Judd Apatow (born December 6, 1967) is an American screenwriter turned TV writer turned screenwriter turned director turned "mayor of comedy."
Prior to his film career, he was responsible for shows like Undeclared and Freaks and Geeks, as well as a notorious Flame War with former friend and fellow The Ben Stiller Show alumnus Mark Brazill (creator of That '70s Show). His career really exploded, however, after the runaway success of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, to the point where it's hard to find a recent mainstream comedy that isn't in some way associated with him or influenced by his brand of comedy. As John Hughes was to The '80s, Apatow is to present day comedy.
Apatow is inordinately fond of improv (full scenes are often entirely improvised by the cast), profanity, stoner humor, sex jokes, and gratuitous nudity (male nudity, more often than not). His characters are usually average Joes who learn to connect with either women or their male buddies, leading some people to call these films romantic comedies for men — "bromances," if you will. He has occasionally been accused of sexism, towards both women (as shown by Katherine Heigl's complaints regarding the portrayal of her character in Knocked Up) and men. Often for the same film.
Directed and Written:
Directed and produced Only
- The Cable Guy
- Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
- Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
- Drillbit Taylor
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
- Step Brothers
- Pineapple Express
- Year One
- Get Him to the Greek
- The Five-Year Engagement
- Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
- Begin Again
- Celtic Pride (shares story credit with Colin Quinn)
- Fun with Dick and Jane
- You Don't Mess with the Zohan
- Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
- The Simpsons episode "Bart's New Friend" (an Ascended Fan Fic)
He tends to work with many of the same actors many of whom starred in his earlier shows, a who's who of comedy that includes:
- Jason Segel
- James Franco
- Paul Rudd
- Seth Rogen
- Jonah Hill
- Jane Lynch
- Martin Starr
- Bill Hader
- Steve Carell
- Leslie Mann (his wife)
- Loudon Wainwright III
- Jay Baruchel
- John C. Reilly
- Adam Sandler (wrote some of his most popular Saturday Night Live skits and produced some of his comedy albums).
Tropes Associated With Apatow's Films
- Grey and Gray Morality: Many characters can have flaws or show some selfish  sides but nobody is without any level of decency or humanity.
- Growing Up Sucks: His tv shows in particular often feature immature people in more mature situations and how they change him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Many characters in his shows and movies portray many Jerk Ass qualities including being self-centered and often immature but not a single character goes without some form of genuine redeeming quality.
- A particular standout is the show he produced Series/Girls, in which almost every character portrays some elements of jerkiness but nobody is without some sympathetic element.
- Signature Style: Judd Apatow makes comedies with drama, heart,... and a ton of vulgar, sex, and stoner jokes.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: It arguably could rely somewhat on the cynical end but it still has a lot of heart, making his films somewhere in the middle.