British Columbia

'A bizarre and hilarious honour': Seth Rogen on his new role as TransLink announcer

Seth Rogen is lending his voice and recognizable laugh to TransLink as the new authority on manners for public transit riders.

After Morgan Freeman's voice was removed from local trains, the public suggested Seth Rogen

"It's Seth Rogen, his charming laughter that goes to your soul, but now it's being used against you, kind of like a punishment." (TransLink)

He may be a big Hollywood actor and producer, but Seth Rogen is also a proud Vancouverite.

He's lending his voice and recognizable laugh to TransLink as the new authority on manners for public transit riders.

This all transpired back in May, when Morgan Freeman's voice was silenced on Vancouver-area public transit, just hours before Visa suspended its relation with him over multiple sexual harassment allegations.

The announcements were to feature Freeman's distinctive voice on trains as part of a Visa ad campaign, but many on social media spoke up and suggested Rogen as a fun, alternative voice.

Rogen and TransLink's social media manager, Robert Willis, spoke with On The Coast's Gloria Macarenko Friday about getting everybody on board for the new announcements.

Seth, did you ever imagine during your early years on the SkyTrain that your voice would one day scold Vancouverites?

No! Never did I think I would be the one telling people not to eat their dinner on the train. But it's a bizarre and hilarious honour, honestly. It's something I find personally entertaining. I hope that the people who ride the train find it entertaining. I have a lot of pride in the city, so I'm very happy to be associated with it as I am.

And I still use the subway and I'm generally appalled by people's behaviour, so anything to help get that in check was something I was enthusiastic about.

Robert, how did you come to be working with Seth on this project?

Online, purely organically. We were on Twitter and… all of a sudden people were talking about 'hey we should get a new guest voice for transit' and then Seth Rogen, of course, chimed in. I wasn't sure if it was the "Real Seth," verified it… and he said "I'm down for it."

We talked and we've been talking ever since.

Seth, what did you think when you heard your name considered as a voice for TransLink?

I hoped that it could happen right away. I was amazed that they responded to me, honestly, but as soon as they responded it seemed like it was a possibility and I really just tried to make it as easy as humanly possible so they… had no excuse to not proceed. I was literally like, "I'll do whatever you want." I was determined to make it so that it wouldn't fall on me if it didn't work out.

Robert, how did you approach what the announcements were going to be?

We just started chatting … and Seth was like, "etiquette might be a natural fit." Totally, it's something I see everyday on our streams and complaints we get every day, and it's something I've worked on in the past, so we just started sharing ideas.

Seth was punching up my stuff and offering his own stuff. It was just a really fun process.

Seth, You mentioned that you still take transit today, what are some of the things you see that you want to call people on?

I don't know, people sitting in the seats that are reserved for people who need them and they don't need them, that's something I see a lot.

You see people putting their backpacks on the seats, not moving, holding the door, a million things.

But a lot of people are following protocol, I guess I would say. But I hope most people find (the announcements) entertaining at least.

Did your managers have any issues with you doing this for free?

Not at all. They didn't care, but I'm not generally that financially motivated.

We were really excited for you this week, Seth, when you and your writing/business partner and Vancouvertie, Evan Goldberg, found out you are getting a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. You and Evan responded with a video inspired by the Red Green Show. You never shy away from your Canadian roots. Why is it so important to you?

I'm just really proud of it, honestly. And I know myself, being Canadian, when I was young anytime that Canada felt like it was getting global attention it was exciting to me, especially when I felt that it was in a positive way.

Any opportunity I have to try to point the spotlight on Canada in any way is something I know I would've appreciated.

I personally feel like I was very shaped by growing up there and again, the older I get I've grown to appreciate more and more that I'm actually from a city that I like, and that I like going back to, and that I don't hate, and that I don't try to avoid at all costs.

Again, I'm just more than happy. I just look for opportunities to try to associate myself with the city as much as possible and Canada.

Robert, when can we expect to hear the new announcements?

Some of them this [Friday] afternoon, so if you're going home and you're listening to this, keep your ears peeled for Seth's voice.

To hear the full interview listen to media below:

With files from On The Coast

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