I heard this amazing insight writer/director/producer Judd Apatow had about his own neuroses on Marc Maron’s extraordinary WTF podcast from 2011. Maron asked him why they don’t feel any sense of joy and Apatow’s answer made perfect sense to me. What’s missing from the transcript below is hearing Apatow and Maron both laughing their asses off as Apatow is explaining this. And damn if I wasn’t laughing as well… for reasons that are obvious if you know me…
Marc Maron: Why are we so afraid of joy?
Judd Apatow: That’s the question, and I’ve thought about it a lot. And I think it’s because we think that right behind joy is a knife that will cut our throat. And if we feel it, it’s almost like a laugh, and you’re chin goes up, and you’re throat is exposed. And if I laugh too loud, someone will slit my throat. And so, that’s the terror of joy. If I enjoy this as completely as I want to, it’s gonna hurt when it goes wrong. And the mistake is, it hurts already. Keeping shut down is what really hurts. And so it doesn’t actually make sense, and if you have to think about it all the time to know that’s what’s happening. Like I’m not actually enjoying this. And then you’re not present because you’re waiting for a punch. That’s how I feel like. I feel like I have my dukes up all day long, looking for someone who’s going to punch me, and here’s the thing: no one ever punches me.”
P.S. You’re not allowed to say “That’s OK Dave, I’ll punch you” in response … Not because it’s not funny, but because I’ve already thought of it.