A Dallas Writer Called Judd Apatow a "Johnny-come-lately" and It's Driving Me a Little Nuts

Categories: Comedy

Judd Apatow is on the left, in case you're unfamiliar with this comedy newcomer.
Alex Bentley over at CultureMap Dallas liked This is 40 less than I did, which is totally fine. He makes some solid points, including some that I touched on when I babbled in Apatow's general direction a couple weeks back.

But this strikes me as somewhat insane:

Judd Apatow is such a ubiquitous name in comedy these days that it's easy to forget what a Johnny-come-lately he is. Aside from a couple of one-offs in the mid '90s, he's only been in the business of making movies since 2004. And his directing career surprisingly consists of just four films.

All of which is to say that even though his star has risen pretty quickly, he has yet to prove that he can be counted on time and again to put out a quality product.

"Johnny-come-lately" is defined here as a "newcomer or latecomer, especially a recent adherent to a cause or trend." Apatow appeared on an HBO comedy special in 1992, when he was 25. He wrote for the Larry Sanders Show in 1993. The first movie he got produced as a screenwriter, Heavyweights, came out in 1995, and he was hired to write a JIM CARREY VEHICLE the same year. Do you know who was bigger in popular culture than Jim Carrey in 1995? No one. It went Carrey, Michael Jackson, Jesus, Bill Clinton, everyone else. In that order, give or take the Jesus-Clinton thing.

And he's a "latecomer?" To what? Making movies with this exact premise and title?

OK, part 2.

Even though his star has risen pretty quickly, he has yet to prove that he can be counted on time and again to put out a quality product.

Look, some people like some things more than other people like other things, and I'm comfortable with that. But here's Apatow's filmography, not including the TV he's done -- Larry Sanders, Freaks and Geeks, Girls and others.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 1.21.19 PM.png

There's some so-so stuff in here, to be sure. But an unreliable Johnny-come-lately?

I'll hang up and listen.

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Wow, you created a whole chart of Apatow films just to try and refute my point? I'm honored. The key line you quoted is "only been in the business of making movies since 2004." I'm fully aware of his extensive TV career - that was not part of my point at all. 

I acknowledged the movies he did in the '90s - if The Cable Guy had been such a hit, it wouldn't have been another eight years before he was able to get another movie made. My only regret is I should have said "relative Johnny-come-lately," since he obviously didn't start becoming the household name he is last year. But I thank you for bringing attention to our site - a great early Christmas present!


@the_mixmaster @JuddApatow @joeptone Paging @stephenrodrick.

joe.tone moderator

Wikipedia created the chart, homie. But you're welcome for the attention. Gotta get somehow, I guess.

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