Sick in the Head

Sick in the Head

Conversations About Life and Comedy

Book - 2015
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Before his name became synonymous with a new style of comedy; before he had written, directed, or produced his first movie or TV show; before he and his roommate Adam Sandler were performing stand up at dive bars in LA; before all that, Judd Apatow was a kid in Syosett, Long Island who was utterly obsessed with comedy. At 16, he started hosting a radio show for his local high school station, and he would call up the biggest comics of the day - comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Steve Allen, Sandra Bernhard; none of whom, by the way, had any idea they were talking to a kid in his parents' garage -- and talk to them about what got them into comedy, and what made them stay in. Thirty years later, Apatow is still that comedy nerd, and still interviewing comics about what drives them and why they do what they do. That obsession has made him one of the most recognizable and influential comedic filmmakers working today. This book is a collection of 30 years worth of conversations -- always funny, often poignant, and incredibly intimate -- that not only span Apatow's career, but his adult life. Featuring interviews with luminaries like Mel Brooks and Chris Rock and modern icons like Louis CK and Amy Schumer, this is a book for fans of comedy, from the nerdiest fan of all.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812997576
0812997573
Characteristics: xvi, 489 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of lates : color illustrations ; 25 cm

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richmole
Jan 23, 2018

A special interest book that won't appeal to most people. If you're somebody who loves comedy--especially from stand-up comedians, then you're on of the minority who will like this book--or at least some of it. Be warned: comedy is serious stuff!

The book is comprised of audio interviews conducted, in the most part, by Judd Apatow, comic writer, director and producer responsible for "Girls" on the small screen, and "40 Year Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" and "This is 40" on the big screen. The interviews span the almost a lifetime. Apatow did the first one (Seinfield) as a teenager, in 1983 and the latest ones were completed in 2014.

As a kid, Apatow was an obsessive on the topic, desperate to learn from the greats, and a lot of the book is as much a self-examination as it is of profiles of pioneers (Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols and Steve Allen) and peers (Albert Brooks, Jon Stewart, Seth Rogan).

You can quibble about the book's organization--alphabetical, by given name, so the first interview is with Adam Sandler!--rather than chronological, so the reader's constantly reminding him/herself that one interview or the other may represent attitudes, performances, movies and industry details that are no longer current, but read like they are. This is important, because--as more than one performer pointed out--what's funny to one generation (Millennials, for example) may not be funny to other, older generations. Says Mike Nichols (2012): "If you make movies, your early movies are about your time. Everybody knows the story you're telling. Because everybody in your generation is in that place...and they recognize it. And then, when you get to middle age, that doesn't work any more..."

What I found amazing is the entertainers' depth of passion, and their philosophies...and how many find "life meaning" in the work they do, making this book insightful and thoughtful. Want falling-down funny? You want a different book.

w
Wanczura
Dec 18, 2016

This book is a gem and a classic. If you're a comedy geek, this is a treasure trove of candid interviews about how comedy is done. Insights into the expressive art of it as well as the business. As a writer myself, I found it inspirational, too.

m
mammothhawk229e
Jul 15, 2016

Now I'm curious of how many comedians gave an earful to their so-called agents on letting in then 15 year Judd Apatow of WKWZ 88.5 FM reporter with a over-sized AV tape-recorder, their phone numbers & addresses in pre-internet age. Hurry up on volume two with Will Ferrell, already!

b
britprincess1ajax
Apr 11, 2016

A fantastic set of candid interviews with a massive range of comedic minds, anyone who wants to know about the minds of those geniuses who make us laugh will love SICK IN THE HEAD. Some people tell jokes to spread their own joy, while others laugh so as not to cry. I was moved to tears and moved to giggle. I would definitely recommend SICK IN THE HEAD.

s
SmartyJo
Jan 07, 2016

Before reading some of the interviews in this book, I had not thought about how much time, energy, and thought comedians devote to developing their stand-up routines and constantly updating and keeping them fresh. Although most comedians make it look so easy and unrehearsed, in reality, they spend hours writing and preparing for their moments on the stage. I have a new-found appreciation for the fact that it takes more than just natural talent to be a successful comic.

Donna_R Oct 15, 2015

I enjoyed the Sarah Silverman section best of all. But to be honest, I found Apatow himself not the best guide. Still, it's good to get into the comedy trenches.

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