Tuesday, September 26

Apatow entertains with award acceptance

“Don’t you all have finals?” Judd Apatow asked the packed house in Royce Hall, and the crowd tittered.

Although the Jack Benny Award presentation took place in the middle of the day during the first day of 10th week, few people in line seemed worried.

“I have my last film class at one, and we’re watching a movie I have to talk about for my final paper,” said fourth-year English student Kevin Sanders. “Oh well, screw it!”

The presentation began with a tribute to Benny, including a brief biography and clips of his work in radio and television. As the lights came up again, Joanne Lin, Campus Events commissioner, spoke about Apatow’s work, emphasizing the morality of his films, often lacking in other comedies, as well as his embrace of characters outside of the norm.

Then Royce Hall darkened again, and the crowd clapped wildly in anticipation of the montage of Apatow’s work. The clips ranged from earlier works such as “Freaks and Geeks” to the most recent, “Get Him to the Greek.”

Benny’s grandson, Michael Rudolph, presented the award to Apatow. After berating everyone for being there instead of studying, Apatow immediately switched on the self-deprecation, describing how the letter describing this award asked him to choose any time to accept it, a time frame of April 2 to June 7.

“The letter came March 28,” Apatow said. “I was not their first choice. If you give two to three weeks for every rejection, they probably could fit in eight rejections before they got to me.”

Knowing his audience well, he pandered to the crowd of Bruins by mocking his alma mater of a year and a half, USC.

“It was scary over there,” he said amid hoots. “I literally heard someone get shot. And then I literally heard the guy say “˜ow’ after he got shot.”

His acceptance speech was by turns irreverent and filled with gratitude, as he thanked his family and expressed his admiration for the award, displaying the unique mix of crudeness and heart that has become the trademark of his films.

As the Q-and-A session began, actor Jason Segel asked Apatow questions, but the time felt more like a trip down memory lane for the two longtime friends.

“I didn’t go to college to work for you,” Segel said, describing how Apatow plucked many of his actors out of high school and college.

At this, Apatow explained away part of the reason why his comedy gang seems to recur so frequently in his work.

“It’s not healthy to feel responsible for these kids until their deaths,” Apatow said. “I had to keep these kids working.”

Hilarity ensued as the two described the filming of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and its most infamous sequences.

“Jason felt it was important to be half-aroused but not quite, so you can imagine how awkward it was to wait for him to get aroused, and then have it wear off in order to shoot it,” Apatow said as the audience roared.

And so the jokes continued, as the audience watched the two reminisce and riff off of one another, such as when Apatow described Segel’s appeal in his being “kind of handsome, but not quite,” earning a mock thumbs-up from Segel.

The event ended with a standing ovation from the crowd.

“It was really funny to see,” said first-year electrical engineering student Michael Haley. “They seem so big, but in the end, they’re just regular guys.”

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