culture

#TheUnknownHustle: Seth Rogen

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By: Trey Taylor
September 4, 2018

He wasn’t even old enough to order a beer, but at 16, Canadian actor Seth Rogen was making the rounds in Vancouver doing stand-up comedy. His mom would chauffeur him to his shows at Yuk Yuk’s, and his hard-hitting bar mitzvah jokes had audiences in stitches. One of his signature retorts when he first started out: "I'm 13. In 30 years, I'll be 43. You'll be dead."

 

“As soon as my set was done, because I was just a kid, some places would kick me out of the club,” Rogen told The Province in 2001.

 

It was also at 16 that Rogen took second prize in the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest. But just around that time, his family fell on hard times. "When I was 16, my dad lost his job, then my mother quit hers and they had to put our house on the market and move into a much smaller apartment," he told the Toronto Star in 2008.

 

Suddenly, his dreams of making people laugh for a living were put in a pressure cooker. Next, he attended a local audition for a new NBC show called Freaks and Geeks, produced by Judd Apatow. Apatow was familiar with Rogen’s stand-up and cast him in the role of wisecracker Ken Miller. Rogen dropped out of high school, and his family relocated to Los Angeles.

 

With his television debut, Rogen was able to return the favor to his parents, who had supported his comedy from a young age. "I supported them to some degree, but with your parents isn't it always a question of who's supporting who? It was always the family's money. It was never my money,” he said. The Vancouver export is the voice of the Canadian city’s mass transit system and boasts a net worth of $55 million. Who’s laughing now?