Comedian and filmmaker Seth Rogen's testimony before Congress - an impassioned plea for more Alzheimer's Disease research funding - was personal, heartfelt and funny.
Rogen told lawmakers how he watched his mother-in-law's condition decline to complete reliance on caregivers by the time she was 60, just five years after her initial diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's.
He managed to mine laughs from his somber subject matter through self-deprecation (he called himself a "lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man child") and by feigning outrage at discovering Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) had not seen the film Knocked Up.
But the outrage he expressed at the low turnout for his remarks was very real.
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 Alzheimer's. Unless more noise is made, it won't change. pic.twitter.com/xDW6tlMHmH- Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 26, 2014
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) also took to Twitter, to thank Rogen for speaking at the hearing, but the response he got might not have been what he was expecting:
.@SenatorKirk pleasure meeting you. Why did you leave before my speech? Just curious.- Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 26, 2014
Sen. Kirk said that he was in a meeting, an explanation that seemed to provide little comfort to the frustrated Rogen.
@SenatorKirk symbolically, it hurts the cause to see that many empty seats. Wish you hung around. Nice meeting you.- Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) February 27, 2014
Some observers feel that Rogen's actions displayed an "enormous sense of entitlement - or perhaps just political naivete," but during an interview on MSNBC, he defended his anger at the low turnout and what he sees as the low priority given to Alzheimer's research.
Two of them were falling asleep during the first part of the testimony, literally. I saw it happening... I think it is indicative of the mentality that we find so frustrating is that it seems to be low priority, t seems like these people don't care. That's the direct message they are giving by leaving during the testimony, is that they don't care.