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Apatow Tells How He Got Martin Autograph

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October 8, 2007 07:28 PM EST | AP

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NEW YORK — Judd Apatow, writer and director of comedy hits "Knocked Up" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," is doubtless already a hero to kids who want to break into film or comedy. But once, he was just a kid dying for the autograph of his own hero, Steve Martin.

Apatow regaled an audience at the New Yorker Festival this weekend with the tale of how, on vacation in California as a boy, he had spotted Martin washing his car in front of his home.

The young Apatow jumped out of the car and asked for an autograph, but Martin said he didn't give autographs at his home. "Please, we won't tell anyone," Apatow begged. Sorry, Martin said, but no.

So Apatow went home and wrote Martin a nasty letter, in which he gave an early glimpse of his now well-documented talent for profanity. Three months later, he received a package from Martin that contained a copy of his book "Cruel Shoes."

"I'm sorry," read Martin's inscription. "I didn't realize I was speaking to THE Judd Apatow."

THE Judd Apatow's latest hit, as a producer, was "Superbad," one of the most popular comedies of the summer. The movie, which chronicles the final high-school days of two teenage friends (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill), was written by Seth Rogen (the star of "Knocked Up") and Evan Goldberg, and directed by Greg Mottola.

Rogen, who also appeared with Apatow at the New Yorker Festival, discussed how similar his real life with his buddies is to "Knocked Up," in which his real friends actually appear with him, living and acting in ways best described as juvenile.

"I've lived with them, in conditions that are humiliatingly similar," Rogen said.