What Seth Rogen had to say about his old, 'blatantly homophobic' jokes.

What does comedy, the peppered moth, and President Obama's position on marriage equality all have in common?

They've evolved. But, as the saying goes, change doesn't always come easy.

Those moths had to put up with pollution. Obama had to deal with political pushback. And Seth Rogen was forced to come to the realization that some of his old jokes were actually pretty terrible, now that it's 2016 and all.


Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Rogen recently admitted that a few of his old movies totally crossed the line when it comes to offensive jabs.

In an interview with The Guardian, Rogen reflected on how his own comedy has changed to be more cognizant of how a joke can go too far:

“It’s funny looking at some movies we’ve made in the last ten years under the lenses of new eras, new social consciousness. There’s for sure some stuff in our earlier movies — and even in our more recent movies — where even like a year later you’re like, ‘Eh, maybe that wasn’t the greatest idea.’”

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV.

One movie that's particularly cringeworthy?

“There are probably some jokes in ‘Superbad’ that are bordering on blatantly homophobic at times,” he said, noting that the film had been trying to reflect the immaturity of high schoolers. But still, he said, the jokes were "glamorizing that type of [offensive] language in a lot of ways.”

His comments get at an important topic: the evolution of comedy.

Sure, comedy shouldn't be forced to adhere to anyone's rules. But isn't comedy best when it's actually relevant to the times?

Evolving comedic standards are why Eddie Murphy wouldn't strut on stage in 2016 and drop gay slurs at the expense of AIDS patients (like he got away with doing way back when). It's why Trevor Noah admitted to being an "idiot" for tweeting out sexist and anti-Semitic jokes in 2012 — "you should not like [the jokes you cracked] back then, because that shows that you’ve grown," he explained. And it's why Amy Schumer decided to confront her own racist routines from years ago.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Critics' Choice Awards.

In one of her old standup sets, Schumer told an insensitive joke suggesting Hispanic men are rapists. The joke resurfaced last summer, and many people weren't pleased. So the comedian dealt with it, head-on:

“I wrote this joke [two] years ago. I used to do a lot of short, dumb jokes like this. … Once I realized I had more eyes and ears on me and had an influence, I stopped telling jokes like that on stage. I am evolving as any artist. I am taking responsibility and hope I haven’t hurt anyone. And I apologize [if] I did."

Sarah Silverman (who, by no means, plays it safe) also thinks comedy shouldn't be an exception to the rest of society — it should "change with the times" and "change with new information," too:

“I caught myself a few years ago fighting ‘gay.’ I [said] ‘gay,' like, ‘that’s so gay.’ … And then I stopped myself and said, ‘What am I fighting? I have become the guy from 50 years ago who said, ‘I say colored. I have colored friends.’ … It’s not hard to change with the times, and I think it’s important."

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Even Patton Oswalt — who detests political correctness — said he "gets to be wrong, and [he] gets to change" when it came to his own failures in grasping the nuances of why a particular rape joke (told by a different comedian) was a bit of a problem:

"There is a collective consciousness that can detect the presence (and approach) of something good or bad, in society or the world, before any hard 'evidence' exists. It’s happening now with the concept of 'rape culture.' Which, by the way, isn’t a concept. It’s a reality."

Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images.

Comedy — like basically every other thing in the universe — needs to evolve to stay relevant.

It should be edgy. It should makes us uncomfortable at times too (Schumer just proved that sometimes uncomfortable comedy is exactly what this world needs).

But as Rogen hinted at this week, if you're punching down with a lazy joke that doesn't belong in 2016, you should probably ask yourself if the punchline's really worth it.

True

This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Acts of kindness and compassion are always inspiring. A veterinarian gave a different spin on the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

The poor little pup in this video walked into this shelter with a history of being abused. He was so traumatized that he wasn't eating. The vet treating him wasn't sure what to do, so he decided to book a table for two: a the dog's place. It is not clear whether he got an official invite from the canine in question, but he felt pretty safe about showing up unannounced. He walked into the cage and sat down next to the dog. With his back up against the corner of his new (and hopefully temporary) domain, the rescue stared apprehensively at his human guest. The vet presented a dog dish with food and put it in front of the dog. The frightened pup just looked at the dish and made no attempt to eat. Then he broke out another dog dish identical to the one he just gave to his four-legged patient and started eating out of that bowl. And then came the turning point.


Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
True

When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

Keep Reading Show less

Do you know that guy who has never had an issue with his TV/internet provider? Neither do I. If you claim you have never had issues with your bill going up without warning, then you are either lying or you own the cable company. Jake Lawson apparently does not own a cable company, and was prepared to communicate his frustrations regarding his bill in a most creative way.

First off, Jake understands what everyone should realize. The customer service representative doesn't own the cable company either, so yelling at someone who is just trying to make a living like all of us is not the answer. Their job is hard enough as it is so give them a break. Jake gave them more than a break. He gave them a song.


Keep Reading Show less