Much like the Blackhawks when they quickly usurped a chair at the NHL’s big boy table a few years ago with “novel” concepts like speed and depth, Judd Apatow had done so in the comedy world a few years prior with dick and fart comedies with “heart”. And much like the Hawks, Apatow’s sustained run of success has left most outside observers just worn out and anxious for something different yet again.
While the bearded Apatow’s successes may be recent, he spent a long time honing his craft, where he (in)famously started out his career as a standup as Adam Sandler’s roommate. From there Apatow moved behind the scenes, writing Heavyweights and serving as a writer and producer on The Larry Sanders Show.
It was at the turn of the millennium that Apatow had two short lived but still beloved projects in Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared, which can be credited for launching the careers of James Franco, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogen among others. Both of those shows were cancelled due to low ratings despite critical acclaim and a cultist following, and Apatow continued to get work, producing and even getting a very graphic and vocal cameo in Anchorman before his biggest breaks in The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up.
And though his latter work has become a bit self indulgent (This Is Rich, White 40 anyone?) and his “brand” of quasi-improvisational comedy and acolytes have reached a saturation point, that still doesn’t take away from just how consistently hilarious nearly all of his output was for a good five-to-seven year stretch. Neither does the drop in quality detract from his beard, which has remained full even during some of his recent misses. The one hope is that this series doesn’t play out like an Apatow movie and completely overstay its welcome and fail to wrap things up in a timely manner.