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Arts & Entertainment

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 explains things well and is really inspiring by breaking down his backstory and his process. His class is perfect for anyone who has a passion for not only comedy but also good, human storytelling.

Judd was very entertaining, witty and informative. I loved the insight he gave into his work ethic and process.

I thought this class helped me a alot And I really felt comfortable and connected to this class I would recommend it to people who need improving

This was such a helpful class. More than anything, Judd Apatow made it seem possible to succeed in an industry where success is often elusive. He made it clear that if you have talent, you're willing to work hard, and you continue to hone your skills and gain experience, there is a place for you in your desired comedy career. I felt extremely encouraged to start writing by the end of this class.


A fellow student

I love that he used his interviewing show as a way to just get closer to comedians he looked up to and wanted to get their advice. It shows me that listening to your gut instincts is important. Listen to the little nudges inside you that crave something and find a way to make it happen. It can lead you to something, that will lead you to something else, and so on and so on. Love hearing from one of the greats.

Rakel C.

Which is the movie or serie Taxi that Apatow mentions? Help, please. Wanna watch it!

Pradeep P.

This lesson tells me that people that do comedy could have had difficult lives and they do comedy despite such situations. Being in the company that does comedy helps in being comedic!! Judd has an authentic way of communicating and liked this lesson.

Alan, G.

Interesting lesson. I have always wanted to speak to certain famous people to get to know the real people behind the job and the work life, to understand more the human side and development process rather than just the finished product, so thank you Judd for pointing this process of yours here. Its something I have struggled with. Still working on creating/finding my path

Steve M.

Judd, your experiences as a 16 year old alone are totally unique to your development as a comedic powerhouse. Imagine how far one would get today trying to get an interview for say a podcast with any notable comedic star. I am beginning to realize more and more that randomization and luck are really the force behind greatness. The genius is knowing when and how to take advantage of it.

Lemon B.

This video lesson was refreshing for me to hear Judd's story again from this perspective. I started studying comedy over a few years ago starting with Improv and slowly working up the courage to try Stand-up. The former defiantly worked out much more for me than the latter. My main issue being how to write a joke, the mechanics of the punchline specifically. This is what I'd like to learn form this class as well as how to find the passion that I once had for the art of performing comedy in front of strangers.


a lot of homework, and i feel burned out. any funny but good words for me?

Joel R.

I think people who try to be funny work to hard at it, there's humor right in front of your face sometimes. I like the simplicity in naturally funny people/situations.


"comedians are obssess with some idea orsomething, wnat to figure it out" how do you remain calm when int he thought process some of the thinking hit some core thought ?

Patrick M.

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