By Ray Pride


Includes An Evening with Apatow and Lena Dunham; FREE Freaks and Geeks marathon; a complete showcase of the films he’s directed, selected films he’s produced, and two from Hal Ashby that have influenced him

On July 14 the series concludes with the World Premiere of Apatow’s latest film from Universal Pictures, Trainwreck, which will screen at Alice Tully Hall as a benefit to the Film Society with the director and star Amy Schumer in attendance

New York, NY (June 23, 2015) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center presents I Found This Funny: The Comedy World of Judd Apatow, July 10-14. The five-day showcase celebrates the Emmy-winning director, producer, writer, and comedian on the occasion of the release of his latest feature, Universal Pictures’s Trainwreck, which will have its World Premiere on Tuesday, July 14 at Alice Tully Hall and serve as a benefit screening for the Film Society, with Apatow and cast in attendance. Tickets for Members are on sale now and go on sale to the General Public on Thursday, June 25. Special VIP packages are available for purchase for the fundraiser, contact and 212-875-5620. Visit to purchase tickets, and for more information.

Florence Almozini, Associate Director of Programming said: “Thankfully it is no longer controversial to suggest that Judd Apatow is a major artist, but nevertheless, the opportunity to show his endlessly influential body of work—all of the films he has directed and some of the most essential films he has produced—mostly on 35mm (his preferred format!) is really special. His films are as moving as they are hilarious, and having Judd on hand to place his work in context will be a can’t-miss experience.”

Comedy auteur and architect of the “slacker-striver romance” subgenre, Judd Apatow has a style that is both consistent and immediately recognizable, whether as a writer, director, producer, or all of the above. A stand-up comic in high school, Apatow enrolled in the screenwriting program at the University of Southern California and was soon a co-creator and executive producer of The Ben Stiller Show, sharing an Emmy for writing. His five-year stint on The Larry Sanders Showbrought him his first directing credit and an assured grasp of character-based comedy.

He then developed Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, two of the most beloved cult television series in recent memory, and in the process assembled what would become his stock company. After a decade of producing films (including Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), he became a household name with The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, as well as a slew of other hits he produced: Superbad, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and HBO’s Girls, all of which instantly joined the ranks of the past decade’s key pop-cultural objects.

Apatow asserts his belief in romantic fidelity despite the protestations of many of his characters, and his frequent collaboration with friends—nine projects with Paul Rudd, eight with Seth Rogen, seven with Jonah Hill—give the impression of a joyful, laidback cottage industry. Apatow cites John Cassavetes and Hal Ashby as favorite filmmakers, influences that surface in his masterful use of improvisation and his obvious fondness for his characters, flawed and immature though they may be.

Tickets for I Found This Funny: The Comedy World of Judd Apatow go on sale at noon today to Members, and to the General Public on Thursday, June 25. Single screening tickets are $7 for Members/Students/Seniors and $10 for the General Public. Several events include special pricing: An Evening with Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham, $25 for Members and $35 for General Public; the World Premiere of Trainwreck, $50 for Members and $75 for General Public; and take advantage of special Double Feature pricing for Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek or Funny People and This Is 40, just $10 for both films! The Freaks and Geeks marathon will be FREE to the public and tickets will be distributed at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center box office on a first-come, first-served bases starting one hour prior. Limit one ticket per person, subject to availability.

*All screenings and events will take place at the Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam), unless otherwise noted

An Evening with Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham
We are delighted to have comedy auteur Judd Apatow sit down with his most celebrated protégé, Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO’s Girls. Apatow approached Dunham after seeing her 2010 feature-length debut, Tiny Furniture, to develop her acerbic sensibility into a serialized format. Dunham’s portrayal of modern life in NYC is characterized by her ability to reassemble her characters from disastrous personal and professional decisions, and in many ways Girls is the post-graduate successor to Apatow’s patented television portraits of arrested development (Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared), which never got to see life past their initial seasons. Join us for what is sure to be a fascinating and hilarious discussion between these two collaborators and pop-culture luminaries.
Monday, July 13, 8:00pm

The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Judd Apatow, USA, 2005, 35mm, 116m
Daily Show correspondent Steve Carell received his first starring with Andy Stitzer, an electronics-store drone approaching middle age with a vast collection of action figures and no social life to speak of. When his co-workers (including Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, in his breakout role) discover he’s been celibate all his life, they resolve to end the dry spell right away. Between disastrous fix-ups and attempts at self-improvement (including a hilariously unfeigned chest-waxing), Andy embarks on a timid courtship with a divorced eBay merchant (Catherine Keener). Apatow’s directorial debut, co-written by Carell, was a surprise box-office smash and was named one of the best films of the year by AFI (the only comedy on the list).
Friday, July 10, 7:00pm

Being There
Hal Ashby, USA, 1979, 35mm, 130m
“I like to watch.” Such is the mantra of Chance (Peter Sellers), a simple-minded guy who’s led a sheltered life on the Washington D.C. estate of a wealthy old man, tending his garden and gleaning all he knows from television. When his protector dies, he’s released into a society he’s ill-equipped to navigate (he’s surprised that threatening people don’t disappear when he clicks his remote at them). Soon Chance the gardener is mistaken for sage “Chauncey Gardiner,” as his horticultural truisms are read as allegories for economic trends (“As long as the roots are not severed, all is well”)—becoming a media darling and confidant to a dying tycoon (Oscar winner Melvyn Douglas) with the ear of the U.S. President. Sellers struggled for nearly a decade to adapt Jerzy Kosinski’s satirical novel, finding a like-minded director in Apatow favorite and acknowledged influence Hal Ashby and offering a poignant performance (in his final film to be released).
Saturday, July 11, 1:30pm

Paul Feig, USA, 2011, 35mm, 125m
The most successful production to bear Apatow’s name (no small feat), Bridesmaids was the brainchild of SNL alum Kristen Wiig, who wrote the screenplay with her Groundlings improv cohort Annie Mumolo. Wiig plays Annie, whose love life consists of periodic summons to the bed of a narcissist (unbilled Jon Hamm), and whose dreams and savings evaporated when her bakery went bankrupt. Now lifelong friend Lillian (Wiig’s SNL castmate Maya Rudolph) has asked her to be maid of honor at her wedding, but none of her plans seem to work out—and she’s outdone at every turn by competitive bridesmaid Helen (Rose Byrne). Putting a distaff spin on Apatow’s trademark crudeness-to-sentiment ratio, Bridesmaids was also the first of his films to connect with the Academy, earning nominations for Wiig and Mumolo’s script and Melissa McCarthy’s scene-stealing turn as the groom’s crass sister.
Saturday, July 11, 6:45pm

Double Feature!
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Nicholas Stoller, USA, 2008, 35mm, 111m
Between her stints as Veronica Mars and Princess Anna of Arendelle, Kristen Bell gave rise to Sarah Marshall, star of TV’sCrime Scene: Scene of the Crime. When she ends her five-year relationship with Peter (Jason Segel), who writes “mood music” for her show, the shattered composer hopes a trip to Hawaii will help him to move on with his life. As luck would have it, he winds up in the same hotel as Sarah and her new rock-star squeeze, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand, in the role that put the Brit comic on the international map). Nicholas Stoller, a writer for producer Apatow’s cult series Undeclared, directs Segel’s riotous script, which culls from personal experience—including his lifelong dream to stage a Dracula-themed puppet musical. Mila Kunis radiates charisma as the hotel concierge who takes a fancy to Peter.
Sunday, July 12, 1:15pm


Get Him to the Greek
Nicholas Stoller, USA, 2010, 35mm, 109m
Nicholas Stoller’s Apatow-produced sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall finds Russell Brand reprising his role as ridiculous English rocker Aldous Snow, who has hit rock bottom following a breakup with model/singer Jackie Q (Rose Byrne) and the calamitous reception of his record African Child. The head of Aldous’s record label, Sergio (Sean Combs, a revelation), tasks hapless A&R man Aaron (Jonah Hill), reeling from what seems to be the end of his relationship with med-student girlfriend Daphne (Elisabeth Moss), with retrieving an out-of-it Aldous from London and delivering him to the Greek Theatre in L.A. for a potentially career-revitalizing performance. Suffice it to say, numerous complications (and just as many music-industry cameos) arise to insure a chaotic, hilarious journey for this odd couple. This sorely underrated farce, as with all films and television shows associated with Apatow, has some sneakily profound things to say about friendship, loyalty, and figuring out what one wants from life.
Sunday, June 12, 3:25pm

Double Feature!
Funny People
Judd Apatow, USA, 2009, 35mm, 146m
Apatow’s former roommate Adam Sandler appears as George Simmons, star of obscenely successful Sandler-esque comedies (with titles like MerMan: “A love story that’s a little fishy”). Diagnosed with leukemia, his prospects grim, George must confront the self-serving choices that have left him friendless and alone. Suddenly contrite, he begins confiding in the young comic (Seth Rogen) he’s hired to write his jokes, and resolves to make amends with the lover he let slip away (Leslie Mann, the director’s wife). Apatow’s most mature and ambitious work engages with questions of mortality and acutely portrays the lifestyle and temperament of comedians (with many noted comics playing themselves). The stars wrote their own stand-up material, and Apatow and Mann’s children, Maude and Iris Apatow, appear as Mann’s on-screen daughters.
Sunday, July 12, 5:45pm


This Is 40
Judd Apatow, USA, 2012, 35mm, 134m
Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann), the in-laws whose marital strife formed the counterpoint in Knocked Up, face midlife turmoil in Apatow’s fourth and arguably most personal feature. The titular age sees the long-married couple tackling personal and professional hardships: his record label is barely solvent due to his unbending artistic ideals, and one of the two junior employees at her boutique (Megan Fox) is clearly embezzling money. Added to the stew are their strained relationships with their fathers (memorably played by Albert Brooks and John Lithgow), spousal tensions, and Debbie’s discovery that she’s pregnant. Apatow and Mann’s children Maude and Iris Apatow return as Pete and Debbie’s two daughters, now aged 13 and 8, and Apatow regulars Jason Segel, Chris O’Dowd, Charlyne Yi, and Melissa McCarthy contribute their distinctive comedic flavors.
Sunday, July 12, 8:30pm

Knocked Up
Judd Apatow, USA, 2007, 35mm, 129m
Conceived as a follow-up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin starring the ensemble that formed Andy’s Greek chorus, Apatow’s second feature introduced new characters but retained his burgeoning stock company. Seth Rogen takes the lead as Ben Stone, perhaps the prototypical Apatow hero—a likeable stoner sharing vague entrepreneurial dreams with his equally shiftless roommates (played by Jonah Hill and Freaks and Geeks veterans Jason Segel and Martin Starr). When a one-night stand with a career woman (Katherine Heigl) results in unplanned pregnancy, Ben must decide if he’s willing and able to accept responsibility. Gleaning many details from the pregnancy of Apatow’s wife Leslie Mann, who appears as Heigl’s sister (with their two daughters playing Mann’s children), Knocked Up was named “an instant classic” by The New York Times.
Saturday, July 11, 4:00pm

The Last Detail
Hal Ashby, USA, 1973, DCP, 104m
Naval petty officers “Badass” Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned to escort 18-year-old seaman Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) to a naval prison, where he’ll serve eight years for stealing $40 from his Admiral’s wife’s charity. Taking a shine to the luckless lad, the two career sailors decide to show him a good time in the major cities between Virginia and New Hampshire. Notable for Robert Towne’s foul-mouthed screenplay, which held the record for expletives in the callow pre-Tarantino days—Columbia Pictures stalled production for years hoping Towne would clean up the language. Nicholson’s zesty performance won Best Actor at Cannes; he, Quaid, and Towne received Oscar nods; and Andrew Sarris praised Hal Ashby’s “sensitive, precise direction.” Look fast for Gilda Radner as a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist in her movie debut. Echoes of this New Hollywood classic resound throughout Apatow’s films.
Friday, July 10, 4:30pm

Pineapple Express
David Gordon Green, USA, 2008, DCP, 111m
Freaks and Geeks co-stars Seth Rogen and James Franco are reunited as process server/perpetual stoner Dale and his emotionally needy drug connection Saul. When Dale leaves a joint at a murder scene containing the rare titular marijuana strain, the hapless pair find themselves in very grave danger. Rogen intended to play the more flamboyant role of Saul, the good-natured slacker who deals weed to provide for his Bubbe, but producer Apatow suggested Franco, whose comic chops netted him a Golden Globe nomination. The film also marked the comedy debut of director David Gordon Green, who made his name with acclaimed indie dramas like George Washington and All the Real Girls. More than the aimless farce it portends to be, the film contains startling bursts of violence and against-type work from Gary Cole (Office Space) as a drug lord and Rosie Perez as a dirty cop, and a show-stealing turn by Danny McBride.
Saturday, July 11, 9:15pm

Greg Mottola, USA, 2007, DCP, 113m
The end result of a script begun by Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg when the pair were 13, Superbad was meant to star Rogen as the more outgoing half of a pair of high-school misfits. With three weeks left in the school year, the two inseparable friends face all manner of unfinished business before college plans drive them apart—most urgently, the hoped-for consummation of their respective crushes. By the time financing came through for the project (with Apatow producing), Rogen had aged out of the lead role, but the two antiheroes retain the names “Seth” and “Evan.” Borrowing fromAmerican Graffiti, Dazed and Confused, and American Pie but staking its own claim in the coming-of-age sweepstakes, Superbad offered important career stepping stones for stars Michael Cera and Jonah Hill and marked the feature-film debuts of Emma Stone and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (as “McLovin”).
Friday, July 10, 9:30pm

World Premiere Benefit Screening!
Judd Apatow, USA, 2015, DCP, 122m
In many ways an inaugural film for Apatow: his first time directing another writer’s script, his first film set on the East Coast, and, most significantly, his first directorial effort with a female protagonist. The acclaimed stand-up comic and eponymous star of the sketch-comedy series Inside Amy Schumer plays the titular mess, taught by her father (Colin Quinn) to eschew relationships and cherish her freedom. Now she’s an intimacy-averse adult, writing for Maxim-like S’nuff Magazine and flitting between one-night stands to the exasperation of her sister (Brie Larson). But when she’s assigned to profile Aaron (Bill Hader), who performs reconstructive surgery on pro athletes, she faces the frightening possibility of long-term commitment. Schumer’s feature-starring and screenwriting debut is a return to comic form for Apatow after recent sojourns into more somber territory. Repeat collaborator Hader is joined by many new faces, including Tilda Swinton, centenarian Hitchcock vet Norman Lloyd, and LeBron James in a deft comic turn as himself. A Universal Pictures release.
Tuesday, July 14, 7:30pm
*Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway (at 65th Street)
*For information on special packages for the event, contact and 212-875-5620.

Freaks and Geeks Marathon – FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
Though it was canceled by NBC in 2000 before the completion of its lone season, frequent Apatow collaborator Paul Feig’s series—executive-produced by Apatow and featuring many of the performers (Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, Martin Starr) who would go on to comprise his stock company—has become one of the key texts of recent pop culture. The show’s rabid following has only increased in the years since its cancellation, and it now ranks among the most beloved television series of all time. Simply put, few works of art have captured the uncertainty, frustration, and absurdity of the American high-school experience with so much sophistication, honesty, and sweetness, wondrously embodied by its sibling protagonists, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and Sam Weir (John Francis Daley). The Film Society is pleased to present every episode of Freak and Geeks in our Amphitheater.
Saturday, July 11, 3:00pm (Episodes 1-9)*
Sunday, July 12, 3:00pm (Episodes 10-18)*
*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street

Founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international cinema, the Film Society of Lincoln Center works to recognize established and emerging filmmakers, support important new work, and to enhance the awareness, accessibility, and understanding of the moving image. The Film Society produces the renowned New York Film Festival, a curated selection of the year’s most significant new film work, and presents or collaborates on other annual New York City festivals including Dance on Camera, Film Comment Selects, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York African Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, New York Jewish Film Festival, Open Roads: New Italian Cinema and Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. In addition to publishing the award-winning Film Comment magazine, the Film Society recognizes an artist’s unique achievement in film with the prestigious Chaplin Award, whose 2015 recipient was Robert Redford. The Film Society’s state-of-the-art Walter Reade Theater and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, located at Lincoln Center, provide a home for year-round programs and the New York City film community.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from American Airlines, The New York Times, HBO, Stella Artois, The Kobal Collection, Variety, Trump International Hotel and Tower, RowNYC, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, visit and follow @filmlinc on Twitter.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon