Thursday, April 16, 2009
Judd Apatow's next movie Funny People began shooting in Los Angeles Sept. 29, but not before three of its leading actors, Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler, and Jonah Hill, squeezed in last-minute rehearsals — in front of a live audience — on Sept. 19 and 27. Seems the yuksters made two appearances at the L.A. outpost of Upright Citizens Brigade (capacity: 92) along with The King of Queens star Kevin James and newcomer Aubrey Plaza, all so they could hone their stand-up skills.
Apatow played MC for what was billed as his own ''Evening of Comedy,'' and even lobbed a couple of bits of his own. He explained how his wife (and Funny People ensemble member) Leslie Mann couldn't be less interested in seeing his shtick in action, and entertained on-the-spot movie pitches from audience members. Rogen's and Hill's sets were predictably heavy on masturbation jokes but light on pop culture references, while Sandler's ran longest and came with a disclaimer: Jokes about being single were based on his character — and not his real life. (It's unclear whether later rants about fame, the paparazzi, and living large also fell under that umbrella).
So how did they do? Despite the actors' visible nervousness, the crowd responded enthusiastically — most especially for ringleader Apatow. Still, it's pretty safe to assume that they won't be hitting the comedy-club circuit on a regular basis anytime soon. Rogen, for one, had this to say on the way out: ''I'm so glad that's over.'' — Shirley Halperin, with additional reporting by Nicole Sperling