For more than a decade in television, Judd Apatow's work defined noble failure. The people who actually watched the shows he wrote and produced -- including "The Ben Stiller Show," "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared" -- became obsessed with them, and still speak of them in hushed tones implying a religious experience. But the ratings were never good and most of his shows died after a single season.
Now he's the movie business's King of Comedy, the man with the golden funny bone, writer/director of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" and producer of more than a half-dozen other comedies set to come out over the next year and a half. The words "Judd" and "Apatow" may be the easiest way to get a movie greenlit at the moment.
So what changed? What is Apatow doing differently as the man who gave you Steve Carell's chest-waxing and Katherine Heigl's full-frontal baby delivery than he did as the poster boy for BrilliantButCanceled.com?
"I learned a lot from the TV work," Apatow says by phone while driving from meeting to meeting, "but I'm basically trying to do the same thing."
To read the full thing, click here. Meanwhile, my "Freaks and Geeks" DVDs have been located and are allegedly in transit to my home, so hopefully I'll be able to start blogging on that soon.