But I don’t love it that much when most of that could pay off two bills. And back in 2004 at UCLA, $60 was a pretty expensive investment, but I also had to starve for ten days.

    Still dig the show though. I catch myself re-watching it often.

  • @RG I’ve done that a few times. I can’t say I feel much better, but it’s something I never got used to I guess because of how I always over analyze crap that doesn’t need to be analyzed at all. I try to put it in my head, that it’s really the self feeling this but that requires effort a lot of times. Sometimes I’m too tired to give a shit, but then I wake up rested and then think, “Damn. Now I feel like shit.” Kind of like a hangover without the headache and blow-chows.

  • That is exactly it, to a tee. When I used to drink profusely, I always had that feeling, and it was eventually my fuel for quitting; I didn’t even necessarily have to have done anything dumb while drinking (though sometimes I did), but it was just the idea that I came so close to doing something dumb, or that I could have done something without knowing. I guess that psychological node carried itself over to social interaction.

    So now I’m like the Dr. Manhattan of social anxiety! I see all possible embarrassments, whether they actually happened or not, and react to all of them at the same time. What I wouldn’t give for some good ol’ tachyon interference…

  • What’s also odd. And I know it’s odd as I do it, but sometimes I actually groan aloud in embarrassment when recounting certain events. And it’s usually stuff I’ve said or done years ago. Usually, (usually) if it’s a prank I pulled I don’t feel guilty about it because I did it intentionally. It’s usually the stuff I might’ve said or done when my mouth was moving and my brain was sleeping. Like when I run into famous people or girls I seem to be attracted to.

  • @ IR: Way to get offended by something you claim as sexist, when it in no way is. Judd’s whole thing was about arguing with someone that doesn’t have the same POV i.e. his wife. His wife may believe more in Eastern stuff and Judd with Western stuff. He’s entitled to his opinion, and using his wife as an example is not defaming women.

    @RG: You got fucked on a DVD set because you didn’t do research. That’s your fault. Plus, why are you mad about not buying a more expensive set when you are simultaneously complaining that 70 bucks broke you? Oh, and those DVDs are expensive because of the music licensing. Someone who’s upset about multiple releases should probably be a big enough fan of the show enough to know that…

  • Got to drop the p.cast BECAUSE of high-profile guests? That’s just being r.tarded. The recent interviews with Tom Hanks, Joan Rivers, and MEL BROOKS have been nothing short of epic! But I still found Maria Bamford to be the most entertaining and fascinating of all. And even though I have NOT enjoyed Apatow’s recent movies, I will STILL listen to this episode. Mr. Hardwick never disappoints in providing a fun and casual conversation, no matter who the guest is.

  • @C on, you probably mean me. Way to chew someone else out for not doing their research. No. The problem was, at the time, it was a set that was exclusive to Judd Apatow himself. That is to say, you couldn’t just walk into Tower and buy them. There was no official release of those two extra DVDs until 4 or 5 years later. And I was broke all the time because I was in college and working two jobs while still paying crazy rent in Westwood. Ask Chris. He can tell you what it was like to live like that in that area. Yeah, I starved, but that was my habit. I bought DVDs and then sold them to Pennylane when I needed to buy a case of ramen. I look upon those days with some fondness more than regret. I joke about it because I can. But it was my stomach rumbling that gave me that get-up-and-go. Today, I don’t have the same monetary issues as my ramen days.

  • @C on, Oh, and I assume you think I bought the set because you think I was a fan of the show. I bought it because I was a fan of Linda Cardellini. I realize it doesn’t make sense to buy a show for just one person in an ensemble, but hey, that’s how I was/am. Some people buy crack. I buy entertainment.

  • @Toonsmyth seriously. I could understand if the quality of the podcast were relying on top names to get downloads. But that simply isn’t the case. Oh well, some people feel the need to trash things and let others know. It’s their loss.

    Nerdist podcast has been all about exploring the creative process. This episode is no exception to this fine tradition!

    BTW if you guys keep fighting then CH will cancel the ice cream social/cupcake party!!! Please don’t ruin it for the rest of us!!! (Yes that is a FeAB reference and damn funny if you get it!)

  • @IR I kind of have to agree, rubbed me the wrong way, especially the impression. But hey.

    It was a short moment in a great podcast and I still really enjoyed it.

    Thanks as always for a great episode g uys.

  • @ Phil: You’re making even less sense. The 8 disc one was released at roughly the same time, you just had to go through Judd’s site. You didn’t do your research and went to buy it right away… And if you’re not even a fan of the show, just Cardellini, WHY in the world would you buy an expensive DVD when you can’t afford it?

    Following that up with a mean letter, selling the set to someone else, and still bitching about it 8 years later.

    That’s crazy.

  • It wasn’t really a for-real mean letter and I’m not really bitching about it. I just look back on it jovially and the letter was backhanded compliment that I figured would just disappear into the ether. It was just a thing I wrote just to get it off my chest. And yes, I said it came out around the same time. But not AT THE SAME time. Within weeks. It was part of the trend of DVD double dipping that was prevalent at the time that irritated me and that it was an expensive set. Sure, I can buy his $115 Yearbook Edition today and not have the same hangups about it, but back then, it was a sacrifice that I made. I should also point out, I obviously COULD afford it. I didn’t steal or torrent it. It’s what I chose to spend my money on. It’s just that I didn’t have extra to buy more things like sifting through bargain bins. I was just hungry until next payday.

    And it’s not that I didn’t like the show. I wound up liking it in the process. I only heard about the show and it’s low ratings when was on the air, but that’s all I knew about it. Then later I’d heard through my friends at CineFile that I should watch FREAKS & GEEKS because Linda Cardellini was in it and it was set in an era that I grew up in. I’m not sure why you’ve got a rash about Linda Cardellini. That does it matter why someone decides to tune into something?

    And since you pay so close attention to detail, I’ll remind you that not once did I say I sold my set of FREAKS & GEEKS. In fact, I still have them. I just had a habit of selling DVDs (usually ones I could live without) to used record shops to make up for the loss on media money to get me to my next payday. You can’t sell back crack, but you can sell back media. I love entertainment. It’s what I studied in college and my hardcore interests as it is today. These days whatever I buy I keep. And I’ll even upgrade my Kate Beckinsale DVD collection to Bluray. Why? Because I can.

  • @Phil: Westwood. [shudder] Such a crazy expensive place to put college students. Not to mention the insane street parking restrictions that further crushed us with ticket fines…

    Still, I miss it sometimes…Diddyi Riese

  • @Chris, yeah, I totally know what you mean about missing it. I struggling with cash all the time when going from one apartment to the next. Every year I was moving closer and closer to that cemetery. You remember that huge cemetery on Veteran? Shit. I was living kitty corner to it at the Casa Blanca Apartments. I loved the access to everything though. Santa Monica was just right there or Hollywood was just over on Sunset. Plus, all those movie theaters. I left there in 2006, but my stomping ground was Jose Bernstein’s. But Diddy Reise had like lines around the corner. You would think it was a premiere or something. I usually bought the day-old bag of cookies they sold for like $2.

    Actually, I think even Steven Martin lived around there at some point, but back in the day.

  • Also got to agree with IR. That part of the podcast made me sad face :(

    For me as a guy it’s disappointing to hear intelligent men making the tired old sexist generalisations and preaching gender roles like they are biological hard wired.

    In my opinion these only come close to reality when people chase “normality” which is basically conforming to peoples inferred, be that the media or their social peers, expectations.

  • @IR
    I actually read your comment before I listened to that part of the conversation so I went in expecting to hear some sexist rant. I’ll be the first to say that as a white male it’s possible that my view may be biased on this subject, but I think it’s possible that yours might be as well. After listening to the conversation and then rereading the way you heard it, I felt like you might have projecting things onto what Judd said that weren’t necessarily there.

    Judd Apatow isn’t a sociologist; he’s a writer/comedian. He wasn’t stating authoritatively that all women are irrational emotional creatures and all men like to check out. His comments were based on things that he’s experienced and relationship tendencies he’s witnessed in his own life. He’s not wrong just because he expresses his own point of view based on his own experiences. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying “from my point of view XYZ” especially when you follow it up with “I could be entirely wrong about that for all I know” and coming down on him for it is a bit heavy handed.

    That said, I fully respect your point of view and accept the possibility that I might be wrong. :-)

    @C
    Is it really necessary to come on here and take a shitty tone with people for no reason? Does is somehow add something to your life to be unnecessarily condescending and rude? Please don’t.

    @Dynyel
    P. cast takes exactly as many keystrokes to type as podcast, by the way. Just thought you might find that information helpful.

  • @Phil: OH MAN! The thing about groaning aloud at a memory… I do that too. Of course, I’m OCD, so on a bad day I’m prone to a few ticks… but thinking about that stuff always makes me spaz out for a split-second and groan briefly in shame. Good to know I’m not alone there.

    @Everybody talkin’ bout Apatow… he’s definitely longing for a bygone day of comedy, and that’s not a bad thing at all! You gotta realize, though, in the past few years, comedy has become pretty PC and tolerant (or, at least, tolerant of the things people traditionally weren’t so tolerant of, even if it’s intolerant of other, more nuanced things).

    So, his viewpoint tends to skew toward that identity put forth by people like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and ANY of the 80’s comics whom he interviewed as a kid. Those comics created stereotypes, not because they were all true, but because audiences needed something to relate to; there was no internet, and audiences weren’t connected by as much nuance as they are today, so observations about basic human nature were the only things that brought people together. Even if they weren’t always true, everybody knew at least one person who did fit the stereotype.

    So, Judd grew up with that. He probably continues to see life through that filter, and that’s probably what drew him into a very stereotypical marriage: it’s familiar territory. And yunno, that’s not a bad thing… it doesn’t actually hurt anyone, and it’s interesting to see that kind of comedic brain live on through someone like him. Not all comedy has to be ultra-contemporary; Judd’s brand of comedic observation is an old standard that most people can’t pull off nowadays, and he does it so well that even if you don’t happen to fit the stereotype he’s building, you gotta realize there are still lots of people who do.

  • This anti-generalization viewpoint seems weird, especially when the generalizations are humorous and harmless. I mean, have you ever seen a pharmaceutical commercial? Those are generalized ideas of people. Even if YOU don’t do the same things as them, there are people whose lives really *are* that cliched.

    We all have it done to us, at one point or another. Hell, I’m religious… I get this stuff all the time. I used to get mad, but now I realize that if I sat down and had a conversation with the person, they’d realize they just weren’t thinking… but more than that, *I* would realize that they weren’t basing their entire life around the conclusions of that generalization, so it never mattered what they thought. I’d realize that the only reason it only mattered to me was ‘cuz I got muh feelins hurt.

    Make no mistake… Judd Apatow’s met progressive feminists and tomboys and every sort of person who doesn’t fit a particular mold. He works nonstop, so I guarantee you he has met people from all walks of life. Still, there ARE types… they may be nestled within other types in a massive nodal hierarchy, and not every person fits a type with absolute accuracy, but there ARE types. It’s only human.

  • Harmless from your viewpoint, lets me honest us white males have it easy. There is no shining negative associations for us as we don’t live under any kind of oppression, the western world being a white lead patriarchy.

    If you’re a woman, or Black for example (Black women have to deal with double the predudice) you constantly live with this oppression. You personally feel the effects every day.

    It’s really not the place of any male, myself included to say “This is not an issue. I don’t see how it’s offensive.” because we do not live it and cannot relate from our personal viewpoint.

    If you actually care enough about people outside your own socially defined group, research on why generalising people is detrimental to everyone.
    Google it, there are many people who have already covered this points far more eloquently than I ever could.

  • The thing that resonated most with me was when Apatow said that he did not anything new to add to Stand up. I was talking to a friend of mine after the Chris Hardwick comedy show this weekend when she said exactly that but about going into film making. It was an odd moment because I was thinking the exact same thought but about just about everything I do. It was weird hearing my thoughts echoed to me by a friend and someone famous.

    Apatow was smart to recognize his where his marketable talents were and just go for them. He seems to be having a ton of fun in the process. Now I wish I could inspire my friend to stop making excuses and pursue what she WANTS to do instead of stagnating where she is. She super smart, funny and talented. She’s just stuck in a high burn out job. She’s too young to be in the position she is in. NO, I am NOT referring to me, I’m not that much of a narcissist! The reason why I started my podcast was for people like my friend. But so far I seem to be batting 0. People say “oh i want to do X” but they have ended up making excuses. But this whole thing is another story for another time.

    As far as getting older…every year I see something new and yes it’s around my birthday and in the bathroom. After I got out of the shower in the hotel I was in, did I see “Your Tits Taste Delicious”? No but I did notice that I have a couple of white hairs in my eyebrows! What?? For the love of all things why white? Worse comes to worse I could dye a white streak in my hair and call myself Rogue.

  • Alex, you don’t have to be a certain color or sex to understand. Peoples’ eloquent explanations are not the end-all-be-all answer for the issue; the discussion goes on. And by the way, this “oppression” you’ve heard about? Understand that it’s not synonymous with comedic generalization. That notion would trivialize actual nationalistic, racial, and sexual oppression/suppression in a very detrimental way.

    The point is, why worry about a fairly socially well-informed guy making blanket statements which have no effect, when there are people passing laws and cocking guns based on more sinister generalizations? It’s not the act of generalizing, but the intent.

  • RG: If you are unintentionally sexist, or racist. You are still a bigot, being bigoted.

    It’s not strictly your fault – you might be mimicking something you same on television you didn’t realise was unacceptable – but it’s still a problem.

    You are claiming this blanket statements have no effect, I disagree. I think statement like this empower Men and disempower women, it takes away for the validity of women’s concerns and the power they have in our society.

    Why do you think these sexist statements have no effect? You’re position is vague.

    Sure, there are people passing laws and cocking guns based on generalisations. This is obvious, blatant in our faces and frequently discussed.

    Why should I ignore or excuse sexism?

    The people cocking guns are trying to dehumanise groups of people so less people get up in arms about killing them and/or stealing their resources.

    Sexism dehumanises women to. This is also important.

    I will resist all abhorrent bullshit. I won’t pick and choose or only be concerned about what I am told I should worry about on the news.

  • Ugh. Listen to the conversation again. You’re painting sexism into a situation in which it doesn’t exist. He was clearly talking about one person in a marriage disagreeing with another. He didn’t present himself as a perfectly rational male arguing with a completely irrational female. He presented a very balanced point of view regarding two imperfect people with their own flaws and idiosyncrasies who see each others’ views as ridiculous a good deal of time, and yet are still able to come to agreements for the sake of the overall relationship. He even admitted that he’s dead wrong a good deal of the time! Calm down! Stop getting your non-gender specific undergarments in a wad over nothing!

    Also, intent does matter when it comes to sexist comments. Not in the situation you describe in which one adopts sexist/racist attitudes without knowing any better, but rather in comedy scenarios in which these subjects are explored through a lens of irony and humor. In that case a sexist or racist comment may be made, but isn’t meant to be taken at face value.

  • For the record, once you hit forty, the freakout happens every. single. year.

    Also, while I love the podcast, I’m going to hold off on this one until after I’m not freaking out on my upcoming birthday.

    Props on the Windy City show by the way…I have not laughed so hard in a very, very, very, VERY long time.

    (snerk…pre-calculus…)

  • Finally had a chance to listen to this. Good conversation but I have one little nitpick that doesn’t detract from the overall quality of this episode:

    When you are talking about your parents or grandparents being very cautious about you guys when you were young, it wasn’t cause they were from another generation or because they were funny old people, it’s because they had kids. You don’t and when you do I think you’ll be how they are: because suddenly the most important thing in your life is walking out the door and making its own choices.

    Imagine if your podcast or website could do that every day, you’d freak out with worry and it’s not even a person. :)

  • This was an enjoyable episode for the most part, but then Judd started talking about relationships and how women are like this, men are like that… That’s, pardon my French, total bullshit.
    Also, I realize everyone has right to believe whatever they want, and to raise their child however they want, but if you really use herbs and other ‘Eastern’ new age crap to help with your children’s health, then you are, well, irresponsible to say the least. That is not a question of who likes what, because so called ‘Eastern medicine’ is not a medicine at all. And, to be honest, as much as I understand fear of big pharmaceutic companies, whoever charges something like acupuncture or herbal remedies or whatever [for serious illness] is more morally… questionable than those pharmaceutic companies.