ROGEN: Of course not. But that's not my problem. I'm not offended as a pot smoker; I'm offended as a comedian.
PLAYBOY: You think MTV was trying to create controversy?
ROGEN: I think they were being hypocritical. They have shows like The Real World, which is all about drinking and fucking. If that's their idea of entertainment, then our goofy little joke about smoking a fake joint should be harmless. They're documenting the lives of promiscuous young people without any of the repercussions. Not that I care. I'm not saying they shouldn't be allowed to show that. I'm just saying if that's your idea of acceptable behavior, don't give us a fucking hard time about one stupid joint.
PLAYBOY: Was it surprising when MTV turned against you?
ROGEN: Not at all. MTV has always fucked us. It was a nightmare doing interviews with them for Pineapple Express. We were on TRL, which thank God is over. I never have to go on that fucking show again.
PLAYBOY: You didn't care for it?
ROGEN: I did not. It wasn't even live. It was all a big lie. It was painful because Franco and I went on to promote Pineapple, and the producers told us, "Okay, you can't mention weed at all." That just stunned me. The movie's about weed! How would we even describe it? Why are we here if we can't talk about weed? That's just so silly and absurd to me. It's like bringing on the cast from Transformers and telling them, "You can't talk about robots."
PLAYBOY: How will you evolve as you get older? You can't keep playing the scruffy stoner type forever, can you?
ROGEN: I have no idea. I don't think about that, to be honest.
PLAYBOY: You don't wonder what your career will look like in another five, 10, 20 years?
ROGEN: I really don't. I have no overall career plan. I take it on a movie-by-movie basis. It's all I can do.
PLAYBOY: A lot of comic actors yearn for credibility, hoping to cross over into dramatic roles. Do you have ambitions beyond comedy?
ROGEN: Somebody recently said to me, "Man, if Green Hornet does well, you guys will be able to make whatever movies you want." No, we've always made the movies we want. Every movie we've made has been the movie we wanted. We didn't make Superbad to get somewhere else. We didn't make Pineapple Express to get somewhere else. Those were it. If Pineapple Express is the last movie I ever make, I won't say, "I never got a chance to make the big one!" That's the exact movie I wanted to make.
PLAYBOY: Do you ever worry you might be lured by a huge paycheck to make some bloated blockbuster like Cat in the Hat or The Grinch and all your comedy credibility will disappear?
ROGEN: Oh yeah, all the time. Jonah Hill and I were having that exact conversation the other day, about how easy it would be to sell out without even realizing it. It's not just about the money. Sometimes you do a movie and you think it'll be great, but then you see it and it turns out to be terrible.
PLAYBOY: How can you protect yourself from making a dud?
ROGEN: You can't. My only barometer is to ask myself, Is this something I'd want to go see as an audience member? Otherwise, you have to accept that the rest of it is out of your control.
PLAYBOY: Is it true you talked Hill out of doing a Transformers sequel?
ROGEN: I wouldn't say I talked him out of it. I was a voice against it. It's not just about the final product for me anymore. It's also about the experience. This isn't just a career anymore. It's my life. My life isn't being in these movies, it's making these movies. You have to make sure that aspect of it is as enjoyable as possible. I want to go to work and think, I'm making a movie I'm excited about, I like the people I work with, and I'm having a good time. It wouldn't be worth it if I were making the best movie ever and had to come to work and think, I hate these fucking people!
PLAYBOY: Do you care what your fans think about you?
ROGEN: You mean, do I read the Internet? My girlfriend reads the comments section on my IMDb profile all the time, and sometimes she tells me, "You have to look at what this jerk said about you." People fucking hate me on the Internet. The tide has definitely turned.
PLAYBOY: Why do you think that is?
ROGEN: It's completely arbitrary. When Superbad and The 40-Year-Old Virgin came out, I was the raddest guy on Ain't It Cool News. But now, for no reason, I am the fucking worst, most despicable Antichrist of comedy. All I did was make two more movies that were both pretty good, in my opinion. It's become almost obligatory to say how much you fucking hate me. It's like, "He's doing all the stuff that makes us laugh, and I hate that about him."
PLAYBOY: What was your favorite experience meeting a fan?
ROGEN: I was at a bookstore last week, and this 20-year-old guy was standing next to me in line. He noticed me and got a funny look on his face, then he finally said, "Oh my God, man, you're my hero. Look what I'm buying." He had a book on screenplay writing and an encyclopedia of marijuana. [laughs] I was like, "Yeah, I guess I really am your hero."
PLAYBOY: How do you spoil yourself? You don't seem like the kind of guy who would spend his paycheck on a fancy car or a Malibu mansion.
ROGEN: I buy a lot of Japanese pop-art toys on eBay. I have a massive collection in my house. I've always been obsessed with comic books. Both Evan and I have read tons of them. If any of our movies suck, it's because we were reading comic books instead of writing.
PLAYBOY: It's probably no surprise that you and Goldberg wrote an episode for The Simpsons about the Comic Book Guy.
ROGEN: That's the coolest thing we've done. Of everything we've accomplished, which is not much on the grand scale of things, writing for The Simpsons is the apex.
PLAYBOY: Do you identify with the Comic Book Guy?
ROGEN: As a very anal collector of things, I can definitely relate.
PLAYBOY: If your movie career hadn't worked out quite so well, could you imagine yourself with his life, running a little comic-book store in Vancouver?
ROGEN: Yeah! I sometimes think about that. What would I be doing if I weren't an actor? Working in a video store or a comic-book store is the only thing I could possibly enjoy as much. I'd be one of those guys you look at and say, "What the fuck is wrong with him? Why is he working at this fucking store? Why doesn't he get out and do something with his life?" I would definitely be that guy. Maybe I'd do a combo: a video-game-and-comic-book store. Yeah, that would be cool. That's definitely what I should do if I crap out in movies. You know, that sounds so good it's almost worth quitting for.