Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, had a good point.
“I want the record to note,” Harkin began. “I will wager, this is the first time in any congressional hearing in history that the words ‘knocked up’ [have been used.]”
Harkin was introducing “Knocked Up” star Seth Rogen as the comedian appeared before a Senate appropriations subcommittee Wednesday to talk about Alzheimer’s funding.
Rogen called out Harkin for never seeing his most famous flick. “I don’t know if you know who I am at all,” Rogen laughed, before beginning his official testimony. “You’re really not going to like the rest of this,” Rogen warned.
That’s because Rogen played up his pot-smoking, junk food-eating, video game-playing movie persona. (“Yes, I’m aware this has nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana,” Rogen said when he first arrived.) But he also talked about his personal story with Alzheimer’s – Rogen’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with early onset at the age of 55.
He humorously told the story of how he met wife Lauren’s parents to make sure she would “think I was the kind of guy she should continue dating” and on that trip Lauren noticed something was wrong with her mother.
The disease did its dirty work quickly. “After forgetting who she and her loved ones were, my mother-in-law, a teacher for 35 years, then forgot how to speak, feed herself, dress herself and go to the bathroom herself – all by the age of 60,” Rogen recounted.
Watching this, he said, compelled him to start his organization Hilarity for Charity (which Harkin kept mistaking for “Hillary for Charity”). “The situation is so dire that it caused me, a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated, man-child to start an entire charity organization,” Rogen said.
The aim of Hilarity of Charity is to educate young people on the disease. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., also suggested to Rogen that the charity try to make careers in research, science and medicine cool.
“I will do my best to encourage it,” Rogen replied. “But again, I ask the government to create a situation financially where there is the means for people with ideas to actually do something with them.”
Rogen said one of the most distressing things he had heard during the day’s testimony was that people with ideas to cure Alzheimer’s don’t always know if the funding will be there, whereas work with heart disease, and other diseases, seems to be more stable. “It’s a more glamorous situation financially, Alzheimer’s just isn’t a cool disease unfortunately,” Rogen said.
Moran was clearly impressed. “While you earn a living as a comedian, you are a very effective lobbyist,” he said.
Afterward Rogen said he hoped it went well. “I’ve never been to one of these before, I have nothing to compare it against,” he said, though also noted during his testimony that he loved "House of Cards."
The hearing "was a little," he told Whispers pausing. "Less intrigue."