The list of social activities open to Trump administration cronies keeps getting shorter and shorter: No Mexican restaurants, no non-Mexican restaurants, no movie theaters of any cultural background, and now, no fan photos with actor and comedian Seth Rogen. As Rogen revealed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he had a simple answer when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan asked to take a picture with him: “No way, man!”
Rogen met Ryan while speaking at Mitt Romney’s Experts and Enthusiasts conference, a private, invitation-only retreat that began as a Romney fundraiser and expanded over the years into a sort of “Aspen Ideas Festival, But This Time For Even Richer People.” Rogen was there to speak about Alzheimer’s disease on behalf of Hilarity for Charity, the non-profit he and his wife Laura Miller Rogen founded to raise money for Alzheimer’s care. There’s a long and time-honored tradition of left-wing artists gritting their teeth and lending some of their celebrity to wealthy Republicans in exchange for donations to apolitical charities, but Rogen’s reaction to Paul Ryan shows those days may be coming to an end:
My whole body puckered, as it were. I tensed up and I kind of, I didn’t know what to do. And he came over, just grabbed my hand, just like, “I’m shaking his hand, I don’t know what to do,” and he said, “Can I have a picture with you?” And I look over, and his kids are standing right there expectantly, clearly fans of mine, and I said, “No way, man!” And I couldn’t stop, and I said, “Furthermore, I hate what you’re doing to the country at this moment, and I’m counting the days till you no longer have one iota of the power that you currently have.”
Rogen is no stranger to awkward interactions between fans and celebrities: Back in 2001, he played the role of “Paul Ryan’s Embarrassed Children” to Timm Sharp’s “Paul Ryan” and Adam Sandler’s “Seth Rogen” on Undeclared:
There’s already a lot of talk about Rogen’s lack of civility—Trump campaign advisor Jack Kingston called him a “a little punk” on CNN—but there’s a point at which no one should be expected to bite their tongue, and we’re well past it. It must have sucked for Paul Ryan to have been embarrassed in front of his children by a popular comedian whose work they enjoy. It would probably have sucked a lot more if Seth Rogen had taken Paul Ryan’s children away at gunpoint. But at least it would have been civil.