I really, really liked certain areas of this book, and skimmed through others. It basically depended on my interest in the interviewee. But I think there’s a good amount of interesting information in here for just about any fan of comedy.
“There’s very little work where the work and the reward are simultaneous, and comedy is that.”
Like Narfna said, this isn’t really a funny book — it’s a serious look at funny people. Judd Apatow gives us a bit of his own background, which I found pretty interesting, and discusses how he got his start in comedy by interviewing comedians. The book is a collection of his interviews — mostly from the last few years, although some of them are older. He has two interviews with Jerry Seinfeld — one from when Judd was just a teenager, and another recent one done for the book.
I think my favorite interview was the Freaks & Geeks oral history. I loved that show, and getting the behind the scenes scoop was great. I wish he’d done the same with the cast of Undeclared, another favorite of mine. Some of my favorite comedians make it in here — Seinfeld, of course, as well as Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Mel Brooks, Harold Ramis. Some of the interviews I kind of skimmed — never been much of a Garry Shandling fan — but I gave them all a shot. Roseanne’s interview was pretty shocking — I had no idea that she had such a dark, twisted childhood.
Each chapter felt like a little taste of something more, and I came away wanting to look up memoirs written by each interviewee (or recalling those that I’ve already read: Martin Short, Steve Martin, Lena Dunham). Apatow seems likely to write a sequel, which I’ll definitely check out.