Seth Rogen Has a Completely Reasonable Opinion About “Cancel Culture”
"If you've made a joke that's aged terribly, accept it," the actor said.
In recent months, we’ve seen a slew of comedians complaining that “cancel culture” is destroying their craft. But we finally have someone with a reasonable opinion on the matter weighing in, thanks to a recent appearance by Seth Rogen on Good Morning Britain.
Rogen, who was on the show to promote his new memoir Yearbook, was asked about how some of his old movies contain some controversial jokes. Instead of whining about how everyone’s too “woke” these days, he owned up to the fact that not everything he’s done has aged well.
“There are certain jokes that for sure have not aged well, but I think that’s the nature of comedy,” he said. “I think conceptually those movies are sound and I think there’s a reason they’ve lasted as far as people still watching and enjoying them today. Jokes are not things that necessarily are built to last.”
“To me when I see comedians complaining about this kind of thing, I don’t understand what they’re complaining about,” he continued. “If you’ve made a joke that’s aged terribly, accept it. And if you don’t think it’s aged terribly, then say that. To me, it’s not worth complaining about to the degree I see other comedians complaining about.”
The hosts then asked Rogen if he’d ever have to search through his Twitter history and delete any old, potentially controversial tweets. “I was never a comedian that made jokes that were truly designed to target groups that were subjugated in some way,” he responded. “Have we done that without realizing it? Definitely. And those things are in our movies and they’re out there, and they’re things that I am more than happy to say that they have not aged well.”
“But in my Twitter, I’ve never made a joke that’s outwardly horrific in some way, and if you have, I would question why you did that,” he continued. “Saying terrible things is bad, so if you’ve said something terrible, then it’s something you should confront in some way, shape or form. I don’t think that’s cancel culture. That’s you saying something terrible if that’s what you’ve done.”
Finally! Here’s hoping more comedians will follow Rogen’s lead and realize that having some accountability for your words and actions is not “cancel culture.” Rogen’s actually a great example of how to successfully confront one’s past controversies and move on like an adult, without any fear or complaints about “being canceled”: just a few weeks ago, he revealed he’s done with his longtime friend and collaborator James Franco due to the sexual misconduct allegations against him, and he apologized for a joke he made on Saturday Night Live in 2014 that made light of Franco’s alleged interaction with an underage girl.
“What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that,” Rogen told the Times. “However, I do look back at a joke I made on Saturday Night Live in 2014 and I very much regret making that joke. It was a terrible joke, honestly.”
See how easy and painless that is? He’s not canceled, his career isn’t in danger — all he had to do is say “Sorry, that was a terrible joke,” and we’re all able to move on. Comedy evolves over time, just as society at large does, and Rogen’s a perfect example of how to accept it and grow as an artist and a person.
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