Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow: Book Review

Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy

Obtained: Penguin Random House, ARC
Pages: 512
Publish date: June 16, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

When I heard Judd Apatow was putting out a book, I knew I had to get in on that read. My sister introduced me to his work with the short-lived television shows, Freaks and Geeks, and Undeclared, and since then I’ve been a fan of (mostly) all of his stuff. I wasn’t sure what this book would have to offer me as a reader, but I trusted in Apatow, and I’m so glad I did.

Sick in the Head is a nonfiction collection of interviews and conversations Apatow has done with other comedians throughout the years. They are conversations he has recorded where he has approached the comedian and asked about their career, their life, who they are, what makes them tick.

The book sounds at first like something only a fan of these comedians would be interested in reading, like magazine interviews about their favourite things, but that is so wrong. The interviews and conversations all start out maybe a little awkward, but there are interviews where Louis CK talks about the effect technology has on the younger generations; Sarah Silverman discusses religion; Lena Dunham talks about racism; and Roseanne Barr reveals the struggles she experiences with mental health issues behind the camera.

These interviews cover such a wide time span and so many topics, that there is bound to be something in this book you would find interesting.

And part of me wished that they were visual recordings and that this book was actually a documentary or collection of interviews I could buy on DVD instead, but I grew to like that Apatow is pulling these comedians away from the screen and putting them in a book so it will be taken more seriously (which is another topic addressed in Sick in the Head). As though he was reading my thoughts, halfway through the book, Apatow includes a few pages of photos to bring some visual aids to this work: photos of various casts he’s worked with, various sets, his own family, his own friends, people he has met in the industry. The visuals help support the writing; comedy is a lot of work, and the comedians that work so hard to get laughs are people who have to deal with issues, too.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Granted, there are some chapters I skipped over because I didn’t know the comedian being interviewed, but that just gives me an excuse to research their careers on YouTube and continue reading. If you are a person who likes reading about other people’s struggles, not to laugh or gossip, but to help deal with your own, I highly recommend you read Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head.

Sick in the Head is available online at Chapters Indigo, Book Depository, and Kobo.


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