stage dive

Let’s All Be Judd Apatow’s Playwriting Mentors

Photo: Kevin Winter
Judd Apatow, playwright (maybe). Photo: Kevin Winter

A few days ago, Judd Apatow went to see Superior Donuts at the Geffen in L.A, with Gary Cole in the role Michael McKean played on Broadway. It made an impression. In fact, it turned Apatow, no easy sell, into a veritable WOR of blurbage. “A great play,” he tweeted. “Smart and funny. I cried. Gary Cole is amazing as always. See it!” Soon after, another tweet appeared: “I am thinking about writing a play. I have never tried. Reading a ton of them. Which ones should I read?” (I like to imagine a young Eugene O’Neill telegraph-tweeting the same thing circa 1913, into a half-empty bottle of whiskey.)

Since then, Apatow’s received boatloads of replies from theater lovers of every stripe and station. (“@kurt_loder I read Beauty Queen first! Thanks everyone for so many amazing recs. Now where could I go to have the plays read 2 me?”) Somehow, though, I doubt he’s read them all in less than a week. There’s still time to influence Apatow’s playwriting sensibility, Vulturists. What should Judd read?

Looks like noted Irish drama connoisseur Kurt Loder has already brought Apatow up to speed on Martin McDonagh (who’s pretty film-and-television influenced himself), and we can assume that the modern and postmodern American classics — Miller, Williams, Albee, Shepard, Mamet, Kushner, etc. — have been brought to his attention (maybe by, I dunno, Kari Wührer?). Could his unexpurgated plainspoken-ness find resonance in Lanford Wilson? Or maybe he’s looking for a Stoppardian puzzle for his usual klatch of chatty, dudely Angeleno-Sophists to solve? Or maybe it’s time to go Greek: What is Funny People, really, but a barely disguised rewrite of The Bacchae?

Seriously, now, whom should Judd read? What would help him bring his sensibility to the stage? Other than Seth Rogen in a Scaramouche mask? Chime in below.

Let’s All Be Judd Apatow’s Playwriting Mentors