Seth Rogen should be a McDonald's employee. With his rough, gurgling chuckle and lumberjack-stoner voice, the high school dropout should be asking, "Do you want fries with that?," not "You know how I know you're gay?" He should be muttering how much he hates his life under his breath. He should be living paycheck to paycheck, hoping his mom doesn't kick him out because he forgot to take out the trash. Again. He should be an alcoholic has-been trying to turn a small stint on network television into a tad longer one on some god-awful E! reality show. Seth Rogen should have been this generation's Corey Feldman. Seth Rogen should have never been famous.

Seth Rogen never would have been famous were it not for the compassion (read: pity) of Judd Apatow. Apatow is the famed director who has given America films such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. Martin Scorsese he is not, but a hero to the much sought-after young male demographic he is. But before all the hype and hoopla, Apatow was just another up-and-comer who gave Rogen his first big break when Rogen was still in high school. He cast the teen in the ill-fated yet highly adored TV series Freaks and Geeks. But when the show was cancelled, Rogen found himself out of school and out of a job. So, he did what any foggy-minded adolescent would: he sat around playing video games and smoking a lot of pot. A lot. In fact, it may have been this pseudo-sabbatical that groomed Rogen for the role he currently finds himself in as Hollywood's most lovable pothead. Sorry Cheech and Chong.

Knocked Up

It was an easy road for Rogen. But it should not have been; Rogen just pulled a Mr. Magoo and stumbled into finding a way to make unemployment work for him. Apatow took Rogen in as his apprentice, tossing him mini-gigs over the years to keep his belly and bong full. In between assignments, Rogen balled around with his friends, the group would come to be known as The Fat Pack or the new comedy mafia, usurping the throne previously held by Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and Co. The years of germination even grew to be memorialized in Knocked Up. Rogen and his roommates? All the same couch potatoes who used to sit around debating which movie was better, Friday or The Big Lebowski.

Little has changed for the boys since the days of ramen. The couches are nicer, but little else has changed. In the August issue of GQ magazine, featuring Rogen on the cover, he admits that the only real difference is he now gets paid exorbitant amounts of money for doing things he would do anyways. The scene from "Knocked Up" when Rogen and his friends are in the nightclub riffing on the importance of Eric Bana's performance in Munich to society's view of Jews? That dialogue was never in the script. Apatow overheard the boys shooting the breeze on the set about Bana's SuperJew performance and decided it was much funnier than comparing Rogen's character to Jack Black. So the director told Rogen and company to improvise the same discussion, but this time in front of the camera.

Pineapple Express

The creation of that scene is symbolic of Rogen's entire career: improvise and everything turns out for the better. Rogen and his best friend Evan Goldberg started writing a screenplay in high school about two high schoolers named Seth and Evan who fumble their way through a typical teenage day. The script was close to the heart and even closer to the truth. After a series of rewrites under the ever-watchful eye of Apatow, it was ready. For studio executives, it wasn't exactly love at first sight, more like a drunken one night stand who cooks a mean omelet in the morning. The film became Superbad, the most-quoted movie of last summer, and, with the coupled success of "Superbad" and "Knocked Up," Rogen became one of Hollywood's leading men, albeit the less debonair one who most usually turns heads when observing that being a hermaphrodite is kind of like having "both a gun and a holster."

Now, after years of sleeping in and staying high, Rogen finds himself manning the helm of heralded summer smash. Pineapple Express is the most recent in Rogen's string of stoner comedies but may arguably be his most invested: he not only co-wrote the script but also plays the lead character alongside "Freaks" alum and Spider-Man star, James Franco. The film opens this week, but Rogen has been hustling around Hollywood all summer promoting it. In addition to the GQ cover, he and Franco are also featured in the newest issue of Rolling Stone. Not bad for someone who should be asking whether you want your Happy Meal for here or to go.

Story by Tim Peterson
Starpulse contributing writer

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