last night's gig

Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen Cap Hilarious, Irreverent ‘New Yorker’ Fest

Judd Apatow: You gotta hand it to ‘im … Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The appearance of Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen was the New Yorker’s final event, the title bout, the sold-out feature presentation, a fact that Rogen and Apatow, somewhat justifiably, found hilarious. Here are two guys who are responsible for introducing the phrase “I’ll be like the Iron Chef of pounding vag” to the American public, and they were being fêted as though they were E.B. White and James Thurber. During the Q&A period at the end, Apatow said, “It would be so cool if Philip Roth walked to the mike right now.” To which Rogen added, “And said, ‘Why are you here?’”

The two are both, however, intelligent, well spoken, and, obviously, very funny, so spending two hours with them was bound to be entertaining. Whether it’s enlightening as well was mostly up to the moderator — in this case, critic David Denby. Unfortunately, Denby’s line of questioning fell less along the “How do you respond to criticisms about women in your films?” line, and more along the “Superbad — tell me how that came about” line. And since none of their films happened because they found a script in a plastic bag on the subway or an idea was revealed to them by a magic elf in a glittering cloud, all these origin stories were pretty much the same: They had a funny idea, they wrote it down, the resultant movie was funny. (It didn’t help that Denby, at one point, referred to “Jeff Apatow,” a slip that Judd Apatow kindly left unremarked. Though when Denby repeatedly called 40-Year-Old Virgin star Romany Malco “Romany Balco,” Apatow finally interjected: “Balco is where you get steroids.”)

This format did unearth some interesting pieces of Apatovian trivia; e.g., when he was 20, he was writing stretch-mark jokes for Roseanne Barr (“The only way to get rid of stretch marks is to put on ten more pounds just to bang them out”); when Apatow proposed Rogen as the lead in Undeclared to Fox, “they literally laughed,” said Rogen; much of The 40-Year-Old Virgin was researched by reading the blogs of real middle-aged virgins; and, while discussing the criticism that Knocked Up didn’t fully address abortion as an option, Apatow revealed that he shot a scene on the topic, then scrapped it, mostly because it’s not exactly “a hilarious comedy area.”

Then Apatow showed the scene in question, which, contrary to his assertion, was pretty damn funny (though, as some would point out, it didn’t involve Katherine Heigl, the one who’s actually pregnant). In it, Rogen and his pals talk about the morality of abortion; at one point Jonah Hill, arguing that a 2-month-old fetus is not yet a person, yells at Jay Baruchel, “Do you remember shit from when you were 2 months old, except that you liked the Cure?” —Adam Sternbergh

Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen Cap Hilarious, Irreverent ‘New Yorker’ Fest