Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

"Until then, die in a fiery accident": The Apatow-Brazill Emails

Guys, this email exchange between Judd Apatow and Mark Brazill, creator of That '70s Show, might have happened in 2001, but we like to revisit them to remind ourself that while Cable Guy might have faded into our collective memory, death-threats are timeless. After Apatow sets off a firestorm by inquiring if Topher Grace could do Freaks And Geeks (Topher Grace: behind every poisonous Hollywood feud since 1998), Brazill basically accuses Apatow of plagiarizing his rock band pilot Yard Dogs, and things quickly go downhill from there. "Personally, I feel you've made a career out of being a sycophant to Carrey or Shandling or Roseanne, and when you weren't kissing ass you were stealing from lesser-known comics or leeching off other people's ideas (Celtic Pride, Cable Guy)," Brazill rants, before cursing the Funny People director with a terminal illness. Says Apatow, "As for the cancer, I'll wait till you get it and then steal it from you." If you think that's brutal, wait until you hear what he has to say about That '80s Show.

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  • gary

    i think the "show" apatow's asking topher to do is undeclared. freaks and geeks was long gone by fall of '01.

  • http://www.twitter.com/becca_oneal Rebecca O'Neal

    Wow. This is really hilarious and sad.

  • Jason Farr@facebook

    Yeah, hilarious and sad. Sad because Apatow really doesn't sound like he's done anything wrong and he had to listen to someone wish him to get cancer. And over what? This isn't how people should treat people. Brazill comes off like a childish, irrational baby. Why would that one sketch even have kept a studio from making a pilot? It was just a sketch, not a show in itself. That's hard to imagine.

  • Aristeia

    Holy shit.

    I mean, seriously. that's an amazing amount of vitriol over one, long ago, imagined slight.

    Granted, that's pretty common human behavior, but it's always somewhat shocking to see it so blatantly and furiously. I've been a fan of Apatow's work for a while, and it's nice to see how he handled that entire exchange.

    Though I do feel as if I should look more into this before coming down entirely on the side of Apatow. Still, that's a damn good point he made – how the flying hell could he have ripped off an idea he heard 2 weeks before he aired his sketch?

    I also love how Brazill kept moving the target, just spewing out accusations, moving from point to point as Apatow knocked each one down. It's one of the strongest signs that you're wrong in an argument – if you can't stick to one point and use facts to back up your claims, if you have to keep listing new problems and frustrations to maintain your sense of self-righteous anger, then you're probably not on the side of angels.

    anyway, as a general rule: don't tell people you want them to get cancer. it's just bad form.

    • not a fan

      I agree with you. But, at the same time people that are dead wrong like to act really stoic so the other people seem crazy, emotional and irrational. They fail to use whole sentences or bring up any points of their own playing the strong silent victim.

      I have been into it via email with a really crazy woman who used to be a friend and she initiated the whole thing. I should have just said some condescending one liner or never responded. But, I felt that I had to at least get my say in or defend myself. Being passive only lasts for so long. Sometimes you have to speak your mind. She could not address anything I brought up or justify her reason for emailing me like that. The reason I brought up so many points is because the person made a long string of offences that finally boiled over. They can't justify anything or back up anything so they try and act strong and silent while you get more heated at their stubbornness. In the end I felt crazy and allowed her to stir me up when she sent the first crazy email. Lesson learned.

      The truth is there are a lot of cheats out there. It takes years to develop a film and in the mean time you are pitching ideas and talking to people to make it happen. This makes your project vulnerable. You don't know that he didn't leech or ass kiss. All we see is the movie at the end but you don't see all the people that were screwed over to make it. I am not on anyone's side. It's Hollywood after all.

  • Eamon Doyle