Writer, director, producer Judd Apatow returns to his comedy roots at Ridgefield Playhouse

July 18, 2017 GMT

It’s hard not to be jealous of Judd Apatow. He’s just so darn talented. Not only does he direct films (think Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck”), he also produces them (“Bridesmaids” and his newly released romantic comedy, “The Big Sick”).He’s also produced and developed such television series as “Freaks and Geeks,” “Girls” and “Crashing.” Before all that, he was a successful writer and comedian.Apatow, who grew up in Syosset, N.Y., will return to his stand-up roots at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Sunday, July 23. We reached him by phone recently to chat about the gig. When asked how his day was going, he said he was doing a podcast with comic Joe Rogan, then figuring out what to wear to the taping of his Netflix stand-up special.We wondered, “Can’t you just look in your closet and pick something?” Apatow, 49, said that wasn’t an option. “I have to meet with a person who understands fashion more than I do, which is everybody on earth,” he said.OK, so he needs help with his wardrobe. Not a big deal. He’s still super talented, and it all started with stand-up.“I was obsessed with stand-up as a little kid,” he said. “I listened to George Carlin and Steve Martin and wanted to learn more, so I got a job as a dishwasher at a comedy club when I was 15.”By 16 he was bugging various comics to let him interview them — everyone from Jay Leno to Jerry Seinfeld. Years later, after doing more interviews with such stars as Louis C.K. and David Sedaris, he released “Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy,” which became a New York Times best-seller.Basically, Apatow paved his road to success by immersing himself in the comedy world. “I did stand-up for about seven years and wrote for other comedians to pay my rent. Then when they got successful, they started hiring me to write for them on movies and comedy specials.”That led to a 20-year break from doing his own comedy, but when he saw how much fun Schumer was having on “Trainwreck,” he decided to get back into it. “She’s one of the greats. The first time I did stand-up (again) it was just to make her laugh.”In Ridgefield he’ll cover subjects from politics to parenthood; he and wife Leslie Mann have two girls. “I talk a lot about the challenges of raising my daughters. It’s certainly an interesting era (with social media) to be raising kids in. Then, I just have a lot of weird stories from my years in show business. ... So, it’s basically about my life and work and family. I’m just being honest about what I’ve been through.“A lot of comedians think they have things figured out, but my whole act is just wondering if I’m screwing everything up.”Apatow shared that one of his daughters told him she finds his jokes annoying. She said, “Sometimes my friends make jokes which are funny, but I don’t laugh because you make jokes.”Chuckling, Apatow said, “I have ruined all humor for her.”lkoonz@newstimes.com; Twitter: @LindaTkoonz