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Arts & Entertainment


Judd Apatow

Lesson time 04:28 min

Judd ends his class with some parting advice: Take a risk, find the courage to express yourself, and start writing jokes—because he’s not going to write them for you.

Judd Apatow
Teaches Comedy
Judd Apatow teaches you how to write, direct, produce, and perform comedy for film and television.
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In this day and age, in this internet era, there really is no reason to not make things, because you can afford to make things. There's also a way for people to see things. And it used to be that if you had a short you made, there wasn't really a way to get it in front of people, or it was a huge pain in the ass to get people to watch it. So, for instance, when Ben Stiller was young, he did a Broadway show. And he was working with John Mahoney. And he made a funny comedy short with his own money, and it was a parody of Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money, and instead of being about pool it was about bowling hustlers. Now, nobody knew who Ben was at the time, so he had no way to really get it to people. So what he did is he waited in the lobby at NBC for anyone who worked Saturday Night Live to walk by. And then one day, Jon Lovitz was walking by. And he walked up to Jon Lovitz, and he said, hey, I made this short film. Would you show this to Lorne? And he said, OK. You know what I would have said? No. I don't want to get sued. I don't know who you are. There could be anthrax on this. But Jon Levitz, he did. He brought it upstairs, and showed people, and it got to Lorne. And they called Ben, and they said, OK, we're going to air it this Saturday. You need to come here and trim a little time out of it. And Ben trimmed some time out. They aired it on Saturday Night Live. And at some point later, they asked him to join the cast. And-- and that's how he got his foot in that particular door. These days, you could make a short, put it on Funny or Die, who I work with, or on YouTube, or Vimeo, and send somebody a link. So now it's much easier. You don't have to get them to open the mail, and look at the tape, and you know, it's all very simple. And making a short doesn't cost that much money. You can find a way to make it cost money, but it doesn't have to cost money. And all you really need do get someone to do is click on a link to see it. There's a few things I've done that I think have been helpful. You know, one is, I worked very hard, and I cared a lot, and I-- I love comedy more than anything, and-- and so I have a great passion for it. And I think that is one of the reasons why my career has gone reasonably well, is because I want to challenge myself. I want to grow. I'd like to figure out what else I can do that I haven't done before. So I certainly encourage people to take that risk, and find the courage to sit down and express yourself fully, and believe in your ability to pull something like that off. Because if you don't have the courage to do it, you're never going to just make Swingers with your friends, or Clerks, or Tiny Furniture. It does require a massive leap into the unknown. And there will never be a logical reason to do it, other than madness. All right. You've done it. You've finished my MasterClass. Now go sit your ass down and write a goddamn joke. Nothing happens if you don't write that ...

Get serious about comedy

No joke: at age 15, Judd Apatow took a dishwashing job at a comedy club to watch the acts. Today, he’s the comedic genius behind hits including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, and Freaks and Geeks. In his first-ever online comedy class, the Emmy Award winner teaches you how to create hilarious storylines, write great stand-up, and direct movies that leave audiences laughing.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I loved the Judd Apatow Master Class. Although I am not as interested in directing as I am in writing, I found his lessons on directing to be very informative and helpful.

Judd explains comedy in an approachable way and helped me learn to base my comedy in reality.

It helped me in the way that I could confirm my own theories about both, the joke writing process, and some of what it takes to actually make it in show bussiness, the latter being highly linked to self-knowledge.

Stand-Up pointers, knowing what's funny is funny and Apatow's quirks, make a very nice dish to savor.


Bruno F.

Judd`s so hilarious he`s made me cry. I thank him for changing my life. Again and, at least, until next Masterteacher!

A fellow student

Ive gone to screenwriting school in college and this was better than most my years combined. Honest and helpful.

Mico H.

Really enjoyed this. liked the straight to the point talk and encouragement. I think my issue is I'm a really good supporting writer but I'm not so good a creating a whole script. In order to get to the point of writing in a team you have to submit full scripts. I'm in creativity limbo.

Frances A. C.

What does a Retired Army Medical recall for Covid-19 do while on mandatory 14-day quarantine in Bandeira de Alemaña Germany? Watch and learn from the Judd Apatow comedy Masterclass! I love his approach to a collaborative working environment in both performance and production, especially his oppeness to improv. Valuable lessons learned to help me with polishing my romantic comedy. It would be awesome to sit in with his team, including Leslie Mann, and table read my script :-). Opportunity knocks. #WomenWarriorsWrite.


whenever he made a joke during these masterclasses, I felt like there was nobody laughing at them, wish he could hear me laugh

Dan F.

I once heard of a comedian that taught his comedy class that none of them will ever be funny, because funny people don't take classes. So, I didn't want to take this course. I'm glad that Judd took the time to separate the part of the plot from the joke, and then separate the setup from the punchline and try out a bunch of jokes to guarantee the bit will work. Systems aren't funny, but they make funny jokes funnier. Also, it's great to hear that he gives creativity space to make 100 side jokes and narrow it down to the 8 or 20 in a movie.

Stephen L.

I enjoyed the practical advice and the realities of the business. I think the discussion on your day job is important. If you work in the business, you may not give you the time to create your own material.

Scott O.

I just signed up for Master Classes, and I could have chosen any number of fantastically-talented, richly-accomplished, writers, comedians or film-makers for my first class. I chose Judd Apatow instead. It's not that I'm addicted to regret. I can quit anytime. Judd forced me to confront the man I could be and to tell that man that he's a big, fat bully, and that he should get off my torso. I can't breathe. It's why, even now, I'm holding back the really existentially-funny things I could write here. That's just not who I am...yet. So I wrote this. On behalf of my unrealized potential, thanks, Mr. Apatow. Your lessons filled me with hope that the rest of the Master Classes can only get better.

A fellow student

My focus is on writing comedy so much of this lesson doesn't apply to me. However, I truly appreciated his focus on understanding and working through your uneven material to get it right.

Tamara Q.

This is simply a terrific, engaging, and entertaining, look into the world of creating comedy material. Judd Apatow offers incredible insights through his gift of storytelling. Really enjoyed it!