It must be great to be Seth Rogen, at least on paper.
The former “Freaks and Geeks” star graduated to big-screen comedies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Pineapple Express” and “Superbad,” the latter of which he co-wrote.
He even survived an ill-fated attempt at superhero stardom via 2011’s “The Green Hornet.”
That gave him the Hollywood clout to branch out into producing, witness credits like “Invincible,” “The Boys” and “Preacher.” And he still appears regularly in front of the camera, too (“An American Pickle,” “Long Shot”).
Top of the world, Ma … right?
So why does he sound so miserable? He recently bragged about DM-ing naysayers on Twitter, taking particular relish in trashing them on a personal level. It’s like an anti-Cameo gig without any money changing hands.
A lot of people come at me and talk shit on Twitter hoping I’ll engage with them publicly and give them attention, but instead I DM them and tell them to go fuck themselves privately. It’s a lot more fun.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) November 25, 2021
That’s not what happy, healthy people do.
More recently, Rogen lashed out at anyone who disliked his HBO Max comedy series, “Santa Inc.” via the far-Left playbook.
We really pissed off tens of thousands of white supremacists with our new show #SantaInc which is now available on HBOMAX! (Please read the responses to this tweet for confirmation)
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) December 3, 2021
The show, which sports a withering 3 percent “rotten” rating at RottenTomatoes.com, follows a feminist elf named Candy Smalls (Sarah Silverman) trying to become the new Santa. Rogen voices the existing Kris Kringle, an old white man clinging to power like his fellow old, white men.
The set-up is unreservedly woke, one reason the project angered so many viewers. Or, the show may just be a comedic let down. The trailer teems with profanity but few genuine laughs.
Plus, respectable outlets like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, which both lean rigorously to the Left, came away unimpressed by “Santa Inc.” Decider.com tried to put an upbeat spin on its review, but it also said, “most of those gags are superfluous and not all that funny.”
Are those critics “white supremacists,” too? Rogen previously co-starred in the raunchy Christmas comedy “The Night Before.” Did those same “white supremacists” take down that film, too?
Negative feedback comes with being an entertainer. Try finding a stand-up comic who hasn’t suffered an early, disastrous gig. Most would say they learned something valuable from those failures.
Even the best actors generate negative reviews. They can either ignore the brickbats or learn something from them.
Rogen chose Option C, which seems neither productive nor fair.
It speaks to a larger Hollywood trend, one in which actors directly antagonize their audience. Or, at least, segments they assume will never embrace their work.
It’s easy to sense Rogen long ago wrote off Red State U.S.A., too, even if many members howled at Rogen’s early on-screen antics. The progressive star once embarrassed Rep. Paul Ryan to his face rather than share a kindness in front of the Republican’s teen kids.
Ryan remains one of the Right’s more cautious speakers, a far cry from polarizing folks like President Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson or Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Yet Rogen still trashed him in front of his children.
Rogen’s progressive nature may factor into his recent rage. The actor shot to fame thanks to comedies that “haven’t aged well,” according to cultural scolds. He even apologized for writing some of the stinging barbs in “Superbad,” a movie just 13 years old.
His newer work reflects an “evolved” mindset. Think “Long Shot,” the 2019 dud that overflowed with progressive nods. Now he gives us “Santa Inc.” in time for the holidays.
There could be a method to his cranky madness.
Some stars overcompensate for their “problematic” resumes by going woke, hoping it will camouflage their prior thought crimes.
Rogen’s current persona may be a defense mechanism against Cancel Culture, which longs to “uncover” older art in order to destroy it.
That helps explain why he suddenly disavowed frequent co-star James Franco long after the accusations against the Oscar nominee went public.
“Don’t take my career away. I’m an ally to the cause!”
That tactic often pays dividends. It saved Howard Stern from being canceled for his past “offenses,” and it similarly protected Jimmy Kimmel from his own problematic past.
Except Rogen may be chipping away at his own audience at the worst possible time.
His recent works have failed to draw a crowd. “An American Pickle” earned generous reviews but hardly caught the pop culture zeitgeist. (Outlets like HBO Max, where the film bowed, rarely share their ratings or views).
“Long Shot” bombed two years ago, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” perhaps the moment when Rogen first embraced the woke agenda, tanked. His last cinematic hit was “Sausage Party,” the irreverent 2016 comedy he co-wrote.
Of course Rogen’s “white supremacist” rant may not be directly aimed at his critics. It’s the kind of warped political commentary that curries favor with Hollywood progressives. “Santa Inc.” co-star Sarah Silverman, whose career has followed a similar path to Rogen’s, similarly weighed in on the show’s critics.
Now that Elf is now a new code for Jews, please enjoy all the codes for antisemitic shite on the web. I won’t put a trigger warning on it since it’s just Jew hatred. People seem 👌 w it https://t.co/GdgfjuYjfU
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 2, 2021
Stars like Rogen look past their audience to address their fellow stars and producers, hoping it lands them their next gig. It’s professional Virtue Signaling, but it leaves an obvious question.
Fear. Fear all their woke posturing won’t be enough to protect them. The Left loved J.K. Rowling and Dave Chappelle until each stepped gently off the progressive plantation. Look what happened next.
Fear a younger, funnier voice will emerge and make their presence unnecessary.
Fear that their funniest days are behind them, and only by towing a politically correct line will keep them gainfully employed.
No wonder Rogen sounds so miserable.
UPDATE: A new browser extension allows YouTube users to see how many “Down” votes a video receives. The “Santa Inc.” trailer, for example, has earned nearly 110K dislikes to a mere 3.7K likes, but YouTube recently changed its policies to make those negative views visible only to the people who posted the videos in question.
SICK OF WOKE HOLLYWOOD? ME, TOO: It’s why I wrote “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” – coming Jan. 18, 2022. Pre-order now!