Seth Rogen, a prominent comedic figure in today's Hollywood whether in front of or behind the cameras, spoke to EFE about the limits of humor and the difference between feeling offended or insulted by a joke.
"We're not people that think PC (political correctness) culture is hurting comedy, movies or art in any way, shape or form," he said in an interview coinciding with the release in the United States of the comedy film "Good Boys," produced by Rogen and Evan Goldberg through their Point Grey Pictures company.
"I think a lot of comedians (think) that's scary because they like to make fun of certain groups of people who now have a voice who didn't have one before. And they're realizing that those people don't like it when you make fun of them."
"But we don't have a problem with that, honestly. We try to be respectful of that ... We don't want people to feel hurt when they're watching our movies ... We don't want to insult people."
Nevertheless, the Canadian-American actor, comedian, writer, producer and director said not all complaints leveled against comedy are equally valid.
"I think there's a difference between people being offended and people being insulted ... the people who are out there being like 'they shouldn't make a movie about kids swearing, that's offensive.' I don't give a f___ about those people," the 37-year-old Rogen said.
"But the people who are like, 'I'm from a marginalized group and this joke made me feel even more marginalized,' I do care about that. Those are two very different things. One is very easy to be respectful of and the other is very easy to be disrespectful of," he said laughing.
Directed by debut filmmaker Gene Stupnitsky, "Good Boys" tells the story of three pre-adolescent males - Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and Thor (Brady Noon) - who use the drone of Max's father to spy on a teenage couple and end up embarking on a mishap-filled adventure to get it back after it is confiscated.
Insults, profanity and crude humor pertaining to sex and drugs flow from the mouths of these sixth graders, although the movie also takes a tender look at their innocence and ignorance of the world around them.
The film's irreverent approach is reminiscent of Rogen's work as an actor in films such as "Knocked Up" (2007), "Neighbors" (2014), "Sausage Party" (2016) and especially the coming-of-age teen comedy "Superbad" (2007).
In fact, "Good Boys" serves almost as a prequel to "Superbad."
"It's just because it's relatable to a lot of people," Rogen said of adolescence as a rich source of humor.
"Because regardless of what you do as an adult, a lot of our childhood experiences have similar fundamentals ... the anxiety of growing up, where do I fit in, who are my friends, how do I try to hook up with the people I'm attracted to, how do I put myself out there, how scary all the stuff is."
Rogen said the three boys at the heart of the film are very naive and, for example, still believe that drinking three beers is a superhuman feat.
"They're not trying to have sex. They're just hoping to maybe kiss a girl on the lips," he said, adding that "Good Boys" is essentially a "sweet" film with a big heart.
Goldberg, a childhood friend of Rogen's, expressed similar sentiments about the film's characters.
"They're too young to be afraid to say how they feel sometimes. Younger kids sometimes say things that an adult can't or won't say."
"You're just figuring out the world. We literally didn't understand female anatomy fully. We didn't know the right curse words ... We didn't know what to say to girls. We didn't know what to say to each other ... It was a very awkward time but you were also having a ton of fun," Goldberg said. EFE-EPA