“Knocked Up” actor Seth Rogen brought a little bit of comedy to an otherwise subdued Congressional hearing Wednesday, delivering a prepared statement filled with both humor and self-deprecating remarks.
Rogen was testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the subject of Alzheimer’s research, a disease which has taken a toll on his immediate family in recent years.
“Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and for the opportunity to be called an expert in something, because that’s cool,” he said. “I don’t know if you know who I am, chairman. I know you never saw ‘Knocked Up,’ which is a little insulting.”
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) then chimed in, “I want the record to note that this is the first time, I will wager, this is the first time in any congressional hearing in history that the words ‘knocked up’ have ever been spoken.”
During his testimony, Rogen detailed his family’s emotional struggle with the disease, as his mother-in-law began showing signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s at just 55 years old. By the time she turned 60, he said, she was unable to “speak, feed herself, [and] dress herself.”
“The situation is so dire, that it caused me, a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man-child, to start an entire charity organization,” he said. “Hilarity for Charity,” his organization, works to raise money for research and for families struggling with the illness. (Rogen did produce, however, a “Funny or Die” video last spring on behalf of the charity that called Republicans and gun owners “the worst people in the world.”)
The “Pineapple Express” actor didn’t just come to Washington to promote Alzheimer’s research, either. “I came here today for a few reasons,” he said. “One, I’m a House of Cards fan. Had to be here….Two, is to say people need more help.”
“The third reason I’m here, simply, is to show people that they’re not alone. So few people share their personal stories. So few people have something to relate to. I know that if me and my wife saw somebody like me talking about this, we would feel less alone,” he said.
The actor later tweeted his disappointment that most U.S. Senators didn’t take his testimony seriously, as just Harkin and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) stayed in the room to hear his speech.
Not sure why only two senators were at the hearing. Very symbolic of how the Government views Alzheimer's. Seems to be a low priority.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 26, 2014
.@SenatorKirk pleasure meeting you. Why did you leave before my speech? Just curious.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 26, 2014
All those empty seats are senators who are not prioritizing Alzheimer's. Unless more noise is made, it won't change. pic.twitter.com/xDW6tlMHmH— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 26, 2014
Rogen wasn’t the only Hollywood A-Lister testifying on the Hill Wednesday afternoon, either. Actor Ben Affleck once again spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he is known as an expert on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Watch Rogen’s opening statement below.