A special interest book that won't appeal to most people. If you're somebody who loves comedy--especially from stand-up comedians, then you're on of the minority who will like this book--or at least some of it. Be warned: comedy is serious stuff!
The book is comprised of audio interviews conducted, in the most part, by Judd Apatow, comic writer, director and producer responsible for "Girls" on the small screen, and "40 Year Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" and "This is 40" on the big screen. The interviews span the almost a lifetime. Apatow did the first one (Seinfield) as a teenager, in 1983 and the latest ones were completed in 2014.
As a kid, Apatow was an obsessive on the topic, desperate to learn from the greats, and a lot of the book is as much a self-examination as it is of profiles of pioneers (Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols and Steve Allen) and peers (Albert Brooks, Jon Stewart, Seth Rogan).
You can quibble about the book's organization--alphabetical, by given name, so the first interview is with Adam Sandler!--rather than chronological, so the reader's constantly reminding him/herself that one interview or the other may represent attitudes, performances, movies and industry details that are no longer current, but read like they are. This is important, because--as more than one performer pointed out--what's funny to one generation (Millennials, for example) may not be funny to other, older generations. Says Mike Nichols (2012): "If you make movies, your early movies are about your time. Everybody knows the story you're telling. Because everybody in your generation is in that place...and they recognize it. And then, when you get to middle age, that doesn't work any more..."
What I found amazing is the entertainers' depth of passion, and their philosophies...and how many find "life meaning" in the work they do, making this book insightful and thoughtful. Want falling-down funny? You want a different book.