Few creators are more in touch with the human condition than Judd Apatow. From the heartfelt Freaks and Geeks to the raunchy Knocked Up, to the heartfelt and raunchy 40-Year-Old Virgin, Apatow has tapped into what makes people tick. His art is largely about normal people who are dumb, funny and just want to live their life while not hurting others, like plenty of Americans. But, like the Pulp song, something changed. A specific brand of nationalism, white nationalism, has grown and became a country-wide pejorative for a group of people who want to make America great again but are lifting up a politician who could be the absolute wrong choice.
This troubles Judd Apatow. Greatly.
In an interview with LAist, Apatow explains that Trump and this whole election is now beyond comedy. Alec Baldwin’s Trump on SNL, for example, isn’t a joke, it’s an accurate impersonation, and that’s scary to some like Apatow. Comedy and satire, Apatow says, is in essence, preaching to the choir, and may not have the impact we once expected.
Do you think that humor has been an effective tool against him, or is it just a coping mechanism for us at this point?
I’m not sure because I always thought that George Bush wouldn’t get re-elected as a result of the amazing work of The Daily Show and then he was re-elected. To me, it seemed like the case was so simple against him. I don’t know if humor is anything but preaching to the converted. It’s hard to know. People are doing amazing work. Everybody is doing amazing work—Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore when he was on the air. Everyone’s doing exactly what they should be doing. I don’t know if undecided voters are touched by it or not or if it affects their thinking.
I don’t find almost any of it funny anymore. I’m post-comedy. I am deeply troubled and concerned and semi-depressed that our country let it get this far. I think it’s very sad the type of people that have crawled out from their holes and have revealed themselves. This is the country that had people fighting against civil rights and fighting for slavery. I guess there’s always some percentage of the population that still believes in things like that. It is terrifying to see them reveal themselves.
That’s definitely part of why this is awful, just seeing that there are people like this…
Before modern technology maybe all of those people still were that racist and sexist but they were hiding in their homes and had no way to tell us all about their stupid ideas. Now we see them. It’s very sad. I used to think it was a small amount of people but you see these big rallies and it’s deeply troubling. Those rallies are not thinning out. The more we learn about Trump, we’re not seeing Trump playing a half-filled basketball arena. Those people are still going to be around after Trump, hopefully, loses the election.
The whole interview is absolutely worth the read and can be found insidethe parenthesis below.