By Danielle Zalewski
This book is about comedy, but it is not a funny book. If you’re looking to change your views of some of the most famous comedians- and not always in a good way- then “Sick in the Head” is for you. If you enjoy reading interviews that are at times dry and slightly hard for the average person to relate to, then “Sick in the Head” is for you. And if you want your dreams to be crushed when you find some of the funniest celebrities in America are actually cynical and jaded, then “Sick in the Head” is for you.
Judd Apatow, a fellow comedian and close friend to most of the thirty-seven comedians interviewed in the book, succeeds in uncovering the “not-celebrity” side of some of the comedy legends and the bright stars of today. Apatow allows the reader to sit in on conversations between him and Jay Leno and Steve Martin and Jim Carrey and many more. They give life-advice, tell personal stories, and really explain what it’s like to be in the comedy industry including the brightest and darkest times.
As a whole, the book can sometimes be irrelevant and dragging unless you are really into the world of standup comedy, beyond the laughs. However, there are some interviews that really stand out and are probably worth taking pictures of at Barnes and Nobel instead of buying the whole book. Amy Schumer gives great advice to any person struggling to find their self-worth. She talks about the disadvantages of being a woman in the comedy business, the way she developed her approach to standup comedy, and how she handles the criticism she gets about her appearance and body. She says “I think that beautiful people are not any happier than people who are not as beautiful. Even with models-, there’s always someone who is more beautiful or younger. So no matter what realm you’re operating in, it’s all relative.”
Harold Ramis, though you might have to look him up, gives one of the most honest and valuable interviews in the book. Ramis was very interested in Buddhism and, according to Apatow, made a folded piece of paper with everything he liked about the religion written on it. He gave a copy to Apatow when they were working on a movie together and said to Apatow, “Life is ridiculous, so why not be a good guy?”
It’s not that Apatow did a bad writing job. He accomplished what he wanted and the interviewees are terrific choices. It is simply a book by a self-described “comedy nerd,” and while 37 interviews may have been fun for him to conduct, 37 interviews are a lot for a reader to digest. Apatow acknowledges a couple of times in his collection of interviews that people sometimes think his movies are too long, well the same can be said for his book.