Phone bookby Seth Rogen (Hachette, $37.99)
Reviewed by Kylie Klein-Nixon
OPINION: For a very long time, I suspected that Seth Rogen would be the perfect date for dinner.
He’s smart, but not too smart to take advantage of a well-crafted d… and/or fart prank; driven, despite being the poster child of the modern stoner lifestyle; and funnyalthough for the guy who wrote and starred in Pineapple Expressthis kind of goes without saying.
It might surprise you to know that the cartoon Canuck is also a skilled hand at the potter’s wheel, crafting psychedelic vases and ashtrays like a pro. He even runs his own cookware and housewares business. The guy has depth, that’s what I’m saying.
It is therefore a pleasure to report that nothing of his say-almost-all memories, Phone book, proved that my suspicions were wrong. If anything, reading it (devoured like a pothead with the munchies, in two sittings no less) turned what was a warm appreciation into a full-fledged high school-style crush.
* Seth Rogen says the 8 Mile audition was the “weirdest” of his career
* Seth Rogen’s housewares site is so popular it breaks on opening day
* Seth Rogen shares a rare tribute to his ‘perfect partner’ Lauren Miller on their wedding anniversary
* Seth Rogen explains how he spent over $21,000 on Postmates
Where most celebrities’ first memoirs are tedious work every minute of their life before fame, Rogen is more like tapas, a series of vivid, sometimes sharp, often excruciating, always hilarious vignettes that, in style classic stoners, pay no attention to the timeline.
It’s clear he longs for the freedom and innocence of his pre-fame life: Phone book is surrounded by cheerfully chaotic tales of his youth, with the meaty bits of celebrities sandwiched in between.
Nonetheless, his stories clash, peppered with Rogen’s self-assured but oddly self-deprecating humor, often so unexpected that you risk choking if you’re stupid enough to have something in your mouth while reading. I share this warning from an embarrassing personal experience.
Rogen has practiced a lot to make his fans laugh. In the first chapter of the book, we learn that he started doing stand up at 12 – he still I wanted to be the guy who made people gasp by laughing so hard.
Perhaps even crazier is that his parents actively supported him in this calling, pushing him into comedy clubs and finding him his first stand-up studio when he was still a young man. than a preteen.
It was there that the crisp comedian taking the class taught the budding comic his first, and perhaps most crucial, lesson: “Fun isn’t funny. Comedy is pain. It’s the struggle.
Rogen uses a few more non-printing words to express this notion, but that’s the Seth.
It’s no surprise, then, that his teenage years of failure, bullying, mild bullying that backfired horribly, heavy drug use, and nature itself backfiring, figure prominently in Phone book.
As for his career, the number of chapters devoted to his successes: 0, the number devoted to films he wrote that failed or caused an international geopolitical incident: 2, the number devoted to winning in adult life: 1, and even that is mostly down to meeting his wife, actress and writer Laura Miller.
Rogen’s authenticity and self-awareness with this stuff is one of the most charming things about Phone book – that and the way you hear each tale in its cartoon grizzly voice in your head. (True fans needn’t imagine it, Rogen recorded the audiobook version himself.)
That’s quite a feat for a first author, let alone someone who has managed to navigate the smarm-infested waters of Hollywood.
While Rogen does a lot of Hollyweird — Nicholas Cage’s bizarre auditions, Tom Cruise’s awkward dates, the anecdote about when he was inexplicably trapped in a limo for two hours with Kanye West — he’s the crazy ones. laughter, Tolkien-style maps of his hometown, and a teenage angst that will have you wishing for more.
It’s the deep crockpot of life stories that Rogen has tapped into for his best work: Pineapple Express and super bad. That’s what makes the idea of sitting across from him for a few hours so delightful.
While reading Phone book it’s like sitting at the dinner party of your dreams, across from Rogen, his childhood pal and longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg and a host of unwittingly hilarious characters that includes the Mohel who gave him his first movie job. writing, his very liberal parents, and a Jewish summer camp counselor who probably shouldn’t have been left in charge of the kids — and listening to them bicker.
Just remember not to put food in your mouth before you start.