Seth Rogen called out the 16 US Senators who walked out, or failed to turn up to, his heartfelt address on financing care for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease before Congress in Washington yesterday.
The actor ended up making the plea to a near-empty Capitol Hill hearing, only to watch the numbers dwindle further as several politicians left before he’d finished.
So he followed up his speech with an appearance on US programme Hardball, during which he personally named each of the 16 Senators who either left mid-speech or failed to show up.
"It's indicative of a mentality that we find so frustrating. It seems like these people don't care," he told the show’s host, Chris Matthews.
Ironically, one of the central issues Rogen argued during his speech was the ignorance surrounding the disease and the shame sufferers and their families often feel because of it.
One Senator, Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, even tweeted at Rogen, to thank him for the address.
'Thanks to @Sethrogen for speaking out about efforts to #ENDALZ. RT if you know someone affected by #Alzheimers,' he wrote.
The only problem being that he, along with 15 others, didn’t actually see the speech. Rogen was quick to respond with the following series of tweets:
. @SenatorKirk pleasure meeting you. Why did you leave before my speech? Just curious.Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 26, 2014
Not sure why only two senators were at the hearing. Very symbolic of how the Government views Alzheimer's. Seems to be a low priority.Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 26, 2014
All those empty seats are senators who are not prioritizing Alzheimers. Unless more noise is made, it won't change. pic.twitter.com/xDW6tlMHmHSeth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 26, 2014
The cause, Rogen pointed out, is close to his heart because his mother-in-law, Adele Miller, was diagnosed with the disease relatively early on. He detailed how the illness changed her, and slowly took away her ability to care for herself. He argued in support of legislation that would increase federal funding for Alzheimer's disease care and research. He also cracked a few jokes.
"This has nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana.
"In fact, if you can believe it, this concerns something that I find even more important."
And took a swipe at Committee Chairman Tom Harkin.
"You told me you never saw Knocked Up, chairman," he said, after pointing out that Harkin was unfamiliar with his work.
"I will wager this is the first time in any congressional hearing in history that the words “knocked up” have been used," Harkin responded.
But his tone quickly became more serious as he explained his purpose for being at Capitol Hill.
"I started dating my wife Lauren nine years ago when her mother was almost 54 years old. It was during this trip, the first time I met my now mother-in-law, that Lauren first admitted to herself and then to me that something was off with her mother,’ he said. ‘Soon after this trip at 55 years old Lauren's mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's
"After forgetting who she and her loved one were, she forgot how to speak, feed herself, dress herself, all by age of 60."
"The situation is so dire, that it caused me, a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man-child, to start an entire charity organization," he continued, speaking about the fund Hilarity Charity he set up with his wife.
The Alzheimer's Association champion went on to sing the praises of his father-in-law for caring for Adele as her disease progressed, and spoke about his decision to start the fund ‘ Hilarity For Charity’ to support struggling families and research on the illness.
"I came here today for few reasons. One I'm a huge House of Cards fan. Just marathoned the whole thing, had to be here,"
"Two, is to say, people need more help. I've personally seen the massive amount of financial strain this disease causes and if the American people ever decide to reject genitalia-driven comedy, I will no longer be able to afford it. I can't begin to imagine how people with more limited incomes are dealing with this.
"The third reason I'm here, simply, is to show people that they are not alone, so few people share their personal stories."