I have no problem with being biased, so I’ll say it-I love Judd Apatow, and I refuse to apologize for it. Since the days of Freaks and Geeks, I’ve followed and enjoyed everything with his stamp, and say what you will, but I loved every minute of it (to varying degrees, of course). Maybe it’s because I’m an awkward foul-mouthed geek myself? Who knows. But I truly feel like the Apatow School of Comedy manages to capture the real theme of raw comedic human interaction. I think this brand of comedy manages to walk a fine line, one where the characters are entertaining enough to want to watch on-screen, but also real enough where they don’t move into the realm of  Laughable Eyebrow-Raisers (I’m looking at you, Juno). I mean, who hasn’t helped a seemingly hopeless friend get a girl, cheered on a buddy who is dealing with a life-changing event, or felt bad enough to hang out with your drug dealer for a little bit because he just seems to need the company (but also because he has the best shit in town)? That’s real life, folks, and everybody needs a friend.

So, if you love Apatow and his usual suspects as much as I do, your prayers have been answered. Which prayers? Why, the ones where you get to see them half-naked, of course, courtesy of the fine people at Vanity Fair. Titled “Comedy’s New Legends,” this gallery (below) features some beautifully-inspired photography of whom VF considers to be the important cultural heroes of contemporary comedy, with a brief discussion of how and why they have attained that status. Apatow’s crew is a large part, but veterans of SNL are also heavily represented. Flipping through the pictures, we see one of Russell Brand as Chaplin, Will Arnett about to shoot first, Paul Rudd doing a very convincing Gene Wilder, and Seth Rogen as an absolutely terrifying Frida, as well as shots of Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Leslie Mann, Jason Bateman, Anna Faris, Jonah Hill, Amy Poehler, and Jason Segel.

I’ve already admitted my love for the Apatow crew, but what about the others? Jason Bateman and Will Arnett get points for being in possibly the greatest television comedy of all time, while Anna Faris did a great job in Lost in Translation (though I never was a fan of the Scary Movie franchise). I’ve always found Bill Hader hit or miss, but Amy Poehler seems to be pretty consistent  (at least on SNL).

So, interesting and creative photography aside, what do you think of this list? Any glaring omissions?

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