With the news that Judd Apatow is doing a movie about stand-up comedians and that it’s not necessarily a comedy, some naturally are wondering if we’re essentially going to get a remake of the 80s film Punchline.
I’m no so worried. If there’s anybody who I’d trust make a film about stand-up, it’s Judd Apatow. Apatow has been a passionate fan of the art form since he was a kid, interviewing stand-ups like Steven Wright and Jerry Seinfeld for a high school radio show, then taking those lessons himself to become a stand-up himself.
Besides regular Apatow repitore member Seth Rogen (who also took to stand-up from a young age), the film will star Adam Sandler. Though some might sneer at the casting, Sandler was a roommate of Apatow’s during his stand-up days and I’m sure the pair look back on the time fondly. It should make for a more personal, affecting film… which seems to me an important ingredient if you’re attempting your first drama, albeit a hilarious drama.
An interesting point from the video is Sandler talking about having to write an act again, as he hasn’t performed stand-up in 10 years. So they definitely want the stand-up to be as real as possible, with material that’s been tested with a live audience.
But obviously Sandler will be playing a character so he’ll have to be material that works for both Sandler’s character and Sandler the movie star who just dropped in to do a spot at the Improv.
Plus, I kind of wonder if Sandler’s previous stand-up style would work for him today. Here’s a sample of his stand-up before his SNL/movie days.
It’s very regular guy but refracted through someone who’s more than a little off. A lot of the jokes are universal, but Sandler (and likely, the character Sandler will play) is in a different place. An audience will know that Sandler lives a different life now than that guy who talks in an awkward monotone. It’ll be interesting to see what he’ll craft…