But both men got their start in television. In 1999, Feig created a show, executive produced by Apatow, that wowed critics and became a cult hit, but never achieved mainstream success - NBC's Freaks and Geeks.
Freaks and Geeks: Originally broadcast from September 25 1999 to July 8 2000
Kicking off each episode with a rockin' theme tune - Joan Jett's 1980 hit Bad Reputation - each episode of Freaks and Geeks perfectly captured the growing pains of adolescence. The series follows teenager Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) and her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley) during the 1980-1981 school year at William McKinley High School - the retro setting lending Freaks a warm, nostalgic feel.
Cardellini - who has since starred in ER and...erm... the Scooby Doo movies - makes for an engaging lead as Lindsay, a Mathlete "brain box" desperate to fit in with Daniel Desario (James Franco) and his gang of 'Freaks'. Cardellini's too pretty to really convince as a social outcast, but that's entirely the point - Lindsay's always trying desperately to be something she's not.
As Daniel, Franco displays plenty of the star quality that has since seen him rise to the top of the Hollywood A-list - he's intensely charismatic here, a kind of stoner James Dean. Jason Segel also stars as Daniel's drumming crazy friend Nick - the future How I Met Your Mother star perfecting the slightly gormless nice guy persona that would later make him a star.
Seth Rogen also appears as Ken Miller and, unlike Segel, he delivers something a little different from what would become the standard. Miller is persistently apathetic and cynical - a far cry from the oafish, lewd 'teddy bear' character he would later play to great success in his later collaborations with Apatow - see Knocked Up or 2008's Pineapple Express.
The final 'freak' is Kim Kelly - played by Cougar Town star Busy Philipps - who, initially at least, comes across as an intensely loathsome bully, picking on Cardellini's Lindsay at every opportunity. It's not until we reach episode four 'Kim Kelly Is My Friend' that the viewer begins to warm to the character, as we get a glimpse of her 'dramatic' home life...
The directionless freaks were joined on the show by the loveable geeks - Sam Weir and his pals Neil and Bill are possibly the best written and performed troupe of young misfits since Wil Wheaton and co. took to the big screen for Stand By Me.
As Sam, John Francis Daley - now best known for playing Sweets on Fox's Bones - is painfully gawky and loveably awkward. Outcast Jew Neil ("I was elected school treasurer last year - I didn't even run") is a middle-aged man in a young boy's body, Samm Levine displaying a comic timing and confidence far beyond his years. But possibly the biggest geek of all is closet Dallas fan Bill - with his mumbling and comically large glasses, Adventureland actor Martin Starr is the archetypal nerd.
Freaks and Geeks spends most of its time with the kids, but unlike other shows of its ilk, it doesn't marginalise or demonise its adult characters. David (Gruber) Allen - who recently appeared alongside Jason Segel again in the movie Bad Teacher - is great fun as hippy guidance counsellor Jeff Rosso, but best of all is Joe Flaherty as Lindsay and Sam's hangdog dad Harold, traipsing round the kitchen in his underpants, dishing our tales of teenage terror - "There was a girl in our school... she had pre-marital sex. Know what she did on graduation day? Died!"
And the roll call of talent doesn't end there - even minor roles are played by stars of the future. The likes of Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls), Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation) Ben Foster (The Mechanic), Shia LaBeouf (Transformers) and even Ben Stiller all pop up over the show's 18-episode run.
Ah yes, '18-episode run' - when it comes to Freaks and Geeks, it's definitely a case of quality over quantity. The show averaged 6.77 million viewers, ranking as NBC's lowest-rated show, and - despite critical acclaim, an Emmy win and two more nominations - it was dropped from the schedule after just 12 weeks.
A fan campaign eventually convinced the network to air three more episodes, but the final three instalments wouldn't see the light of day until the cable network Fox Family Channel aired them in syndication. Freaks and Geeks was over - but Judd Apatow would help keep his friends and colleagues in work over the coming years, first in equally short-lived college comedy Undeclared on Fox and later through his big-screen efforts.
Whether you're a dyed-in-the-wool fan or a newcomer, we'd recommend picking up Freaks and Geeks on DVD - a complete box-set is available, though currently only in Region 1 format. Small but perfectly formed, this clique should never have been cancelled.
Were you a Freak or a Geek? Share your memories of the show below!