Anne Philippi meets Judd Apatow

© Collage / Julia Zierer

When it comes to press junkets, forty minutes are about as much as one year in real life – hence they seem infinite. A few years ago I spent a year (i.e. 40 minutes) with Judd Apatow, at that time to talk about the film “This Is 40”. I did not like the movie, which I forgot after a minute, mainly because Judd got right down to business. He claimed he had recently had enough of penis jokes,  which occurred in his previous films as “Funny People” or “Knocked Up”, but as a matter of fact had not yet had enough of jokes about hemorrhoids. “I follow a simple rule. I make jokes about the things I know. There are no limits. Hemorrhoids and the everyday humdrum of marriage – that I know of!” So it’s basically philosophy for amateurs: Talk about the things you fathom while rummaging through a stack of paper.

A few hours ago I met Judd Apatow again. This time we did not have a whole year on our hands, but only a small amount of time in a huge hotel in Pasadena. It was one of those hotels that appear awfully luxurious on the website but not in real life. Netflix had extended an invitation to the press on the topic of their upcoming series, one of them “Love” by Apatow, and interviews were held all across the premises. He arrived a few minutes early and placed himself next to the table. In front of him a sheet of paper that read: “Talent, please introduce yourself.” A curious note telling the star he should say who he is, just in case the interviewers don’t have a clue who they’re talking to – which seems pretty unlikely.  However, Apatow did not introduce himself. Perhaps he just didn’t know who he would want to be that day, in these early morning hours.

Apatow wore, what he had worn three years ago. An unidentifiable suit, likely a sort of franchise piece. Maybe he bought it at some no-name Italian on La Brea in West LA. Judd was weary-eyed, the fatigue was written all over his face and he immediately sympathized with the attendee, suffering from the worst jetlag. “You look fried” he said to the overtired journalist. Admittedly, the man looked a little “fried” himself. After all he’s been busy working with Lena Dunham for “Girls”,  producing Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck” last year and now presenting his new Netflix show. “Love” revolves around a girl (Mickey) and a guy (Gus), both kids from Los Angeles, whose lives are guided by text messages and facebook updates. However, we only chatted about that briefly, because if you happen to get the chance to talk to the man, the only question you try to wrap your head around is: How does he manage leading a life that’s simultaneously located in and outside of the Hollywood bubble and how on earth does he find these matchless characters, we’re all just dying to see on the big screen?

The answer lies in a photograph, taken on Halloween way back in 1975. The photo depicts a young Judd disguised as the legendary Harpo Marx. His hour of birth, if you want to put it that way, as it marks the day Judd Apatow became a child comic. Indeed, he chose the photo as his book cover for “Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy” because ever since this picture was taken, the nerdy and equally nosey boy had pelt other comedians with questions about his future. In said picture, Judd is eight years old and his stare is no different from that of the man sitting next to me in Pasadena, wearing this unidentifiable suit. As it turns out Judd Apatow learned everything there is to know about life at the tender age of eight. Now that’s what I call advanced philosophy!

 

Translation: Jessica Aimufua
Portrait Anne Philippi

Anne Philippi contributed to the Berlin pages of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Vogue and the German issue of Vanity Fair until 2009. She moved to Los Angeles, with a focus on interviewing Hollywood personalities. Today she partly lives in Berlin and published a book called “Giraffen”, a story that deals with the consequences of a so called existence of glamour.