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Judd Apatow, Kristen Wiig, Mandy Patinkin, and More at the Writers Guild Awards East

Judd Apatow.

Last night, at the East Coast celebration of the Writers Guild Awards, Judd Apatow took home the Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence, an award that recognizes not only his body of work, but also his role in developing the work of other writers (such as Kristen Wiig, who presented him with the trophy). When we caught up with Apatow ahead of the ceremony at B.B. King’s, he admitted the pressure was on to give a good speech. “There are people here from Saturday Night Live, people from 30 Rock, so I’m suitably nervous,” he said. “I’m not really good at writing a speech and reading it. I can only write bullet points, and half read it. I’m too nervous! I’m a terrible actor. I’ll go too off the cuff, or I’ll be too wooden.” Fortunately, his funny wife, Leslie Mann, jotted something down for him, and he dutifully read it at the podium: “Leslie Mann is the reason I am standing here. I’d like to thank Leslie Mann, my brilliant, beautiful wife. I was so much less talented before I met her.” (Mann later showed us the napkin she wrote it on, and there was a heart drawn on it, too: Aw!) As for how Apatow goes about writing his screenplays, he told us, “Sometimes I give myself a reward. Like when I was writing Funny People, if I wrote for two or three hours, I would allow myself to watch an episode of The Wire. So I got through both my script and five seasons of The Wire. Now I move on to Homeland, and then Downton Abbey.” Good call. For more on celebrity writing rituals, click through our slideshow.

Judd Apatow and More at the Writers Guild Awards East