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Q&A With Judd Apatow

The writer/director talks about his new movie, his favorite humor, and 826LA.

Do you make a point to eat healthy foods?

I eat a lot better and stay away from fried foods. I eat a lot of vegetables and very little meat.

Do you have any guilty pleasure foods?

Chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. Those times when I give in to temptation, I can really do some damage.

Do you have a fitness routine that you stick to?

I do Pilates a few times a week and use an elliptical machine four times a week, and sometimes I play some tennis.

Where did you go for your last vacation?

Italy.

You work with and help support 826LA to foster writing skills and creativity among young kids and teens. Why is that work so important to you?

826LA is a free a tutoring center for help with kids’ English homework. It’s also a place that helps them discover creative writing and figure out who they are. Creative writing did that for me. It saved my life. I want to support that for other kids, and what makes this place so great is that kids are getting these lessons from people who really care about them.

What’s one lesson that every young writer should learn?

The down/up theory, meaning write it down first, then clean it up. I sometimes do what I call a vomit pass, where I don’t edit myself at all as I write. You have to give yourself permission to fail. Learn to turn off your inner editor and just write.

Who were your mentors when you started out as a comedian and writer?

I had an English teacher in 10th grade who said my writing was good enough to make a living from, said it was funny like Woody Allen. Most of my other teachers didn’t get my jokes and thought I was really annoying.

Do you ever find it hard to turn off the comedian in you?

I have trouble turning it on. I’d much rather be watching Breaking Amish than working. Sometimes I think of jokes, but then I’m too lazy to say them out loud.

Is there anything that you will not joke about?

You can joke about anything if your heart is in the right place. If it’s positive, it can be about anything. One thing I don’t like, though, is mean humor. Of course, it’s a personal, subjective vision of what defines mean.

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Reviewed on October 12, 2012

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