If you’re going to bring actor Seth Rogen in to testify at your Senate hearing, you should probably be familiar with his material.
Rogen, who was testifying at a Senate Appropriations subcomittee hearing on the rising costs of Alzheimer’s disease, had a pretty funny exchange with Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.
“Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and for the opportunity to be called an expert in something, because that’s cool,” Rogen began. “I don’t know if you know who I am, chairman. I know you never saw Knocked Up, which is a little insulting.”
Harkin’s response: “I want the record to note that this is the first time, I will wager, this is the first time in any congressional hearing in history that the words ‘knocked up’ have ever been spoken.”
As it turns out, those words have actually been used before on the House floor, back in July 2012 by D.C.’s Eleanor Holmes Norton in a floor speech about abortion. But the senator is probably right to think that the phrase hasn’t really come up much during congressional hearings.
Rogen, while not a conventional expert, did come to the committee with personal experience. His wife’s mother was diagnosed with the disease when she was just 55, and Rogen founded a charity to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. “I came here today for a few reasons,” he told the subcommittee. “One, I’m a House of Cards fan. Had to be here…. Two, is to say people need more help.”
“I’m sorry you had to unmask me,” Harkin later replied. “I’m really Kevin Spacey in disguise. Not too many people knew that.”
The hearing, of course, wasn’t just for laughs. It also featured testimony from Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, who picked up some of Rogen’s scientific slack.
Update: February 27, 5:23 p.m.
As it turns out, Del. Holmes Norton’s use of the phrase “knocked up” was in quoting a July 27, 2012 Washington Post op-ed (big h/t to @BeeStapler). The phrase also did appear in the prepared remarks of a Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice representative at Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcomittee hearing during the 111th Congress (again, big h/t to @BeeStapler).