Seth Rogen is set to host this year’s Independent Spirit Awards. It airs tonight at 10 p.m. on IFC, so we talked to him the other day. Unlike Billy Crystal, this is Rogen’s first time hosting an awards show—and it’s one that’s more relevant to him (and probably the world) than Crystal’s usual Oscars haunt.
With stellar movies like Drive, Shame, Take Shelter, Beginners, and not to mention Rogen’s own 50/50 owning the ballot this year, The Independent Spirit Awards are playing like a more accurate portrayal of what the Oscars should be these days.
Leading up to his hosting duties, Seth sat down with us to discuss his hosting preparation, his candid and spot-on view of awards shows, witty banter with celebrities, his love for Mission Impossible, as well as what, exactly, he thinks he will do if/when 50/50 wins an award tonight.
On the allure of hosting an awards show:
I remember when I was a little kid, I used to say I would rather host the Oscars than win an Oscar. To me that seemed like the more appealing, fun gig. I don’t know if that’s still true, but it shows my mentality. Yes, to me that was the fun part. I remember—that was when Billy Crystal was really on fire with it. It just seemed like the tonal sensibilities of the country were perfectly aligning with what he was doing, which was perfectly complimenting with whatever movies were nominated. I remember that song he sang about Scent of a Woman is still stuck in my head. I definitely grew up watching that stuff and then as I got older, honestly. And then when I started actually making movies I completely lost interest in it.
On if he got any advice from James Franco about hosting the Oscars.
Yes. Just don’t host the Oscars.
On the Oscars in general.
I’ve got to be honest: I don’t watch the Oscars, and I haven’t in years. I watched a little bit of when James Franco hosted. I watched about half of it. Honestly, all I thought when Eddie Murphy was hosting is, “Oh, Eddie Murphy is going to host a show I’m not going to watch.” Now Billy Crystal is going to host a show I’m probably not going to watch.
I thought of it around four minutes before I went up there, and no, I did not (tell her beforehand). I specifically told her I was not going to say anything like that. I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to say it until I got up there. But, yes, presenting at the Golden Globes for me, generally, is like seeing your favorite actors just not laugh at you. It was nice to see a couple of them smile.
On the weird experience of seeing a bunch of his friends winning Oscars,
Again, I just am always surprised when things and people I like are also liked by things like the Oscars. Like, Franco got nominated last year. Jay Baruchel is one my best friends and he’s in Million Dollar Baby. I literally remember we were stoned off our asses watching the Oscars in my tiny shithole apartment, and Clint Eastwood won and thanked Jay, who was sitting right next to me in his underwear on my couch.
On what we can expect from his performance as host.
They can expect me. That’s what they can expect, however you interpret that. I hope it’s funny. That’s all I can say, as well as, they can expect (that) it will be an awards show. They should expect an awards show. Awards will be handed out to the winners, none to the losers.
On what he loves about Drive.
I like action movies and I like violent movies. I also like movies with Ryan Gosling not talking for hours on end. Those things drew me to that movie.
On getting into standup—and how that’s basically the job of an awards show host.
It probably (started) while we were preparing for Funny People. That must have been around four years ago, I guess, at this point. That was the last time I actually did standup in, like, a nightclub. I’ve hosted little things and presented little things at charity events. I’ve done stuff like that since then and that has definitely a standup-y feel to it. But the last time I was actually in a club was probably in preparation for Funny People.
I remember when I was an up-and-coming comic how annoyed I would be when the famous guys would show up and just take everyone’s spots. On top of that, I’m just not that good at it. When there are guys like Louis C.K. out there, there is no reason for me to be doing standup comedy. I honestly don’t feel like I make the best movies in the world, but I do, at times, feel like I’m adding something to the cinematic community. I don’t feel like I’m adding anything to the standup community.
On his favorite movies of the year.
I honestly thought Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was one of the best movies of the year. Yes. I love that fucking movie. It was great. I thought Drive was awesome, too. I know that got nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and didn’t get—I don’t think it got any Oscar nominations or anything like that, but I thought that movie was awesome. Off the top of my head, Take Shelter, that was awesome and that was nominated.
On his favorite shows.
I just watched all of Breaking Bad, all four seasons, in a matter of weeks with my wife. Yes. I love that. To me, that’s awesome. I watch shows that are on—I watch 30 Rock and Parks and Rec. I watch The Soup. I watch comedies that are on television.
On the new Avengers movie.
Yes. I’m excited for The Avengers. It seems like it might be too much of a good thing to me, but I’ll definitely go see it, 100%. Joss Whedon has not ever horribly failed me, so yes, I think that could be good. Jeremy Renner looks a little goofy in the costume. That I will say.
On what he’ll do if “50/50″ wins an award.
I’m going to go crazy. It’s more, “What am I going to do on stage when we don’t win the awards?” I don’t know. I’ll be happy if we win. It’s nice to win an award, I would assume. I’ve never won one, but I would imagine it’s great. The good news is since I’m hosting, I get to read my acceptance speech whether we win or not.
About absorbing movie culture like a human being despite his celebrity status.
I think participating in life and culture, instead of just writing about it, is very important. I watch TV. I listen to the radio. I walk around the streets. I am in restaurants and talk to people. I think that, yes, I absorb it the same way everyone else does.
About a potential Freaks and Geeks movie.
It’s not something that anyone’s ever actually seriously talked about. It would be funny if they did. But, yes, they don’t usually make movies out of TV shows that nobody watched for free. I think if they think, no one watched it for free, the odds are people are going to pay fifteen bucks to leave their house to go see it, is probably pretty slim.