I’d no sooner finished reading Canadian comic Seth Rogen’s memoir, Yearbook, written my review and filed it (it should be in the paper this week), than I was picking it up to read again. Second time just for laughs.
Reading it without the review in the back of my mind was a very different experience – it always is.
I must have loved it to give it a second go, eh? I really did loved it. I’m a huge fan of drug stories and Hollywood stories, so Rogen’s life tales are naturally my jam. The way he writes, just like the way he speaks, is funny, warm, self aware and perhaps more importantly, authentic. It’s a kind of humour that easily meshes with the stories he’s telling, that it never feels contrived.
I’m super envious of that. He’s self assured without being cocky or too self depricating. There’s self depricating humour, and then there’s the fishing humble brag that’s actually worse than being a cocky shit.Anyway, Rogen is none of those things!
So I re-read his book to try and get a sense of how he does what he does, and I’m sorry to report that there’s no trick to being as funny as Seth Rogen. That’s just who he is.
He’s made himself into that person, he worked hard – since childhood, he did his first stand up show when he was 12 – to become it. And he had a lot of support, too. He comes from a family that values comedy, they would go to see stand up and watched it at home.
I’m impressed by the line he walks between salacious Hollywood tell all and personal exploration. His essays expose their fair share of Hollywood weirdness but never gets nasty. It’s not pay back time. If anything it feels more like Rogen trying to make sense of his good luck, trying to come to terms with his crazy life.
He’s also nice without being insipid. That’s talent.
It’s hard to pick a favourite story, but it’s a toss up between the Nicholas Cage madness – you’ll likely have read about that in the media buzz around the book’s launch – the story about his drug odyssey in Amsterdam and the final story of the book, which is a doozy.
Anyway, if you’ve ever loved a Rogen movie, voted yes to legalising pot, and love a Jewish anecdote or ten, then you will enjoy the book. If you’re not a fan… what are you even doing here man? (Kidding, some of my best friends have terrible taste, so you’re welcome here too.)
Amazon has Yearbook for $16.80. It’s a pretty little edition, with dustcover and fabric hard cover. Nice.