Patton Oswalt: We lost Harold Ramis this year. He’s gone.
Judd Apatow: He made the majority of the movies that made me want to be in comedy. When I was a kid, Ghostbusters was like Gone With the Wind. The night it opened, I went to see it at the UA Plainview on Long Island, and it was like going to see the Who. The place went crazy from the minute it started.
PO: Yeah, that was Star Wars for comedians. It was big and crazy and still funny and intimate and human.
JA: And then he pulled off one of the great comedies of all time, Groundhog Day.
PO: No, I’m sorry, that’s not one of the great comedies of all time, that’s just one of the great films. That’s a great movie that happens to be a comedy.
JA: It was the essence of Harold and what he believed. That affected me in a big way, because I had never thought about any of those ideas when Groundhog Day came out. My parents weren’t religious; they didn’t even talk about religion to say they weren’t into religion. When I said I wanted to be bar-mitzvahed, they said, “You just want the money.” They didn’t let me do it. I mean, their only religion was “No one said life was fair.” So I got zero religion. And in that movie, you got what Harold believed in. And what Harold believed in was very simple—that this is probably it, so why not be a great guy?
PO: You see it in his films. His films make you feel better about the world when you’re done.
JA: Also, he boiled it down to something so simple, and it is my life philosophy—don’t be a dick.
“The Lives They Lived.” The New York Times. 23 Dec. 2014.
(Photo: Chris Walker/The Chicago Tribune)