How Pot Enthusiast Seth Rogen Took Hollywood By Storm

If you want to shatter some stereotypical views of a pot enthusiast, spend a day shadowing Canadian Seth Rogen. Because he's more than an artist. The writer, director, producer, and award-winning actor is easily one of the most hard-working people in Hollywood, and his quiet domination of the entertainment business began when Rogen came on the scene at the young age of 16.

From the beginning, Rogen had stories to tell and a unique vision, albeit those stories were edgy and at times downright filthy — but also hilarious and seemingly what audiences wanted. From starring in blockbuster comedies to sitting in the director's chair to navigating the role of producer, there doesn't seem to be anything Rogen hasn't attempted and conquered. Rather than sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labor, he instead uses his celebrity status to help others and started a charity with his wife, actor Lauren Miller-Rogen.

Even Rogen's father, who spoke to the The New York Times in 2021, compared him to Alex Keaton on the show "Family Ties." Where Keaton is conservative and his parents are liberal (like Rogen's parents), Rogen has strong career ambitions that didn't come from his folks. "It surprises me that he's such a workaholic! ... Seth is multitasking on 10 projects at any given moment," said his dad. And while those projects bring the actor a paycheck, his success also gains him respect and Hollywood street cred. So, let's take a look at some of the magic Seth Rogen has been stirring up on the small and big screens and how he makes it all happen.

He met his writing partner when he was 12

Back in 1994, a young budding comedian, Seth Rogen, met a new friend, someone with whom Rogen not only shared common interests but seemed to have the same ambitions and drive to entertain people and make them laugh. As the years went by, only one of them would spend a considerable amount of time in front of the camera, as well. As Rogen shared on "The Howard Stern Show" in 2014, he met Evan Goldberg in bar mitzvah class.

Their first professional credit together was writing some episodes of Sacha Baron Cohen's "Da Ali G Show," followed by the comedy short "Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse" — which makes it all the more impressive that their next project was hugely successful: "Superbad." Next would be a string of films, "Pineapple Express," "The Green Hornet," "The Watch," and the animated film "Sausage Party," where Rogen pulled double duty as writer and actor. Rogen and Goldberg even started a production company, Point Grey Pictures, in 2011, producing several of their jointly-written projects as well as other successful ventures like "Pam & Tommy."

Of their long-time partnership, Rogen told Stern, "It's not lost on me that we have a like a very healthy, good working relationship with one another." He went on to say that he's watched numerous writing partnerships crash and burn while theirs remains strong. In November 2022, Variety reported that Rogen and Goldberg are writing and directing a comedy series for Apple TV+.

Judd Apatow had a significant impact on his career

Seth Rogen started as a writer and standup comedian, but it wasn't long before the young man proved he could shine in front of the camera as an actor — even though, as he shared on the "Hawk vs Wolf" podcast in 2023, a huge catalyst was the fact that he was failing high school classes and was in dire need of money. Thankfully, auditions in his hometown of Vancouver led to the right move for his future. "I moved to Los Angeles with a job and with, like, a good group of people who I still work with and talk to regularly," he shared. 

Producer Judd Apatow, who cast Rogen in "Freaks and Geeks," told Vanity Fair in 2012, "Everything he said made us laugh. The smart, sweet, grounded person we now know him to be seemed impossible back then. He seemed like a mad, troublemaking Canadian lunatic who was quiet and angry and might kill you." Rogen chalked this angst up to repressed sexual energy.

Rogen remembers his first impressions of Apatow were that he was "passionate" and hard-working. The two worked together again on the series "Undeclared," which Rogen reminisced about in a 2019 GQ interview. "He would boo us off camera if he didn't like what we were doing," he said, adding, "I was 18, so I just took it." This system, though harsh, worked for the young actor, who appeared in more Apatow films including "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Funny People," and "Knocked Up."

Knocked Up transformed him from Geek to leading man

The year 2007 was a stellar one for Seth Rogen. Even before the August release of "Superbad," Rogen was walking the red carpet in June at the premiere of Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up," which he starred in opposite Katherine Heigl. She played a beautiful reporter who gets pregnant after a one-night stand with an unemployed slacker. Audiences and critics alike seemed to buy into the mismatched couple – People called the film "comic chicken soup for the Colbert Nation soul," while KPBS said, "Rogen is a truly likable slouch who doesn't aspire to much in life except to be happy."

Maybe not Oscar-worthy praise, but a nice feather in his cap for his first role as leading man. But how did Rogen end up in this position? In an interview with MTV, Apatow shared that Rogen kept going to him with various ideas, most of which were of the sci-fi genre, but Apatow had a different, more basic vision in mind, telling Rogen, "Seth, you are funny just standing there. You do not need aliens or ghosts or magical powers."

In 2019, after explaining that he was apprehensive over his starring role, Rogen told GQ: "I was pretty cocky when I was younger, though. I look back and marvel at how little self-doubt I had in comparison to now." Something that added to his comfort level was the fact that many of his real-life friends played his friends in the movie, including Jonah Hill and Jason Segel. Hilariously, his character's apartment was reminiscent of Rogen's actual apartment.

Superbad paved the way for a new type of comedy

When young Jewish Canadian Seth Rogen met Evan Goldberg, he found a friend for life, but as the two friends got older, they weren't seeing themselves represented in the comedies playing out on the big screen in the '90s. So, they set out to change that, writing a story surrounding their lives growing up. As wild as some of the scenes in "Superbad" were, Rogen and Goldberg wrote from what they knew, aging up the characters as the writers themselves became adults.

"At first it was just almost like scenes of things that had happened to us ... It almost was like high school sketches," he said on "Off Camera with Sam Jones." Some of these life experiences depicted in the movie were drinking, getting kicked out of a strip club, one friend vomiting on another, and a group attempt to lose their virginity.

In 2007, Rogen shared with ET, "We'd been trying to sell this script for eight years almost. After around six years you begin to think, 'Maybe no one's gonna make this movie.'" The film proved to be box-office gold, bringing in $170.8 million worldwide and ushering in the era of the "raunchy" comedy that wasn't just teen movies, either. It was likely no coincidence that 2008's "Stepbrothers" and 2009's "Hangover" followed, as well as 2010's "Get Him to the Greek," all films in which the debauchery of young men provides side-splitting laughs for the audience and dollar signs for filmmakers.

This is the End was Seth Rogen's directorial debut

After a decade in the entertainment business, actor-writer Seth Rogen was ready to take things to the next level — as a director. It was a good thing he had a ton of actor friends to help make it happen. "This is the End," which Rogen wrote with Evan Goldberg and Jason Stone and starred in alongside James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, and Craig Robinson, gives a hilarious account of what would happen to celebrities during an apocalypse. There were also fun cameos from Rihanna, Channing Tatum, and Kevin Hart.

Providing some realism to the film is the fact that the actors all played themselves. However, as Rogen shared with GQ, the studio strongly disliked that story concept, so Rogen fought to keep his vision authentic and used his role to get the actors on board. "Honestly, the reason we directed it is 'cause we were like, 'None of these people will do this if we're not directing it.'" 

In terms of the added responsibility of directing, Rogen said on "The Howard Stern Show" that he and Goldberg were almost always in sync and worked very well together. "I would be really nervous doing it alone, honestly," he added. The film, which was adapted from the video short "Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse," made $126 million at the box office worldwide, was nominated for a Saturn Award, and won the duo best comedy director at the American Comedy Awards.

His distinctive sound is part of the voiceover realm

When Seth Rogen got hired for his first acting job on "Freaks and Geeks," he decided to work with an acting coach, who gave him some disturbing advice. According to what filmmaker Paul Feig told Vanity Fair in 2012, the coach said, "You've got to change your voice or you'll never get hired." If you've heard Rogen talk and roll out his raspy chuckle, you know that's easier said than done. Thankfully, Rogen didn't heed the advice, and he found yet another avenue to showcase his talents: as a voice actor.

Rogen's first voice acting role was in a 2006 episode of "American Dad." And while Rogen has shared his voice in other television shows such as "The Simpsons" and 2021's "Santa Inc.," the actor has done even more in films. He appeared in the box office hit movie franchise "Kung Fu Panda," in 2011 he played the alien, Paul, in the sci-fi comedy "Paul," and in 2019, he voiced Pumbaa in "The Lion King," a role in which he also had to sing.

In 2019, Rogen voiced the lead character for "Sausage Party," which he co-wrote and produced. Rogen told Jimmy Fallon of this decade-long project, "We really wanted it to feel like a Pixar movie ... and then we made it completely deranged and insane. Pixar is so good at examining the secret life of cars and toys and bugs. And we were like, if you look at the secret life of food, it's horrifying, 'cause you eat it."

Rogen's star rose in front of and behind the camera

Despite playing the role of a foul-mouthed sausage in 2016, Seth Rogen spent much of the 2010s as a leading man. He played a superhero in "The Green Hornet," starred opposite Barbra Streisand in "The Guilt Trip," held his own as love interest to Charlize Theron's character in "Long Shot," and portrayed Steve Wozniak in "Steve Jobs."

Not only did the actor solidify his place in front of the camera, but his partnership with Evan Goldberg was still going strong, with the pair writing and producing many of the works Rogen acted in as well as other successful film and TV projects. In 2014, Rogen's production company, Point Grey Pictures, produced "Neighbors," which Rogen starred in with Rose Byrne and Zac Efron. In 2016, the writing duo signed on as producers for the sequel, "Neighbors 2: Sorority Uprising." Talk about irons in the fire.

Ironically, one of those irons almost got Rogen burned in 2014 when a film he wrote, produced, and starred in caused a political controversy. "The Interview," a dark action comedy about a celebrity tabloid that gets an interview with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, nearly didn't make it to audiences. According to the BBC, North Korea reported that the release of the movie would signal an "act of war." The film was eventually released, but Rogen shared on "The Graham Norton Show," "It's bad to be blamed for almost starting a war." He also revealed that for a time he had to have security with him.

Having kids was not conducive to his busy life

In 2004, rising star Seth Rogen met his future wife, actor and writer-producer Lauren Miller Rogen, in sort of a blind date way, when Seth's friend invited them both to a birthday party at a restaurant. According to what he shared with Haute Living, there was an immediate connection. So much so that neither wanted the evening together to end, so they extended their "date" into the wee hours of the morning, eating grilled cheese and playing Spanish Scrabble.

The couple married in 2011, and after more than a decade of marriage, Seth and Lauren are stronger than ever, their careers are both going well, and they remain happily kid-free. In 2018, when Seth was on Dax Shepard's "Armchair Expert" podcast, Shepard was surprised the couple didn't have children, and his guest admitted that he and Lauren had thought about parenthood. But then Seth spent the next few minutes pondering aloud how different — and less fun — his life would be, adding, "It seems like a lot."

The star reiterated those sentiments in 2021 while on "The Howard Stern Show." Stern brought up the subject, telling Seth, "I don't think you would be able to give the time to being a good father." Instead of being affronted, the actor wholeheartedly agreed. Not only would children hinder the extremely full schedule he keeps, but, Seth went on to say, "We have so much fun. Like, I don't know anyone who gets as much happiness out of their kids as we get out of our non kids."

He has Tourette Syndrome

Fortunately for Seth Rogen, he found his calling at an early age, but his school years were definitely a struggle. Seth's parents, Mark and Sandy Rogen, told The New York Times in 2021 that their son got into trouble so often, they spent a lot of time at the school talking to teachers and the principal. He also suffered from night terrors and eventually had to be prescribed a new diet. 

As he got older, he was able to channel some of his energy into sports. Then at some point, as his father explained, marijuana seemed to help Seth with what Mark believed was undiagnosed ADD. In 2021, Seth shared with British GQ that he pretty much smokes weed all throughout the day, every day. He compared his need for weed to shoes or clothes. "Your feet would hurt, otherwise," he said.

In 2021, Rogen and Ted Cruz had a brief back-and-forth on Twitter. After Cruz recounted his fear of the Disney film "Fantasia," Rogen responded, "Everyone who made that film would hate you." Cruz quote-tweeted Rogen and claimed, "They're all dead. So I think we're good. And Walt Disney was a Republican. Even though you behave online like a Marxist with Tourette's ... your movies are typically pretty funny. I'm sure you hate that I enjoy them." Rogen tweeted back, "As someone who has Tourette's in their family (and also has a very mild case himself), I once again take great pleasure in telling you to go f*** yourself." 

Founding a charity with his wife for those affected by Alzheimer's was rewarding

When actors Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller married in 2011, they already had the makings of a serious power couple. The pair have worked together in front of the camera, written scripts together, and even when they're working on separate projects, they often are sitting together and supporting each other, as they shared with Us Weekly in 2022.

But it is another project altogether that brings the most to their marriage. In 2012, they launched the nonprofit organization "Hilarity for Charity." The HFC website states that they're "on a mission to care for families impacted by Alzheimer's disease, activate the next generation of Alzheimer's advocates, and be a leader in brain health research and education." Sadly, one of the catalysts for the creation of the organization was Lauren's mother, Adele Miller, passing away in 2020 from early-onset Alzheimer's. "I personally have gotten so much out of the fortunate opportunity that we had to help other people, which has, in turn, helped me process the loss that my family went through with my mom having this terrible disease," Lauren told Us Weekly.

Since they founded HLC, the good has reached beyond what they expected. Rogen said, "I've actually had celebrities reach out to me who I barely know and say, like, 'Oh someone in my family got Alzheimer's. I would love to help your organization some way if I could.'" In addition, Rogen's Point Grey Pictures has signed on to an animated film based on "Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother and Me," a memoir by Sarah Leavitt, per Deadline.

Seth Rogen created a reputable Cannabis Brand

When you consume something every day, you want it to be top-notch — and what better way to ensure that than to start your own company and produce that product yourself? In 2019, along with his writing partner, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen founded Houseplant, a cannabis and lifestyle brand. "I love weed, and I love art and design. Houseplant is the combination of these passions," Rogen told Forbes.

You might be wondering about the "art and design" part. For the lifestyle side of things, the idea came from Rogen's desire to furnish and decorate his home to complement his tastes and affinity for smoking marijuana, a niche he told AD was lacking in the industry. In fact, it was during COVID-19 quarantine that his skills really took hold, and Rogen spent a lot of his time at home doing pottery and ceramics. During a virtual interview on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," he shared, "So many of our friends wanted to do pottery, we got a literal third wheel, me and my wife, to allow our friends to do pottery with us." Now the company sells things like creative ashtrays, rolling trays, lighter holders, and decorative orbs. There's even a tab on the site labeled "By Seth."

Another interesting aspect about the business is that Houseplant is based out of an actual house, as Rogen shared a tour with Architectural Digest, and it's decorated with the same type of aesthetic Rogen had in mind for his own dwelling.

His Yearbook became a New York Times bestseller

As if Seth Rogen wasn't busy enough running his own business, writing, acting, and producing, the man who wears many hats decided to become an author. In 2021, he published a memoir entitled "Yearbook," which he describes in the synopsis as "a collection of true stories that I desperately hope are just funny at worst, and life-changingly amazing at best" (via Penguin Random House). The biography covers everything from his young years to his family, his standup days, and some of his adventures in Los Angeles.

To promote his book, ranked #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, Rogen went on "Good Morning America" and shared a few anecdotes, including that in much of the '90s he wore vests. "I was from a Jewish elementary school where we wore uniforms, and I didn't know how to dress myself, literally, and the only fashion inspiration I had was Val Kilmer in 'Tombstone' and he wore cowboy vests." It was also revealed on the show that Rogen's mother wasn't thrilled about the amount of space in the book given to the topic of drugs (though Rogen noted her support).

So what's next for Rogen, when he appears to have done it all? One look at his IMDb page and you'll see that he's as busy as ever. Numerous projects are in the works, and in spring 2023, the creative celebrates the premiere of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," in which Rogen plays Donkey Kong.