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28th Jul 2023

Seth Rogen discusses the joke that he regrets making in The-40-Year Old Virgin

'It's not fun to be in the theatre when people are laughing at that'

Tom Todhunter

‘It’s not fun to be in the theatre when people are laughing at that’

Just like any other piece of art, every single film is influenced by the period in which its made.

Cinematography, sound design, costume, special effects, and almost every single aspect of the production process adapts to the time in which its made but it’s arguable that scriptwriting is the area that’s most noticeable.

Simply put, certain jokes, pop-culture references, and scenes can seem to be quite dated but like anything else, they’re a product of the environment in which they’re created.

During an interview with GQ in 2019, Rogen was asked what it’s like to write comedy that’s funny but respectful. Essentially, in the ‘woke era,’ how hard is it to make people laugh without offending others?

The star of Superbad and Pineapple Express said that it’s something that he’s acutely aware of and believes that some of his earlier work has not aged well.

The writer/actor specifically referenced the ‘You know how I know you’re gay?’ scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin. If you’ve seen the film, the scene involves Paul Rudd’s character Cal telling David (Rogen) that he’s now celibate.

The conversation then involves the two characters telling the other how they know they’re gay.

“Evan (Goldberg) recently was like, ‘By the time my kids are grown, all of our work will be deemed unwatchable.’ He’s like, ‘I have no doubt about it. I think entire parts of culture will just be deemed regressive and no one will fucking watch it anymore, and there’s a good chance our movies will fit into that category.’

“I think if you actually care, then it’s easy. We do not want people to feel bad when they’re watching our movies. I’ve had people come up to me and be like, ‘That made me feel like shit when I was in the movie theatre and everyone was laughing about that.’ Like the ‘How I know you’re gay’ thing [from The 40-Year-Old Virgin], it’s something people have been like, ‘It’s not fun to be in the theatre when people are laughing at that, knowing what they’re probably actually laughing at.’ And I don’t want anyone to have that experience watching our movies,” said Rogen.