A Very Short and Very Jewish Interview With Seth Rogen

We talked tikkun olam, bar mitzvah themes, and Jewish humor with Seth Rogen.

What’s my type? Unassumingly-intellectual-productive-stoner-Jewish summer-camp-vibe. In a nutshell? Seth Rogen

Seemingly everyone but Seth Rogen knows I’ve got the hots for him. Actually, I have the hots for his wife, Lauren Miller Rogen, too. They’re the ultimate power couple I’d never want to get between. Metaphorically, of course. Physically? Well, duh. 

Over the past two years I’ve spent writing for a Jewish website I took advantage of every opportunity to cover Seth Rogen in the hopes that he’d notice me, including ranking his mom’s best tweets. Did it work? Not quite. But when I got the opportunity to interview him at a Worker’s Circle event this past winter, for a gala that honored his dedication to learning Yiddish for a role in his Jewiest movie yet, An American Pickle, my entire office squealed gleefully along with me. 

Standing in a corner of the Central Park South Hotel’s parlor, clutching a glass of red wine in one trembling hand, and staring down at the crumpled list of questions for him in the other, I was totally unprepared to see Seth Rogen and his dad Mark just a few feet away from me. 

The weirdest part? I wasn’t star-struck at all. 

seth rogen

My evening — ahem, five minutes — with Seth Rogen reaffirmed why I love him so much: He’s the stoner next door whose gruffly laugh makes you (me) feel like you (I) grew up going to Hebrew school together. Sure, he’s an A-list celeb, but he’s also my extremely distant Jewish cousin. 

Without further gushing, I present thee with my pride, joy, and biggest claim to fame: a very short and very Jewish interview with my celebrity crush, the one, the only, Seth Rogen. 

As a prominent figure who’s being honored for promoting Jewish identity, do you feel pressure to portray Judaism in a positive light in your work?

No. Hahaha. I feel pressure to reflect my personal experience with Judaism, which has been very positive in many ways, and I think like all organized religion, has its downsides. Hahahaha.

Do you believe comedy can be a form of tikkun olam, or healing the world? 

I think it can be if it’s inclusive comedy, and comedy with the right message. I think comedy, like a lot of art forms, can be used for the right purposes and the wrong purposes. I think we try to bring people together without movies and try to spread good values. Ultimately I think our movies live and die on the fact that, in general, they’re telling people to be pretty good people if they can. 

What’s your favorite Yiddish word? 

My grandmother would always yell at me for having shpilkes [anxiety] because I was a very fidgety kid who couldn’t sit still. So shpilkes is the one that really sticks out of my head, which means you have pins and needles in your ass, literally. I think.

What was your bar mitzvah theme? 

I had no theme! In Vancouver we didn’t really have themes for our bar mitzvahs.

So your theme was bar mitzvah. 

Yes, it was bar mitzvah themed, hahaha. 

Do you remember your speech? Was it like a stand-up routine? 

No… I remember thinking at the time that if you could fail a bar mitzvah, I would have. I did read Torah but I did not do great… It was like… I wasn’t into it. No one was. It was a mutually unpleasant experience for all parties involved, I think. 

Growing up, did you ever feel othered as a Jew? 

I went to Jewish elementary school and so I was completely surrounded by Jews up until I was 12 or 13, and I was really longing for some non-Jews in my life. Once I got to high school I pretty much only became friends with Jewish people. Because I went to private school I was getting a very, you know, sheltered version of things. And so once I went to public school, it felt like that opened up a little bit. 

Can I ask you one more question? 

Of course. 

Is it true you only smoke joints that you roll? 

I try to. Hahahaha. 

Thank you so much! *whispers* I love you!

Header image design by Grace Yagel; background image by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Arielle Kaplan

Arielle Kaplan (she/her) makes content for horny Jews. Brooklyn based, she co-hosts Oral History, a podcast on seductresses from Cleopatra to Jessica Rabbit, and moonlights as a sex influencer as Whoregasmic on Instagram. Find her bylines on Salty Magazine, Kveller, The Nosher, and JTA.

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