Judd Apatow at Mission High School: talking comedy with students

On Thursday, October 7, producer, director, screenwriter, and Hollywood hit-maker Judd Apatow was in town for the City Arts & Lectures event series, which supports 826 Valencia’s college scholarship program. Before the evening lecture, during which Dave Eggers interviewed Judd Apatow for a radio program, the comedian made a visit to Mission High School to hold a Q & A session with students and teachers.

Leading the Q & A, Dave Eggers asked Apatow about his early career and influences, and Apatow was eager to offer advice to students with an interest in writing, acting, or comedy. He recounted the path he took from obsessively transcribing homemade audio recordings of Saturday Night Live episodes as a teenager, to becoming one of the biggest names in mainstream comedy. He told the audience how he abandoned the idea of being a stand-up comedian, finding it difficult to perform on stage, but discovered he could get paid to write jokes for other working comedians. He wrote for Roseanne Barr, Jim Carrey, and his roommate at the time, Adam Sandler. Apatow talked about how this shift in focus toward writing was a turning point for his career, both because it opened professional doors for him and because it gave him the revelation that he could forge his own creative path while still making a living.

Apatow and Eggers then opened the floor for questions from students. Apatow answered queries ranging from what his favorite project to work on was (a toss up between Freaks and Geeks and The 40-Year-Old Virgin), to what actor he would want to work with in the future (Zach Galifianakis), to whether or not he liked scary movies (he’s currently co-writing a zombie comedy). One student told Apatow that she was working on a one-act play and peppered him with questions about the craft of comedic writing. Apatow even took time after the event to read over the student’s draft and provide some sage advice. To top it all off, each student in attendance received an individually addressed and signed hardback copy of I Found This Funny, a collection of humor writing curated by Apatow. The proceeds from this book will benefit 826 National.

826 Valencia would like to extend thanks to Judd Apatow for all of his kind support.

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