Though he only appeared in one film over the course of the pandemic, Seth Rogen has nevertheless somehow managed to be one of the busiest guys in Hollywood during quarantine. He has continued to operate traditionally within the industry, producing and starring in Pam and Tommy while playing the guy who stole Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson’s sex tape, but he’s also launched a wildly successful weed company and written Yearbook, an autobiographical series of essays.
I read the book this week in two quick sittings (it’s not only incredibly entertaining, it’s also short), and among the highlights was a story about his first encounter with Snoop Dog, a story about the time Tom Cruise tried to pitch Rogen and Judd Apatow on Scientology, a bizarre a dinner with Nic Cage, and the time George Lucas warned Rogen that the world would end in 2012 but refused to offer Rogen space in his post-apocalyptic bunker.
One funny and incredibly depressing story from the book that I haven’t seen as discussed outside the memoir (and a 2014 Seth Rogen tweet) was the time that comedian Eddie Griffin went on an anti-Semitic rant in an elevator with Rogen and Jonah Hill.
“I’m glad I saw you guys,” Griffin said to Rogen and Hill in a Las Vegas elevator. “I saw your movie. The high school movie,” Griffin continued. “I’ve been trying to make a movie for a while now, but no one will make it. But they made yours. And you know why?” he asked.
“No, why?” Rogen responded.
“Because I’m Black, and you’re Jewish, motherf***ers.”
Rogen said that he and Jonah Hill awkwardly laughed, thinking it was some sort of terrible joke. “Oh yeah, what do you mean by that?” Rogen asked.
“I mean, you Jewish motherf***ers run Hollywood, and you only make movies with other Jewish motherf***ers.”
“Oh,” Rogen remembers thinking. “This isn’t a joke. This dude is just going on some anti-Semitic tirade.”
“Sorry, I guess?” Jonah Hill said, trying to make a joke. Griffin, however, did not pick up on the fact that Hill was trying to let him off the hook.
“Don’t be sorry,” Griffin implored. “Tell your Jews to let other people make some movies.”
After the elevator ride, Rogen said that he and Hill tried to process what had just happened. “It’s insane because he’s ignoring the fact that if there’s one thing the Jewish people are not above, it’s making money producing things that are fronted by Black people. Anyone who has ever seen a biopic of a Black musician knows the character I’m talking about, and he’s usually very appropriately played by my dear friend David Krumholtz.”
Rogen, by the way, told this story during the same chapter where he recounts his frustrating attempt to convince Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to do something about the white supremacists who continue to run rampant on Twitter.
Seth Rogen’s Yearbook is terrific and it’s currently available wherever you get your books.