Amongst today’s youth the name Seth Rogen rings bells as one of the most prominent comedic actors of our time. From his work in contemporary comedy classics like Superbad, 40 Year Old Virgin, and Pineapple Express, Rogen has implemented himself as a heavyweight in the business and proved time and time again he’s one of the funniest doing it.
However, it wasn’t always widespread success for Rogen who had to dropped out of high school and struggled his way to the top playing the role of writer and then eventually actor. Next week things may just come full circle for Rogen, who is directing and starring in the highly anticipated movie This Is the End - slated to release on June 12th. In celebration of the release we decided to dig up our Issue 45 interview the Canadian-born actor circa 2006. Check it out below.
Words: Mary H.K. Choi Photos: Zen Sekizawa
Mass Appeal Issue 45 (2006)
You don’t need to see a comic with a bullet hole in his face to know that comedians are embittered, sardonic fucks. Seth Rogen is 24, an executive producer of actual real-life Hollywood movies, a writer, and a hysterically funny dude. What Seth Rogen lacks is the decency to be either an alcoholic depressive or a self-aggrandizing LA douche bag. In fact, Rogen, a Vancouver native is either the most scarily manipulative person in the world or genuinely nice and in that slightly suspicious Canadian way.
At 16 the barrel-chested Rogen co-starred in Judd Apatow’s ridiculously astute, riotously funny, and prematurely shanked television series Freaks and Geeks and later he would write and co-star in the similarly fated and equally brilliant Undeclared. Rogen also did some writing for Da Ali G Show and he’s had bit parts in Donnie Darko and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, but you’ll likely remember him as the, “you know how I know you’re gay…” dude from 40-year-old virgin. You know, the one with the curly hair that isn’t Paul Rudd.
What you may not know about Rogen is that he’s done being almost famous. He’s starring and executive producing Knocked Up, a comedy about pregnancy that his BFF Apatow is directing. Just as the 40 Year Old Virgin slingshot Steve Carell to a superstardom the duo hope to do the same for Rogen who has yet to carry a role as the lead.
A truly sickening work ethic and a untortured prolific nature see Rogen producing or acting in a litany of other flicks this year and next amongst them Pineapple Express (with his former Freaks and Geeks costar James Franco), Super Bad (with his friend and sorta a-alike Jonah Hill), and Drillbit Taylor with our favorite “butterscotch stallion with the deviated septum” Owen Wilson.
All this from a well-adjusted dude born in 1982. You may as well kill yourself now.
So you’re 24 going on 25. Have you set a cut off age when you’re no longer precocious…
I don’t think I’m that precocious
Jesus, shut up.
I have no cap. I make cock jokes for a living. There’s no reason to put a time limit on that.
True. Do you have a running list of “shit I find funny”?
No. Though there are things I find on a subconscious level coming up again and again in improv—the whole cock, fart, poo, semen. I find I improvise a lot of jacking-off gestures and subsequent ejaculating gestures. That’s just where my brain goes, I guess.
So that’s your default setting.
If given free range, that’s the first place my mind will run to—a jack-off, ejaculating hand gesture.
Knocked Up is coming out June 1. You’re the star, so this is kinda like your Quinceñera, right?
I guess so. That’s how I feel at least.
Any pressure to be a commercial success after the $110 million made with 40-year-old Virgin?
I would feel pressure if it wasn’t a good movie. I did see my first movie poster at the mall though, which is a weird thing. The first thing I wanted to do was draw a big cock coming out of my mouth. In fact, I’ll probably go back and still do that.
Did you learn anything about babies during filming?
Oh it’s terrifying. I’d never really even held a baby before we shot Knocked Up.
Yeah, I watched many hours of birth these fucking birthing videos…
What did you learn?
That it’s disgusting, it’s horrific, and it’s very violent-seeming. And disgusting. You watch movies where people give birth and it’s a very pleasant experience [meanwhile] people are shitting all over the fucking place…
They don’t tell you that…
They don’t fucking tell you that shit! That you might poop yourself on the table! So that’s what I learned. All that stuff.
So you, Judd Apatow, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd…you guys are super cliquish…
I don’t know if it’s cause we’re lazy and don’t want to go through the arduous process of being around other people. Hanging around, talking with these guys, it just feels… safe [laughs]. Jonah Hill and I hang out a lot, he just moved into the apartment that I moved out of. He’s in Super Bad, which is nice.
Is he playing you in Super Bad?
The main characters are named Seth and Evan because me and my friend Evan wrote it. It’s not really based on us, but it sorta is…just a little tiny bit. We named the characters our names because it is just too confusing to think of new names all the time.
A lot to keep track of…
It’s too much to ask us to retain that much information. Besides it’s hilariously self-indulgent at 25 to make a seemingly autobiographical movie—“This is it people. This is how I got here…”
The long, winding road to your early ’20s.
Dude, Jonah Hill plays “you” in high school for Super Bad yet he’s one year younger than you.
S: It’s just I’ve lived a hard life. I don’t know what I can say. It shows on my face and hands. Hmm… I guess it really doesn’t speak highly of my physicality and genetics. Jonah looks like he could be in high school, I don’t. He’s much shorter than I am, though. I mainly credit that.
You improvise a lot of your jokes. Do you fear you’ll run out of funny?
Sometimes. You just know that as you get older it’s hard to… I mean, I don’t think I’m in an immediate danger of this, but there are very few 60-year-old guys writing shit that 24-year-olds think is hysterical. Not to say it never happens. I just hope that when I’m sixty, the funny 24-year-olds will give me parts in their movies.
No night terrors about accelerated aging or dying at forty?
I hope not. I do probe my testicles a lot for bumps though.
Did you graduate high school?
Nope. Dropped out.
Were you home-schooled?
Good ’cause that’s just weird. Did you get your G.E.D.?
And now you produce movies. High five, asshole.
Thanks. I’m old school, I’m Drew Barrymore style.
God, you really are the best person ever. The press love lumping you, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell into the “Frat Pack.” How douchey is that term?
Oh I hate it. I wake up sweating knowing I’ll read [articles] called like… “Seth Rogen is Pledging the Frat Pack!” It’s like, Fuck oh no, what have they done?
People go to town on those hazing metaphors…
I know! We don’t even have frats in Canada, the whole lexicon is meaningless to me.
What do your parents do?
My mother is a social worker. My father is a man of ideas, as I like to say. [Laughing].
Okay, shady. Is that like in the rap industry when they say “entrepreneur”?
Maybe exactly. I don’t really know what my dad does. I’m very curious as to what he fills his days with…
Whittling. So mom’s a social worker…
My sister’s also a social worker.
Really? So you pursued the most noble art form of your whole family.
Exactly. Aside from helping suicidal teenagers, I am pretty much doing the best someone can do with their life.