Some people really enjoy Seth Rogen’s brand of amiable stoner humor, while others find him annoying. If you are in the latter camp, it is unlikely that this book will do much to sway your opinion, but if you are in the former you will find much to like here. This memoir / essay collection sees him reflecting back on moments from his childhood all the way up through some of his more infamous experiences in Hollywood (remember North Korea’s reaction to The Interview?). Throughout there are also moments of observational humor about the annoyances of everyday life. It’s all told in an easygoing, conversational style, like he is telling you these stories one night while hanging out after dinner, which makes for a pleasant, light read.
While there is a good amount of time spent on Hollywood anecdotes, don’t come into this expecting a salacious Hollywood tell-all, as that is very much not his style. A few studio executives get taken to task, but that’s really about it. Likewise, even though he isn’t shy about expressing his views about politics on Twitter, that subject is also mostly absent. Yearbook is primarily about growing up as an awkward Jewish kid in Vancouver, making friends along the way (most of whom he now works with), and meeting his wife; filled with a lot of swearing and drug use. It’s a crass but sweet book, filled with stories that many of us will at least be partially able to relate to, whether or not we share his affinity for marijuana, and much of it feels like it would work great in a movie.
Speaking of performing the material, the audiobook version might the best way to experience Yearbook. Seth handles the majority of the narration, lending it even more of a casual conversation vibe, but the moments in which he recounts specific conversations are all voiced by a full cast, featuring actors and other celebrities like Jason Alexander, Dan Aykroyd, Ike Barinholtz, Tommy Chong (of course), Sacha Baron Cohen, Snoop Dogg, director Michel Gondry, Billy Idol, Nick Kroll, Jay Pharaoh, Jason Segel, and many more, along with his actual family and wife Lauren. These performances make the material feel even more special, and further drive home the movie-ready nature of these stories. If you are a fan of Seth, or even just enjoy his movies like Superbad and Pineapple Express, you really owe it to yourself to give this book a read, or a listen. ★★★★
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor