As a screenwriter, Judd Apatow spends a lot of time searching for that perfect balance of funny and sweet, of laughing at Seth Rogen and laughing with Seth Rogen. But while he’s perfected the art of making the lives of 20-something slackers not only humorous but enviable, he had some trouble curating his new collection of short stories.
“I was trying to put together a collection of pieces that inspire me, things that make me laugh. But a lot of the things aren’t really funny,” he says of “I Found This Funny.” “Well, I thought they were when I selected them, but then I went back and realized they were kind of weird or sad.”
While Jonathan Franzen’s ruminations on a childhood mentored by Charlie Brown probably do fall into the more melancholy category, others — such as a young, gay and already-hilarious David Sedaris struggling to drop his lisp at speech therapy — seem a natural coming-of-age choice from the guy who brought us “Pineapple Express” and “Superbad.”
Apatow himself contributed a piece — a diary-style account of how his beloved “Freaks and Geeks” was slowly tortured and canceled by NBC, only to be replaced by “Dateline” — but he considers them all his, at this point.
“I’m ridiculously proud of it. I’ve convinced myself that I wrote everything in this — not just selected it,” he says. “I wrote that Hemingway piece.”
Free adviceAll of the book’s proceeds benefit 826 National, a literacy and tutoring non-profit co-founded by Dave Eggers. But according to Apatow, Eggers paid up in his own way. “I used my fundraising as an opportunity to force him to give me advice,” says Apatow. “It’s hard for me to find the courage to write about something so personal, as he does so well.”
Pick up the printIn the intro, Apatow calls out anyone reading his book on an iPad as a “douchebag,” but that’s only because it was published by the design-foward McSweeney’s.
“It’s like crack; if it’s out, my daughters will instantly grab it,” he says of the iPad. “I have to say, in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, I’ll turn it on. But this is just too pretty to be reading on an iPad.”