apatow-otw.jpgJudd Apatow is just a loyal, humble kid from Long Island. Or so he would have you think. The truth is, he’s a loyal, humble, funny as hell kid from Long Island. And don’t you forget it.

Influenced by the likes of Bill Murray and Steve Martin, Apatow’s career has slowly blossomed into a comedian’s fantasy. Before garnering critical acclaim as a writer-director on the television series “Freaks and Geeks,” the comedian enjoyed stints on the writing teams of “The Ben Stiller Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show.” But it wasn’t until his 2005 directorial debut, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, that audiences finally discovered this was the wizard behind some of the funniest big- and small-screen comedies of the past 15 years.

Now the wizard is back with his unlikely band of brothers in Knocked Up. The comedy, starring “Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl and Apatow regular Seth Rogen, offers the Apatow staple: A journey toward being good. “Basically, I try and make these movies with the thought that they’re about trying hard not to be an asshole,” explains the moviemaker. In this case, that means Rogen’s character will try to transform himself from pot-smoking slacker to responsible father figure in the nine months it takes his one-night stand to deliver their baby. “Hopefully,” Apatow muses, it’s “ultimately an uplifting movie about love and people trying to make connections with odd bedfellows.” And really, that’s all we ask for from this entertaining boy next door.

Sound off: While the story and screenplay might be all his own, Judd Apatow practices what he calls “writing a movie on its feet,” where improvisation is encouraged and often yields hilarious results. Of all the writer’s work, which line or exchange still manages to stand out? Share your thoughts in our comments section!