As various family members tossed around Seth Rogen’s first literary effort, Yearbook, on a recent trip, I watched everyone from my partner to my father-in-law kill themselves laughing and waited in anticipation for my turn to dive in.
It didn’t disappoint. In the collection of short stories, Rogen recalls hilarious and embarrassing moments from his childhood and teenage years while also delving into his adulthood and revealing the, uh, more interesting sides of some notable celebrities.
While I laughed at all the sections equally, I couldn’t help—as someone who grew up in Kerrisdale—be especially entertained at the Vancouver references in the book, many of which were part of my upbringing as well.
an underrated feature of kerrisdale is this little hidden nature trail where seth rogen used to smoke weed… should be a heritage site imo pic.twitter.com/s9ZWwqikIM— Michelle Cyca (@michellecyca) June 30, 2021
With an honourable mention to calling out Kanye West for cancelling two Vancouver shows, let’s dig in to the best Vancouver references in the book. (I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but there really is no way to spoil this book: the laughs will hit you no matter what.)
5. The Lotus Hotel
Rogen recalls getting his start at a queer bar that he calls the Lotus. While this was before my bar-hopping years, it seems as if Rogen is talking about the Lick Club, which was formerly located in the Lotus Hotel.
A 13-year-old Rogen trying out bits about dating in elementary school may be the ultimate Vancouver version of “I saw them when,” taking the mantle from the old Vancouver dads who talk about seeing the Clash at Kerrisdale Arena back in the day.
4. Driving to Richmond in the snow
Rogen talks about his father piling him and some friends into the car to go to a favourite restaurant in Richmond in a downright blizzard. It’s immediately familiar for anyone who has tried to drive across a bridge during a poorly plowed snowstorm (and if you haven’t, you’re not from here).
I won’t spoil the ending to the story, but it does appear that Rogen’s dad’s admiration for the Richmond food scene rubbed off on him.
3. The Crescent
Going to a park for a drug deal is basically a rite of passage of growing up in Vancouver (and probably other places too, but I wouldn’t know). So when Rogen describes going to both Shaughnessy’s infamous circular Crescent and a nearby elementary school to do the deed, it brings back some very weird flashbacks about going to parks in wealthy neighbourhoods to score weed.
2. The tracks
Now known as the Arbutus Greenway, the overgrown railway from Kerrisdale to Marpole was where you’d go when you were up to no-good. I almost feel sad for the scores of Kerrisdale kids who now have to deal with dudes in spandex cycling through while they’re trying to discreetly chug down Fireball.
Reading Yearbook by @Sethrogen is such an interesting experience as a current Kerrisdale resident- the map is so familiar but so far from what's there now. Everything on west ave (except the subway), is gone pic.twitter.com/oOfQ8OTRc4— Charlotte (@charlottekathry) July 2, 2021
Rogen even includes a drawing of what the area used to look like, complete with the rivalling Rogers Video and Blockbuster directly across the street from each other.
It’s normal to remember things from your childhood in a more exaggerated way than they actually occurred. So it was nice to see that Rogen has the exact same memory of the old Kerrisdale 7-Eleven that I do. Especially as a younger kid, the 7-Eleven—and the area directly behind it, as Rogen points out—was where the cool, older, intimidating kids hung out and did cool, older, intimidating kid things.
It’s now a medical spa, which feels significantly less daunting. But hopefully it's healing for the many lives that were scarred by the Sev.