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They started making each other laugh when they met as two struggling stand-up comics in their early 20s. Their careers have taken them on very different paths, but the friendship remains and helps keep both successful men grounded.
"We both have similar friends from 20 years ago. On occasion you grab a new friend and go 'Alright I'll take you. You can hang out with us.' It doesn't happen very often," said Sandler.
In "Funny People", Sandler plays a rich and famous comedian who's become a bit of a jerk. He befriends up-and-coming comic, played by Seth Rogan, after he's diagnosed with a serious disease and he realizes just how lonely his life has become.
Apatow, who wrote and directed the film, says while the crusty character may be inspired by several people he's known over the years there's no direct correlation to any real person.
"There was nobody that messed up that we hung out with. We tended to hang out with the nice guys. This is more like who we might have become if we never met our wives, and they never beat on us and straighten us out," said Apatow.
After 20 years the obvious question is what took Sandler and Apatow so long to make a film together?
"I wrote a couple of other movies that were just not good enough I guess. And we wanted to wait till I could direct it. It takes awhile, it's like the minor leagues," said Apatow.
"Funny People" is rated R and is in theaters Friday.