Monday night was the Los Angeles premiere of the new Judd Apatow film, “Funny People.” The hotly anticipated "dramedy" stars Adam Sandler as a famous comedian whose brush with a terminal disease teaches him a valuable lesson about life. The film co-stars some of the industry’s busiest young funny people, whom I’ve affectionately nicknamed the “Laugh Pack.” Among them are Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill and Leslie Mann, who also happens to be Apatow’s wife. I decided to ask these funny people, as well as co-stars Eric Bana and Aubrey Plaza which funny people were the first to inspire them. Here’s what I found out:
Both Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan gave a nod to Adam Sandler. Usually, I would have found this response somewhat self-serving since he is the star and executive producer of the film, but in this case both stars seemed genuine. Rogan also noted that Jimmy Kimmel is his greatest comedic inspiration, but that is most likely because Kimmel happened to be walking by as I asked the question.
Newcomer Aubrey Plaza says Janeane Garofalo is her comedic inspiration. When you meet Plaza, you notice there are actually a number of similarities between her and Garofalo. In addition to their sleepy eyes and brunette dispositions, both ladies share a wicked quick wit and are masters of hilariously dry deadpan humor.
Eric Bana, who is more famous in the United States for his dramatic roles, says the first half of his career, which took place in his native Australia, was filled with comedic performances. He says that Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder inspired him the most.
Leslie Mann was quick to mention the late Madeline Kahn as her comedic inspiration. With any luck the talented actress will get a swing at Kahn’s unforgettable role of Mrs. White when they finally remake the 1985 comedy, “Clue.”
Finally, as Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler made their way down the red carpet doing interviews together, I would have guessed they might pick the likes of Bill Cosby, Garry Shandling, Steve Martin or Chevy Chase as their comedic inspiration over the years. Instead the one and only name both men mentioned…Paul Reiser. Paul, they are mad about you!
Carol Burnet will always have my vote.
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