HOLLYWOOD — When your first two movies are "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up," it's hard to top yourself. But Monday night at Hollywood's famed Cinerama Dome, Judd Apatow brought some very "Funny People" along to the premiere of his latest directorial effort — and admitted to feeling some extra love for the film's semi-autobiographical characters.

"These are terrible people; we're good people," grinned the filmmaker, who based much of the film on the days when he and Adam Sandler were roommates and struggling comedians. "But there are elements that are similar to us, in that we love comedy and hanging out with comics — and now that we're older, we're trying not to become [Sandler's bitter character] George."

Attendees on the star-studded, somewhat random red carpet included Anna Faris and Ryan Seacrest, Don Johnson and Tom Green, David Spade, RZA and Jimmy Kimmel. "Funny People" stars Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Eric Bana walked the red carpet, and Sandler showed up wearing a T-shirt bearing a cartoon version of one of his famous co-stars.

"Marshall Mathers gave this to me when we were shooting," Sandler said of Eminem, who makes a brief but poignant cameo, during which he gives Sandler's burned-out character some advice. "And I like it."

"[The Apatow] style of comedy is like hip-hop," said RZA, who also appears in the film, comparing the improv-heavy nature of these flicks with his own work. "Seth and those guys are Wu-Tang fans; we talked a lot about hip-hop. He knows a lot of lyrics."

"I got a phone call — someone had seen 'Knocked Up' at a film festival, I think," recalled Bana, another unlikely Apatow collaborator. Rogen's character in that film had a fondness for "Munich" ("If any of us get laid tonight, it's because of Eric Bana"), which made the Australian actor eager to come into the fold. "I had no idea what ["Knocked Up"] was, I had no idea what the reference was. Then it finally came to Australia and people said, 'They're talking about you in that film.' It was so surreal."

In the new flick, similarly crazy, off-the-wall references are made regarding everyone from Harry Potter to Wilco to Jon Favreau. "I hope he takes it as not much of an insult," Rogen laughed, referring to the "Iron Man" director.

"This is nice," Rogen said, looking around the crowded premiere as people started filtering inside for a sneak peek of the film, which opens July 31. "This is the most special premiere I've ever had."

"This is definitely the most special premiere," Hill agreed. "I have a lot of pride in what I've done."

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