Judd Apatow Reveals The NSFW Criss Angel Joke The Studio Made Him Pull From Get Him To The Greek

Making a comedy in the studio system has to be a push-and-pull of negotiations regarding what jokes can be made, and which ones have to land on the cutting room floor. With regards to the new comedy Bros starring Billy Eichner in the lead, so many of the jokes are rooted in pop culture, and take aim at everyone from Debra Messing to Garth Brooks. This is part of the reason why Bros is being referenced alongside some of the best romantic comedies of our generation, and is also receiving so many positive reviews. Part of the reason why Bros so successfully navigates the choppy waters of studio politics is because producer Judd Apatow and director Nicholas Stoller have been down this road so many times before, and have hilarious stories to tell regarding the process. 

Before helming Bros, Nicholas Stoller cut his teeth on two Neighbors movies, the classic breakup film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Russell Brand’s Get Him to the Greek. His experiences with adult comedies taught him how the MPAA feels about genitalia, which led Judd Apatow to relay this very funny and awkward story about a Criss Angel joke they almost included in Greek. Stoller and Apatow appeared on CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast and told us: 

Well, the one that I thought was really funny was in Get Him to the Greek. Carla Gallo takes an electronic penis, let’s call it. Or was it just a rubber dildo? And so she’s with Jonah. She penetrates him with it. And then I guess takes it out and then looks at him while holding it, and she says, ‘This was inside Criss Angel.’ It’s a random reference only because it happens in Las Vegas, and it was just like, ‘Who has a funny sounding name?’ There’s no commentary. I love Criss Angel. I’ve gotten to see his show. I’ve met him, and he’s a wonderful person. … So that was a joke that was removed because we were like – I think we asked him and he was like, ‘You know, maybe not that one?’ And then as soon as he says that, we go, ‘Yeah, why did we even ask him? That was so awful to even think!’

Criss Angel is an extremely popular magician and a Las Vegas icon. He’s usually known as The Mindfreak, and he almost got his own movie back in the day. So including him in a joke because the location of the scene was Vegas makes sense. Angel has been active on the scene since 1994, so audiences in the theater for Get Him to the Greek in 2010 would have recognized him and laughed along at the punchline. Though, as Judd Apatow notes, he’s not essential to the laugh in this case.

The funny thing is, that joke would have worked with anyone. ‘This was inside Gabe Kaplan.’ It really didn’t matter.

Maybe not Gabe Kaplan, but we get the idea, Judd Apatow. As was the case with Get Him to the Greek, there are more than enough jokes in Bros that leaving a few of them out of the final cut doesn’t affect the finished product. Billy Eichner spoke about some of the sex scenes that he wrote into the movie, while co-star Luke Macfarlane opened up about why his Hallmark Movie fans will enjoy what they see in Bros now that it’s in theaters. We’ll see how the comedy does in theaters during its opening weekend, compared to other upcoming 2022 movies that are heading to multiplexes in the weeks to come. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.