“When I apologize to people, generally I do not take to a public forum to do it,” whispered Seth Rogen into the microphone.
He leaned back in his seat and allowed Howard Stern to go on another diatribe, peppered by comments from Robin. Seth was upset at Katherine Heigl for calling him a sexist, and when she apologized publicly, he felt it wasn't enough. He wanted a personal apology, and he just told the world. His manager would be upset, but he didn’t care.
A few years ago, Seth was sitting in his apartment, sobbing. Funny People bombed and the Green Hornet’s returns were tepid, if not cold. His phone had been off for days and yet nobody came.
Except for one person.
After failing to get a callback from Seth for over 72 hours, Rogen’s manager crawled through a window and found Seth slumped against his refrigerator.
“What’s the matter, champ?” he asked.
Seth looked up and answered, “I am no longer able to conjure humor.”
The manager took the Jack Daniels bottle out of Seth’s hands and said, “that’s what I’m here for.”
After pouring a pot of black coffee down Seth’s throat, he ordered him a chef and a trainer. No longer would he be the rotund clown. No, he would be repackaged as a half-handsome everyman. His ability to conjure humor gone, his goofy eyes and hearty laugh were now two pieces of wreckage of his old self upon which he would float on for the rest of his career. But what about the comedy?
His manager took care of that.
Days earlier on the Tonight Show he lip synced and danced to “Hot-Line Bling.” When his handlers submitted the bit to Jimmy Fallon’s people, they balked.
“Eh, this song is like a year old now, and it’s already been parodied and lip synced, even on this show,” said the head writer.
Seth sat stoically and eyed his manager, who continued.
“Not only will Seth be lip syncing this dumb fucking song, but he’s gonna do it within inches of your band and they’re gonna act like they fucking love it. They’re gonna act like it’s the funniest fucking thing in the world.”
This was a tall order. Jimmy Fallon’s band was The Roots, a group of talented African-American musicians. They would not like seeing a white actor mocking a fellow African-American artist. Seth stood up and walked out of the room, leaving his handlers and the Tonight Show team quietly looking up from their seats.
His manager waited until Seth was out of earshot and glared at the executive producer.
“Or he walks, like he just fucking did out of this room.”
The Tonight Show couldn’t lose a draw like Seth Rogen. It was not as though Jimmy would care anyway, they had lost him months ago.
When Seth got into the back of his car, his manager was sitting there waiting. After a few miles, Seth broke the silence.
“I said what I believe. I am owed an apology. Judd is owed an apolo...”
“Shut your dumb fucking mouth,” answered the manager, “shut it right now."
Seth stared straight ahead. His manager continued.
“I put you on Howard Stern to laugh and talk about getting high and then laugh again, that’s all you fucking do. You don’t take a big steaming pile of shit on your female demographic!”
Seth stared out his window, expressionless.
“This will be in the news cycle for a few weeks but it’ll die down. Sausage Party isn’t counting on the female demo, thank God, but this shit better die down for your next dumb fucking rom-com.”
Seth continued staring as his car drove down Madison Avenue. He liked to look into the shops. He decided to tell his assistant to buy him a new suit in LA. Gucci. He looked at his manager, who was now scrolling through his iPhone. Seth started to feel badly that he let down the one person who saved his career. But he would not apologize. Those days were over. Now, people apologized to him.
He was America’s Funnyman.