Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE A.V. CLUB • Includes new interviews!

From the writer and director of Knocked Up and the producer of Freaks and Geeks comes a collection of intimate, hilarious conversations with the biggest names in comedy from the past thirty years—including Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman, Harold Ramis, Seth Rogen, Chris Rock, and Lena Dunham.

Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. At fifteen, he took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club—just so he could watch endless stand-up for free. At sixteen, he was hosting a show for his local high school radio station in Syosset, Long Island—a show that consisted of Q&As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. They talked about their careers, the science of a good joke, and their dreams of future glory (turns out, Shandling was interested in having his own TV show one day and Steve Allen had already invented everything).

Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd—and he’s still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do.

Sick in the Head
gathers Apatow’s most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging, and incredibly candid collection that spans not only his career but his entire adult life. Here are the comedy legends who inspired and shaped him, from Mel Brooks to Steve Martin. Here are the contemporaries he grew up with in Hollywood, from Spike Jonze to Sarah Silverman. And here, finally, are the brightest stars in comedy today, many of whom Apatow has been fortunate to work with, from Seth Rogen to Amy Schumer. And along the way, something kind of magical happens: What started as a lifetime’s worth of conversations about comedy becomes something else entirely. It becomes an exploration of creativity, ambition, neediness, generosity, spirituality, and the joy that comes from making people laugh.

Loaded with the kind of back-of-the-club stories that comics tell one another when no one else is watching, this fascinating, personal (and borderline-obsessive) book is Judd Apatow’s gift to comedy nerds everywhere.

Praise for Sick in the Head

“I can’t stop reading it. . . . I don’t want this book to end.”—Jimmy Fallon

“An essential for any comedy geek.”Entertainment Weekly

“Fascinating . . . a collection of interviews with many of the great figures of comedy in the latter half of the twentieth century.”—The Washington Post

“Open this book anywhere, and you’re bound to find some interesting nugget from someone who has had you in stitches many, many times.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“An amazing read, full of insights and connections both creative and interpersonal.”The New Yorker

“Fascinating and revelatory.”—Chicago Tribune

“Anyone even remotely interested in comedy or humanity should own this book.”—Will Ferrell
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About the author

Judd Apatow is one of the most important comic minds of his generation. He wrote and directed the films The 40-Year-Old Virgin (co-written with Steve Carell), Knocked Up, Funny People, and This Is 40, and his producing credits include Superbad, Bridesmaids, and Anchorman. Apatow is the executive producer of HBO’s Girls. He was also the executive producer of Freaks and Geeks, created Undeclared, and co-created the Emmy Award–winning television program The Ben Stiller Show. His latest film is Trainwreck. He was also the editor of the collection I Found This Funny. Judd Apatow lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Leslie Mann, and their two daughters, Maude and Iris.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Jun 16, 2015
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Pages
576
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ISBN
9780812997583
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Language
English
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Genres
Humor / Form / Anecdotes & Quotations
Performing Arts / Comedy
Performing Arts / Film / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Public figures as you rarely if ever hear them: strikingly personal, surprisingly open, and profoundly emotional."
— Entertainment Weekly

"I’m British, so I’m medically dead inside, but even I can’t help but open up whenever I talk to Marc. He uses his honestly like a scalpel, cutting himself open in front of anyone he’s talking to, and in doing so, invites you to do the same."
—John Oliver

From the beloved and wildly popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron comes a book of intimate, hilarious and life changing conversations with some of the funniest, and most important people in the world like you’ve never heard them before. Waiting for the Punch features the stories and thoughts of such luminaries as Amy Schumer, Mel Brooks, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Sir Ian McKellen, Lorne Michels, Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham, Jimmy Fallon, RuPaul, Louis CK, David Sedaris, Bruce Springsteen, and President Obama.

This book is not simply a collection of these interviews, but instead something more wondrous: a running narrative of the world’s most recognizable names working through the problems, doubts, joys, triumphs, and failures we all experience. With each chapter covering a different topic: parenting, childhood, relationships, sexuality, success, failures and others, Punch becomes a sort of everyman’s guide to life. Barack Obama candidly discusses the challenges of the presidency, and the bittersweet moments of seeing your children grow up. Amy Schumer recounts the pain of her parents’ divorce. Molly Shannon uproariously remembers the time she and her best friend hopped a plane from Ohio to New York City when they were twelve on a dare. Amy Poehler dishes on why just because you become a parent doesn’t mean you have to like anybody else’s kids but your own. Bruce Springsteen expounds on the dual nature of desperation to both motivate and devastate.

Full of stories that are at once laugh-out loud funny, heartbreakingly honest, joyous, tragic and powerful, Waiting for the Punch is a book to be read from cover to cover, but it is also one to return to again and again.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “[Kaling is] like Tina Fey’s cool little sister. Or perhaps . . . the next Nora Ephron.”—The New York Times
 
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?” 
 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
 
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.
 
Praise for Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
 
“Where have you been all our lives, Mindy?”—Glamour
 
“Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Mindy Kaling? . . . [Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?] is like a mash note to comedy nerds.”—Time Out New York
 
“Very funny.”—Boston Globe
 
“Like listening to a likably gabby friend chatter happily over generously poured glasses of red wine.”—Washington Post
 
“[Kaling’s] comedic chops certainly shine throughout the book—as if we need more proof of her talent.”—HuffPost
 
“Kaling doles out neurotic charm and hilarious every-woman musings.”—Elle
From Judd Apatow comes an intimate portrait of his mentor, the legendary stand-up comic and star of The Larry Sanders Show, with never-before-seen journal entries and photos, as well as new contributions by fellow comedians and writers.

Garry Shandling was a singular trailblazer in the comedy world. His two hit shows, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show, broke new ground and influenced future sitcoms like 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and his stand-up laid the foundation for a whole new generation of comics. There’s no one better to tell Shandling’s story than Judd Apatow—Shandling gave Apatow one of his first jobs and remained his mentor for the rest of his life—and the book expands on Apatow’s Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary, The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling.

Here, Apatow has gathered journal entries, photographs, and essays for a close-up look at the artist who turned his gaze back onto the world of show business. Beyond his success, though, Shandling struggled with fame, the industry of art, and the childhood loss of his brother, which forever affected his personal and professional lives. His diaries show Shandling to be self-aware and insightful, revealing a deep philosophical and spiritual side. Contributions by comedians and other leading lights of the industry, as well as people who grew up with Shandling, along with never-before-seen pieces of scripts and brilliant jokes that he never performed, shed new light on every facet of his life and work. This book is the final word on the lasting impact of the great Garry Shandling.
The riveting, mega-bestselling, beloved and highly acclaimed memoir of a man, a vocation, and an era named one of the ten best nonfiction titles of the year by Time and Entertainment Weekly.

In the mid-seventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of “why I did stand-up and why I walked away.”

Emmy and Grammy Award–winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written.

At age ten Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes.

Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline, and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times—the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies.

Throughout the text, Martin has placed photographs, many never seen before. Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time.
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