There was a time when comedians knew they had made it on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The modern day equivalent might be working with Judd Apatow.
The hard-working director and producer behind everything from Knocked Up to HBO’s Girls puts his status to good use in his second collection of conversations with those he directed (Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Pete Davidson) as well as with those he idolizes (David Letterman, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg).
These are not traditional interviews; Apatow’s long-winded questions would be discouraged in journalism school. But since he’s as interesting as his guests, you don’t mind. Some of the most memorable conversations feature discussions in which both host and guest seem equally eager to open up about their personal struggles, such as the chapter with Gary Gulman on dealing with depression.
The book is less successful when Apatow leaves the world of comedy and talks to “outsiders.” The chapter on lead singer Roger Daltrey of The Who feels like an excuse to live out a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy. But at best, “Sicker” offers a hole in the green room of a comedy club. Keep your voice down and enjoy the access.