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Arts & Entertainment

The Evolution of a Scene: Knocked Up

Judd Apatow

Lesson time 9:38 min

A lot can change between the script and the screen. In this lesson, Judd takes a detailed look at a scene fromKnocked Upand shows how he and his actors brought his words to life. (Bonus: You also get his Seth Rogen impression.)

Judd Apatow
Teaches Comedy
Judd Apatow teaches you how to write, direct, produce, and perform comedy for film and television.
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What we're going to do now is look at an example of how a scene changes from a draft to its final version. So this is a scene in Knocked Up, and it's the scene where Seth and Katherine are having dinner and she tells him that she's pregnant. So I'm going to read to you what the script is and then what it became. So in this earlier draft, it says, Ben, I brought you here to tell you something. I think I'm pregnant. And Ben says, sweet. I guess congratulations are in order. And she says, it's yours. And he says, what? And she says, you are the father. And he says, what the fuck? How did this happen? I don't know. Are you sure it's mine? Yes. I don't do it that often. Well, you did it with me after like five fucking seconds and I'm not even that good looking. How could this happen? I don't know. I thought you wore a condom. I was going to but you told me not to. That's not true. Yes, I was putting the condom on and then you kept pushing me to hurry up and then you said, just do it already. I didn't mean just do it without a condom. I just meant hurry up. Well, you didn't stop me. I was so drunk I couldn't tell that you didn't have one on. What you just thought it was the thinnest condom on earth? What, did you think I was wearing a condom made out of penis skin? So that's the draft from April 14th, the table read drafts. Now, I'm going to read you, with my acting skill, what that became. So I have something I really need to tell you. It's kind of why I called you here. Here it goes, I'm pregnant. Fuck off. What? What? I'm pregnant. With emotion? With a baby. You're the father. I'm the father? Yes. How the fuck could this happen? I don't know. I thought you wearing a condom. No. What? I wasn't. Why not? Because you told me not to. What are you talking about? What am I talking about? You told me not to. I did not tell you not to wear a condom. Here's what happened, OK? I'll give you a play by play of my memory. I almost had the condom on my dick. It was on the cusp. Then you said, just do it already. I didn't mean do it without a condom ALISON: I meant do it like, hurry up! Like, get fucking going! BEN: Well I assumed you were wearing a patch or a dental dam or one of those fucking butterfly-- - What the hell is a dental dam? - It's like Saran wrap. It's disgusting, OK? But I thought you had one. Why the fuck didn't you stop me once we started? - I don't know. I couldn't tell that you didn't have one on. Obviously, I was drunk. - Was your vagina drunk? Did you think it was the thinnest condom on earth I have on, I'm a fucking inventor? I mean, a dick skin condom. He hollowed out a penis and put it on. What the fuck? - And scene. He also got to see a little half Seth impression there. So what is the difference, I guess, is the question. So hopefully what you could tell from that pretty impressive stage reading ...

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.

Very funny and helpful. Will probably watch them all again.

The class helped me to separate the script from the jokes meaning to add them later Also loved it when he broke down the dialogue and characters. Take your time on the details with comedy.

I learned how to think of a joke, with a punchline first

This was fantastic. Start to finish inspiration



I'm relieved to see there are typos even in actual famous shooting scripts ahahahah!

Janet P.

I wrote a drama "Lies in the River." It's a Crash meets Contagion. I grew up in Flint and it's fiction but all the characters, in the end, find out their 'issues' are about the lead in the water. There is a scene between the male white and black cop about race. In my table read, it was intense and visceral. I then gave it to two actors in a class I teach. No direction. It was a comedy. What a lesson. I knew that if I directed it, I would shoot the scene both ways and in the end...if the movie needed more comedy I'd use it.


What I like about this scene from ‘Knocked Up’, which I thought I had seen(I saw Juno) but have not! Along with ‘This is 40’! what I liked was how the couple discusses whether Seth’s character lied, without saying “lie” or “lying”, so that’s helpful and instructive as a life lesson. Multiple cameras, too.

Negin K.

Can someone please explain Seth's line: "With emotion" I really don't get it! haha

Ralph F.

The scene in This is 40 where the little girl is losing her shit is really funny. Learning about this process of scene development is fascinating.

Jack M.

This improv approach is why Judd's films are so funny. He let's the actors run with the script!

Adonaldo A.

A nice lesson. Interesting improvising work. I think that is the whole crew goes in the same direction, goog results are achieved, like in the scene shown.


It was really interesting how Judd Apatow describes how he and the other writers combine several lines or stage the jokes for maximum effect. He clearly chooses actors that are very skilled in working in a flexible manner that bring a lot of creativity to the table. Definitely all emphasizes the power of continual revision.

Amy J.

I have my first Improv performance in a few weeks. Being that we have class in a church and been asked to keep naughty thoughts and foul language to a minimum, I am learning angles of punchlines and storytelling on another level. It is a challenge, I've been throwing illegal F bombs since I destroyed that punk that hit my brother on the playground back in elementary school. I say fuck too much in real life to ever pretend I could live without it.

Christopher S.

I always wondered how improvising works on a set. Judd's Seth Rogen impression is nearly spot on. All he needs is that grunty laugh.