Judd Apatow is a famous director now, having written and directed some of modern comedy’s greatest hits (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, “Knocked Up”).
Sure. But did you know he used to be sort of a creep?
As a young man in the early 1970s, Apatow was a pre-teen obsessed with comedians. He washed dishes in a comedy club so he could watch sets. He hosted a radio show at his high school in order to interview comedians. He’s since compiled many of those interviews for a new book, “Sick in the Head,” which hit booksellers on June 16.
That isn’t the creepy part.
What’s creepy is a story relayed within his new book about a young Judd Apatow meeting a young Steve Martin … at Steve Martin’s house … uninvited. Apatow’s grandmother lived in California, and, though he grew up in Long Island, N.Y., his family would visit every now and again. Apatow had tracked down Martin’s then-address and, on each of these trips, Apatow would ask his grandmother to drive him past Martin’s home. Here’s how Apatow describes it in the book:
I begged her to drive by not because I thought I would see him — although I badly wished that would happen — but because I just couldn’t believe there was a structure that actually contained him. It seemed impossible to believe he existed and was somebody you could talk to.
On one of these trips, Martin was actually outside of his house. A young Judd Apatow excitedly asked his grandmother to stop the car so that he and his brother could get out and hound “The Jerk” star Steve Martin. As you might expect, Apatow asked for an autograph. The story might’ve ended there, but Martin — understandably reserved about giving anything to a fan who approached him at his home — rebuffed young Apatow.
Despite Apatow’s protestations, Martin wouldn’t give in.
Apatow left, defeated, so he could write a “long, crazy letter” to Martin, “the spirit of which was: I have bought everything you’ve ever made, and you wouldn’t live in that house if it weren’t for people like me. And then I demanded an apology,” Apatow writes in “Sick in the Head.”
Adding to the craziness, Apatow hand-delivered the letter to Martin’s mail box. Not weird at all!
Thankfully, this story has a heart-warming ending. Around six months after Apatow’s first encounter with Martin, Apatow received a package in the mail from Martin. Beyond a nice, hilarious note, Martin included two copies of his book “Cruel Shoes” (one for Apatow, another for his brother).
Years later, the two comedians are friends — Apatow interviews Martin in his book, where they talk about everything from stand-up to banjo playing. It’s on bookshelves now.
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