Comedian Seth Rogen turned down a photo with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his kids at an annual summit hosted by former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.).
During an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Rogen explained that Romney invited him to speak at the brain health summit because he has a charity for Alzheimer’s disease.
“Almost all the attendees were Republican people and […] I’m OK with that,” he said. “But I didn’t know how I would react in every situation.”
Watch the video below:
The comedian then shared a “weird” situation he was put in when Ryan’s kids approached him for a photo.
He explained that two “very young, white teenage men” — who, he clarified, were so white that he, a Canadian, noticed how white they were — came up to him.
“Clearly fans of mine,” he told Colbert, “and then they said, ‘Our dad wants to meet you,’ and I turned around, and Paul Ryan was walking towards me.”
Colbert asked how the interaction went, and Rogen said his whole body “puckered” at seeing the speaker of the House. Ryan came over, shook the comedian’s hand, and asked if he could have a picture with him.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
“I look over, and his kids are standing right there, expectantly, clearly fans of mine, and I said, ‘No way, man,'” Rogen shared.
He further told Ryan, “I hate what you’re doing to the country at this moment, and I count the days until you don’t have one iota of the power that you currently have.”
While Rogen laughed through the story, he admitted to feeling “conflicted” about the moment because Ryan’s kids were still standing there and it’s “not their fault.”Zach Gibson/Getty Images
However, he reasoned, “They should probably learn that if they like a movie or song, the person who made that probably doesn’t like their dad that much.”
Rogen’s handling of the situation was met with mixed reactions from the social media world, with some people berating him for bashing Republicans at a Republican-majority event.
Zero class. He took a photo with the kids but unloaded on their dad in front of them. There are better ways and times to express dissent. https://t.co/JkDEGczoz3
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) June 24, 2018
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) June 23, 2018
Other people commended the actor for the funny story.
— MazJobrani (@MazJobrani) June 23, 2018
Man! I hadn’t laughed out loud this much in a while. Great interview with @StephenAtHome ??
— Arturo Chacón-Cruz (@ArturoChaconC) June 23, 2018
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) June 23, 2018
CNN commentator Ana Navarro explained that she was there when the encounter took place and shared that Rogen, Ryan, and his “very polite boys” “didn’t make a big deal about it.”
“Like it or not, it’s the privilege [and] price of living in a democracy [and] believing in freedom of expression,” she concluded.
I was there when this happened. @SpeakerRyan, his very polite boys & @Sethrogen didn’t make a big deal about it. I suspect most didn’t notice. Like it or not, it’s the privilege & price of living in a democracy & believing in freedom of expression. https://t.co/cafdMUOEkI
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) June 23, 2018
Rogen told Colbert that directly after the encounter with Ryan, he had to give a speech about Alzheimer’s and saw former White House Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci in the audience.
“We’re here to talk about Alzheimer’s, which potentially anyone who has a brain it’s a potential threat, so Anthony Scaramucci is in the clear,” he told the crowd.
For his stories, Colbert gifted his guest with a ceramic mug.