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Judd Apatow Dips Into the Archive, Shows Cautious Fox Notes on 'Ben Stiller Show' Sketch (Photo)

Judd Apatow

Reaching back to his early days in comedy, the writer-director-producer offered up a look at a rebuke from network execs over a sketch that featured abortion and child abuse.

Even Judd Apatow once had to deal with notes from hand-wriging studio executives.

Before he was the dean of Hollywood's comedy scene, Apatow wrote on The Ben Stiller Show, the short-lived starting point for many of the industry's funniest minds. On Monday night, he tweeted out a note from Fox execs who had plenty of concerns about a sketch called "The Far Right Children's Theatre," which included worries over political bias and purient content.

Fox was not pleased that the sketch seemed to have a liberal bias, and that a PBS volunteer was describe as a "Jew." They also were not pleased with the depiction of child soldiers carrying guns and being executed, or the use of abortion as a theme in a time slot considered family-friendly. The sketch was written by Dino Stamatopolous, who wrote for and played Starburns in Community.

Apparently, Fox didn't quite know what they were getting into. The show was canceled after 12 episodes, but Apatow and co. got the last laugh: it won the 1993 Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety Series.