Judd Apatow delivered a hilarious opening address at tonight’s Directors Guild Awards, but if you weren’t in the room you were likely to miss it: an edict went down from on high that the press corps stationed backstage would be barred from the audio of his remarks. In the digital age, it fell to those audience members with cellphones — so, practically all of them — to catch the quotes and call, text and tweet them out.
But there was nothing particularly incendiary about his comments, save for the odd curse, begging immediate questions about why the comments were silenced backstage. But Apatow’s speech took an expectedly comic twist on recent sexual harassment revelations and the #TimesUp movement. He began with a gag about Harvey Weinstein. “What Harvey Weinstein ruined was robes… If I wear one now, my wife is like ‘eww’.”
“What happens when women direct movies? You get Lady Bird. You get Mudbound. You get Wonder Woman. You get a man directing a movie, you get The Emoji Movie with a character who is a literal piece of s–t,” joked Apatow.
Of hosting, he said, “There is nothing in this for me at all. If one moment I talk like Matt Damon and try to explain sexual harassment, I am f–ked. I just do this because I am dead inside and [need to feel something].”
There was no advance announcement of the press blackout. Deadline learned shortly before it happened that the feed would go dead for press and that Apatow was aware this would happen. It’s unclear whether the order came from the DGA or Apatow himself, but this is the first time we can remember the DGA Awards forbidding press from the opening remarks.
It was very unusual for Apatow’s speech to receive a blackout in the press room: He was hysterically funny, and candid in his jabs tonight, but he wasn’t any more blue than other guild award show hosts, read Patton Oswalt and Brad Garrett who’ve gone to town on a variety of subjects and people in the industry at the WGA Awards like it’s a Comedy Central Roast.