Seth Rogen on cancel culture: ‘If you’ve made a joke that’s aged terribly, accept it’

Seth Rogen attends THE KING LION European Premiere at Leicester Square. London, UK. 14/07/2019

I’ve been enjoying Seth Rogen’s promotional tour for his memoir-ish book Yearbook. He had a big British GQ profile where he talked a lot about smoking weed every day and how he had the best time in lockdown. He spoke in another interview about how he doesn’t want any kids because that would ruin his fun vibe with his wife. In between funny stories and weak confessions, he’s been talking about the shifting nature of comedy. He’s apologized for some of the jokes he made which were bad, which punched down on marginalized groups or people. During a wild Good Morning Britain interview this week, Rogen was asked about “cancel culture,” this year’s favorite topic among terrible white people. Rogen had some thoughts.

Seth Rogen appeared on “Good Morning Britain” this week to promote his new book, “Yearbook,” and he was asked to weigh in on his past movies containing controversial jokes (via Insider). “There are certain jokes that for sure have not aged well, but I think that’s the nature of comedy,” the comedian said. “I think conceptually those movies are sound and I think there’s a reason they’ve lasted as far as people still watching and enjoying them today. Jokes are not things that necessarily are built to last.”

The question prompted Rogen to discuss the relationship between cancel culture and comedy, as many comedians have been forced to reckon with dated jokes that are no longer appropriate in the present day. Rogen said, “To me when I see comedians complaining about this kind of thing, I don’t understand what they’re complaining about. If you’ve made a joke that’s aged terribly, accept it. And if you don’t think it’s aged terribly, then say that… To me, it’s not worth complaining about to the degree I see other comedians complaining about.”

When asked by “Good Morning Britain” hosts if he would have to search through his Twitter feed to delete controversial jokes made in the past, Rogen responded, “I was never a comedian that made jokes that were truly designed to target groups that were subjugated in some way. Have we done that without realizing it? Definitely. And those things are in our movies and they’re out there, and they’re things that I am more than happy to say that they have not aged well. But in my Twitter, I’ve never made a joke that’s outwardly horrific in some way, and if you have, I would question why you did that. Saying terrible things is bad, so if you’ve said something terrible, then it’s something you should confront in some way, shape, or form. I don’t think that’s cancel culture. That’s you saying something terrible if that’s what you’ve done.”

[From Indie Wire]

Yeah. It’s pretty simple. “Saying terrible things is bad, so if you’ve said something terrible, then it’s something you should confront in some way, shape, or form. I don’t think that’s cancel culture.” Dumb a–holes just want to say terrible things constantly and never be held accountable in any way for saying terrible things. During the same interview, Seth was asked about his Tom Cruise story, where he went to Cruise’s house in 2006 and Cruise was full-tilt bonkers and started talking about Big Pharma and Louis Farrakhan. Seth was happy to oblige and he added some details:

“It was a slow sell,” Rogen began, remembering when Cruise started pitching him about the religion. “At first I was a little insulted when he didn’t bring it up because I was like: ‘Am I not good enough for him? Does he actually want to talk about comedy? Am I not good enough to be indoctrinated by this man?’ But eventually – it was around when he had just been jumping on Oprah’s couch and kind of just acting generally strange in the media – he started to say that he felt the media was manipulating how he was coming across.”

Rogen then claimed that Cruise had said the media were being “incentivised” to make him “look bad” in reference to the pharmaceuticals industry.

“Then he brought up his friend Louis Farrakhan, which was a shocking revelation as well, he said they’ve also made him look bad in the media,” Rogen said. “He said it’s all because of Scientology, and if you give me an hour to just explain to you what Scientology is, it’ll blow your mind. You’ll say no way.”

Describing his feelings at the time, Rogen said he was worried about turning Cruise down.

“Honestly, I did not have the strength to say ‘tell me about it’ because I was genuinely worried that I was not strong enough to have Tom Cruise pitch me on Scientology and say no to him because I’m a huge fan of him, honestly,” Rogen said.

[From NME]

Honestly? I would wear a “Am I not good enough to be indoctrinated by this man?” t-shirt. I had to put my head down and laugh for like five minutes straight at the thought of Seth Rogen sitting in front of Tom Cruise for several hours, growing quietly indignant that Cruise had not tried to pitch Scientology to him. “Am I not good enough for your cult, motherf–ker??”

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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12 Responses to “Seth Rogen on cancel culture: ‘If you’ve made a joke that’s aged terribly, accept it’”

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  1. Sharon Clark says:

    Total icon.

  2. Brielle says:

    I really like Seth.. He is a good guy

  3. Ann says:

    Seth kinda lived that episode of Seinfeld where the cleaning people cult weren’t interested in George, except add in scientology and Tom Cruise. What a perfect stoner story. I’m going to have to buy Seth’s book. I’m sold.

  4. faithmobile says:

    Well said. Red flags are raised for me anytime I hear someone complain about cancel culture. It’s basically someone complaining about consequences for be an awful human being. Go to a therapist if you can’t figure out why the terrible things you say result in push back from others.

  5. Katherine says:

    Totally agree

  6. Robyn says:

    I just really like this dude.

  7. Dee Kay says:

    Rogen is right — if comedians (or anyone!) get called out for previous jokes that are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic…then that’s not being “cancelled,” that’s being held to account. And those comedians can take that opportunity to reflect and respond. I totally believe people can learn about unconscious bias and implicit racism and learn to talk about it well — I mean heck, we all have to *learn* those skills, none of us emerge from the womb with all that knowledge and vocabulary in our skulls — and I wish that people would more often see criticism from marginalized groups as moments when they can learn to think and speak in more compassionate and deeper ways about prejudice.

    • Courtney B says:

      Absolutely agree. Times and attitudes change and so does word usage (obviously not talking about slurs here) and as marginalized people continue to speak up and say ‘no that’s not okay’ or ‘this is what we prefer to be called’, etc take that in instead of being reflexively defensive. It’s really not that hard, or shouldn’t be, to just not be an asshole.

  8. Chaine says:

    It’s nice that he said that, but he needs to also acknowledge that it’s not that “some jokes age badly,” odds are the jokes actually were NOT ACCEPTABLE back when they were made, either. It’s like the politicians who try to excuse themselves for wearing blackface at their frat parties in the 1980’s by acting like “it was a different time then,” no it was NOT, it was completely racist then as now!

  9. Léna says:

    Damn I like him more and more!

  10. Hannah Young says:

    When I was still in music, I was around and even worked with some famous Scientologists and 10 years later, I am still offended that no overtures were made. They did it to EVERYONE they worked with, but not me. What, I’m not good enough for you?!?