Film & TV

Judd's Journey

Judd Apatow

Lesson time 17:35 min

Judd shares stories and lessons from a lifetime in comedy. Hear how he fell in love with comedy, interviewed his childhood idols, and went from washing dishes to making Hollywood hits.

Judd Apatow
Teaches Comedy
Judd Apatow teaches you how to write, direct, produce, and perform comedy for film and television.
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When I was very young I was small. I was a-- a year behind. I was born in December but back then, you didn't know that one of the reasons why you felt smaller and terrible at sports was because you actually were smaller and you were younger. For some reason my mom wanted me to be, I guess not a grade ahead, but I should have been a grade behind. So I graduated from high school when I was 17. And as a result, I just felt smaller and other and insecure. And that got built in me in some way. And I think it-- as I look back, it had a big effect on me. And growing up in a culture of athletics I think I spent a lot of my childhood alone because people were playing sports. I was picked last in gym class and it made me angry. And I think, how that connected to comedy for me was, I thought this system is fucked. And I became obsessed with the Marx brothers because the Marx brothers basically made fun of handsome people and the beautiful people in their gowns and their tuxedos and they were the lunatics cleaning their feet in the lemonade cart. And they said all of these rules that are set up are bullshit. And they mocked, you know, high society. They mocked government. They just said, you should question everything. And for some reason as a kid, that's who I related to. And I didn't know what it meant. But I think in a way people who get involved in comedy are upset about something. I think they have an issue where the world doesn't make sense and they're looking for answers. And comedy is a great way to try to figure out how the world works and how you feel about it. It's a great way to be critical of it. It's a great way to survive it. And for me it started with the Marx brothers. But I was a person searching for answers and I do believe that that's a lot of what comedy is about. That led, for me, to listening to George Carlin albums and Lenny Bruce albums. And then that interest in researching comedy led me to reading the book, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenny Bruce," when I was in eighth grade. That was the first time I-- I-- I read about someone who was a comic mind and was living a very dangerous lifestyle. And as a little kid I was fascinated by it. This idea that he was standing up for freedom of speech. At the same time, he was a drug addict. He was married to a-- a former, or current, stripper. He was a very complicated, incredible, hilarious person. And that started my fascination with knowing a lot about comedians, how they work, and what their lives are like. So in some ways I always felt like all this reading and watching was programming me for my eventual attempt to create my own comedy. When I was in the end of junior high school my parents got divorced. And it was a very painful divorce. They fought, literally from 8th grade till I was in college. You know, it was one of the situations where it never got settled. It never calmed down. And my mom moved out. And my parents had owned a restaurant. And the owner of ...

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.

Judd is highly entertaining, extremely articulate and very informative. Lots of super pratical advice for how to craft comedy and steer your career. A very, very good course.

I confess that I have watched this class for "info-tainment". I love to learn new things, I get BORED with most of the so-called entertainment. I LOVED this class. I am inspired to hang out with comedians. I will probably end up as comedy fodder, but I don't care.

Excellent course, covered several topics I wanted to learn more about.

I learned to write more, which will consequently get me to write better. Any idea can become something, so I will keep trying to piece everything together!


Patrick M.

Ignore my last comment. I plan to do better in my next comment..... I mean, the one after this one.

Patrick M.

'People who get involved in comedy are upset about something'... ha, ha, ha


I think it is interesting that the great comedians always refer to the Marx brothers and Lenny Bruce. Interviewing the comedians when they are not doing their act helps one get to the roots of their method and how they come up with their material.

A fellow student

Loved it.. been looking hard for someone to understand me and my situation in choosing career paths.. Thanks Judd for enabling me to continue in my refusal to work a full time job that sucks my time and soul.

Amadeus M.

Okay, but that's kind of iconic that you kept most of them. Sick In The Head was such a great read and getting more backstory on your time interviewing other comedians is a real bonus.

Dom L.

The amount of relation is unaccountable. Although I have nothing to prove over PDF, Word docs. Myspace Etc. I truly wish I had a chance to include my voice towards your own art. For now, I am creating my own. Grassyass!!

James M.

awesome really enjoying this course and really good that the afflication of peeing with a boner or BONK ON in the UK is finally being brought into mainstream media.

Rafi F.

It was great to hear about how you figured out your path to a career in comedy; that is definitely something I have struggled with. What originally was my day job to keep the bills paid until I could work in comedy has become something that has taken most of my time and effort, leaving me almost none to pursue anything creative as I would like to.

Maggie A.

An inspirational and beautiful story about hearing the calling and getting started. It's easy to look at you now and think "I'll never make it to that success level" BUT even just this glimpse into your life as a regular person makes it seem that much more likely. I fell like you're speaking RIGHT to me.

Meghan B.

Great to hear who inspires you and your work. Growing up, I would watch Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kristin Wiig and so many others on SNL. They are all so smart, funny and talented in their craft. Would love to collaborate with one of them some day.