Twenty five years later and with countless blockbuster hits under his belt, there was little reason for Hollywood comedy writer Judd Apatow to return to the stand-up stage except to “lower my salary and my self esteem,” he said — but we should be glad he did.
Apatow’s hour-long stand-up Netflix special dropped Tuesday. Apatow is an engaging storyteller, reenacting conversations with his daughters, meet-ups with celebs like former president Barack Obama and Paul McCartney, and captivating us with anecdotes about that one time Adam Sandler was his roommate.
From start to finish Apatow thickly schmears the self deprecation — he’s overweight, his lovely wife of 20 years, actress and comedian Leslie Mann, is prettier than he is. He claims he lacks a pleasant stage presence, but it’s hard to buy it as Apatow flanks his set with tales about the rich and famous and endearing family stories.
Apatow also took on sexual harassment in the Trump era and how he’s coping with it.
“A lot of people say bad things about Trump and these people but you’ve got to watch what you say. I don’t drop the word Nazi around loosely because I feel like us Jews have said it way too much and now we are the Jews who cried Nazi. No one believes it,” he said.
“If you call someone a Nazi, they’ll be like, ‘You said that about Mel Gibson and I saw ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and it was very good.’”
The director, producer, writer and now stand up comedian is Jewish but considers himself “non-religious.” That doesn’t stop him from being very proud of the Jews as of late: “We’re not causing that much trouble in the world.”
“We’re pretty cool as a religion,” he says in his Jewish bit. “We don’t mind if you draw our god. You can draw him. You can draw us if you want. And we shouldn’t want you to draw us because any accurate drawing of a Jewish person is inherently anti-Semitic. Like a perfect drawing of me is like Nazi propaganda.”
Apatow says one of his favorite things about Jews is their disinterest in conversion.
“Have you ever seen a Hasidic Jew? They don’t even want to talk to you. They’re like, ‘You can’t just have this hat! You can’t just have this jacket! If we want more Jews, we’ll fuck each other and make a Jew.’”
Apatow is a thoughtful guy. In between the vagina and “shart” jokes is the story of a young boy who at age 10 decides he wants to be a comedian and goes on to fiercely pursue it. Years later, this is a guy living out his life’s dream on stage for all of our enjoyment.