Another online addendum: New York magazine’s culture website, Vulture, has put up a longer version of my conversation with Judd Apatow. I liked this answer of his in particular:
Funny People seemed to show that influence in terms of writing about your own experience, even when it’s dark, and still being funny. Are you working on anything now that is moving in that direction?Read the rest. Above: Apatow again (a couple of times).
We’ll see. Sometimes you make a movie and your intention is to make people deliriously happy. And when you’re working on a movie like that you understand the rules: The 40-year-old virgin needs to get laid, and when he does, the audience should be happy. And you’re trying to make every scene as unique and funny as you can. You know, with Funny People, I was trying to get big laughs, but also talk about issues which are not usually talked about in a comedy, and some of it is not meant to be entertaining as much as thought-provoking. And it’s a very different experience to try to walk that line than to make a movie where the final judge of every moment is, “Did it get a laugh?” There’s no sound people make when drama’s working. I wish there was. At a preview for the movie, maybe every time a dramatic moment’s working they could make a sort of squeal-y noise. But they don’t … I found that to be a very fulfilling experience, but it’s also painful because you’re really putting your heart into something and putting yourself out there. There are people who really take to it and see what you’re going for, and there are people who say, “Why isn’t it funnier?”