Recently, Emmy Award-winning director, screenwriter, producer, author, and comedian Judd Apatow jumped on Sam Harris’s “Making Sense” podcast and talked about comedy, creativity, and flow.
One quote in particular jumped out at me – the “moment of creation” that makes it all worth it. It’s these pure moments of creativity that allow Judd to put up with all of the frustration and heartache and chaos that comes with Hollywood:
What I’m trying to get to is a moment of creation.
The best part of what I do is…the moment we think of a joke. I love reading all those books about flow state, and they’re usually about people doing X-games like activities.
But for me, it’s about sitting in a room with a few funny people and someone just thinks of something, and we just start laughing. That space. That’s as close as I get to real spirituality.
For Apatow, his flow state is a collaborative process. When somebody makes an offhanded comment that leads to another joke, and a joke that builds on that joke. That’s the highest form of spirituality Judd can be a part of: the “moment of creation” in which a joke that did not exist suddenly bursts forth from the void into existence.
He follows it up with a quote that brings it home for me:
…the moment of ‘oh my god I just thought of the dumbest joke’ and that’s where pure joy can come from.
I’m not a spiritual person either, but I do believe that rituals can help me reach a higher “plane” of creativity.
I go through the ritual of grabbing my favorite seat at my local coffee shop, 16 oz cold brew (even in the dead of winter) next to my laptop, my Restart (Focus Mix III) Playlist on Spotify playing on my headphones, HeyFocus.com activated, and a blank Google Doc.
I put on my hard hat and just start typing.
Eventually, I type something that makes me say “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever thought up” I start laughing. That “dumb thing” might become the premise for a new post, or a chapter section, or an idea for an entire book. Of course, it probably ends up getting trashed, abandoned or forgotten.
But that’s fine – it’s not whether or not the idea actually makes it onto a page.
It’s the fact that the idea had its “Big Bang”.
I conjured something out of thin air today. An idea, a sentence, a joke.
Something that didn’t exist now exists.