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Playboy Interview: Seth Rogen
  • April 21, 2009 : 04:04
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PLAYBOY: Your circle of friends in Knocked Up—Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Martin Starr and Jonah Hill—are also your friends in real life. Do you guys really hang out and play video games all day?

ROGEN: When we're not working on a movie, yeah, pretty much. We also like to box one another for some reason, or we'll make up drinking games, like Edward 40-Hands.

PLAYBOY: What's Edward 40-Hands?

ROGEN: You duct-tape a 40-ounce bottle of beer to each of your hands, and you can't take them off till you're done drinking both of them. We've had a few 40-Hands parties.

PLAYBOY: Do those parties typically end with a lot of puking?

ROGEN: It's not that bad, really. Two 40s is the equivalent of, what, six beers? You want to drink fast to get the fucking things off your hands, but you don't want to drink it so fast that you get sick. It's a mental battle more than anything.

PLAYBOY: You've admitted that many of your movies are semiautobiographical. Let's separate the truth from the fiction. We'll mention a few plot points from your film oeuvre, and you tell us what's real and what's fabricated.

ROGEN: All right, let's do it.

PLAYBOY: Losing part of your ear in a gangland shoot-out [Pineapple Express].

ROGEN: That never happened.

PLAYBOY: A woman who has her period does a grind dance against you, covering your leg with menstrual blood [Superbad].

ROGEN: No, but that did happen to a friend of ours, and we were the guys on the couch who discovered it. I forget who noticed it first, but one of us pointed it out—"What is that, red wine?"

PLAYBOY: Seeing a Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas while tripping on hallucinogenic mushrooms [Knocked Up].

ROGEN: That's 60 percent true.

PLAYBOY: Please explain.

ROGEN: The drug might not have been mushrooms, but the rest is true.

PLAYBOY: Was Paul Rudd involved?

ROGEN: Yes.

PLAYBOY: Being so obsessed with dicks as a kid that you used to compulsively draw them and hide the pictures in a lunch box [Superbad].

ROGEN: No, that's fiction. That was a pure moment of imagination, which I don't have many of.

PLAYBOY: Accidentally performing a "Dutch rudder" on a male friend [Zack and Miri Make a Porno].

ROGEN: Well, I did do it while shooting the movie, so I guess that's true.

PLAYBOY: A Dutch rudder, of course, is when you jerk off another guy with his own hand. Were you shocked when you found out what that phrase means?

ROGEN: I'm always amazed when somebody tells me about an obscure sexual fetish I've never heard of. Kevin Smith, the director of Zack and Miri, is like a filth database.

PLAYBOY: Going to Tijuana to see a donkey sex show and feeling bad for the donkey [Knocked Up].

ROGEN: I've never even been to Tijuana.

PLAYBOY: Admitting you would watch a Rosie O'Donnell sex tape [Zack and Miri Make a Porno].

ROGEN: Yeah, I would. I would watch any celebrity's sex tape.

PLAYBOY: But Rosie O'Donnell's? That may be too much.

ROGEN: Really? I think you're lying.

PLAYBOY: We think you're lying.

ROGEN: You wouldn't even look at it for a second, just out of curiosity?

PLAYBOY: Okay, fine. Just for a second.

ROGEN: I knew it!

PLAYBOY: Befriending your pot dealer and joining forces to take down a drug cartel [Pineapple Express].

ROGEN: Not true.

PLAYBOY: Which part?

ROGEN: Both. They're both fictional.

PLAYBOY: You've never been friends with any of your dealers?

ROGEN: My experience has been the exact opposite. I've had really weird pot dealers, generally speaking, and I haven't wanted to spend any time with them.

PLAYBOY: Weird how?

ROGEN: Maybe it's not them. Maybe I'm just impatient. You're kind of at their mercy. You just have to wait there until they're ready to weigh it and give it to you. And that can take forever, for God's sake. I remember one guy who would just take all night to do it, and I'd be like, "Okay, man, can we get this fucking show on the road?"

PLAYBOY: Why is nobody more needy and insecure than a drug dealer?

ROGEN: I know, right? They get so hurt if you just want to rush out. They'll say things like, "Are you just gonna buy it and leave?" Well, yeah, why wouldn't I? It's not like you go to a supermarket and the checkout guy says, "What, you're just going to buy your milk and leave? Come on, let's hang out!"

PLAYBOY: You did a convincing job playing stoned in Pineapple Express. Are you just an exceptionally talented actor, or was your prop department well stocked with dime bags?

ROGEN: [Laughs] No, I wasn't stoned in that movie. It wouldn't have helped even if I were, because I act pretty much exactly the same when I'm sober as when I'm stoned. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Also, James Franco doesn't even smoke weed. I hope I haven't ruined it for anybody. Franco and I have never smoked weed together in real life. We always marvel at that.

PLAYBOY: What did you use as a substitute?

ROGEN: It was some sort of benign plant. It's called Wizard Smoke. I've seen it advertised in High Times magazine. It's supposed to be an herbal substitute that looks a lot like weed but doesn't get you high.

PLAYBOY: You were named Stoner of the Year at the 2007 Stony Awards. Do you feel you hit your peak too soon as a pot icon?

ROGEN: A little bit, yeah. The Stony Award is my Oscar. It's the award of all awards, in my opinion. I'm glad I hit it when I did, but it's a slow and steady decline from there. Franco won it the next year, for Pineapple Express, so we back-to-backed it.

PLAYBOY: He did? But he doesn't even smoke pot!

ROGEN: I know. That's outrageous. I almost raised a flag there, but I didn't. At least he played a stoner, and I'm sure he's the first stoner character to be nominated for a Golden Globe. For that alone he deserves a Stony Award.

PLAYBOY: Isn't the award statue a bong?

ROGEN: It is a bong. It's mounted on a little podium thing.

PLAYBOY: Have you ever tried to smoke weed in it?

ROGEN: I have, actually. I put it off for a while and eventually decided not to do it. It seemed oddly disrespectful. But then I had a party, and I saw somebody holding it with smoke coming out of it. I thought, Ah well, there goes my pristine Stony Award.

PLAYBOY: Just how superobsessive are you about marijuana? If we mentioned purple Afghani train wreck, would you know what we're talking about?

ROGEN: [Laughs] Yeah. I know something about weed. I know the difference between a sativa and an indica.

PLAYBOY: Do you know enough to have a conversation with Woody Harrelson?

ROGEN: I think I could, yeah. That doesn't mean I would. I've met a few celebrities who are notorious for smoking weed, and I can't ever bring it up with them. I get shy about it. So I don't know what I would say to Woody. "So...smoke a lot of weed, do you? Me too!"

PLAYBOY: There was some controversy about your appearance on the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, when you and James Franco appeared to be smoking a real joint on national television. Did the backlash surprise you?

ROGEN: Not really. MTV is just insanely stupid. They knew well in advance what we were going to do. We sent them a script weeks earlier. When they cut away in the middle of our bit, it made it seem like a much bigger deal than it actually was, and it effectively ruined our joke.

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