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Being James Franco

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Happy 38th birthday James Franco, actor, author, academic, poet, producer, photographer, etc etc…

Come on, James Franco has achieved more in his 38 years – celebrated today – than most of us will in a lifetime or two. The fact we have to hear all about his various pursuits – good, bad or indifferent – occasionally makes the overachieving Franco something of a figure of fun. But the fact he seems to have learnt how to share in those having fun at his expense shows the wisdom of advancing years. If you can’t beat them, join them.

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Case in point, the 2013 Comedy Central Roast of Franco, in which Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Jonah Jill and others lined up to point out the, um, pretentiousness of Jim, while also having a very decent crack at each other.

Most of the lines can’t be repeated on a family website, of course, but a few that stick in the mind:

“James Franco, acting, teaching, directing, writing, producing, photography, soundtracks, editing — is there anything you can do?” – Natasha Leggero

“Look at me doing all the talking while you sit there doing nothing. I feel like I’m cohosting the Oscars with you.” – Seth Rogen, his co-star in the North Korea-offending film The Interview.

“James Franco is truly our generation’s James Dean. So handsome that you forget he’s only been in two good movies. Dean, of course, died at the tender age of 24 sparing himself the embarrassment of writing self-indulgent short stories and getting roasted by a bunch of jealous Jew monsters.” – Nick Kroll

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In response, Franco did have some words in his defence:

“I agreed to do this roast because I wanted to do something I’ve never done before — something that has zero artistic value, something nobody will remember three months from now, something that’s offensive, homophobic and stars horrifically untalented people and something that’s only a big deal to a handful of teenage stoners on Twitter. You might say, ‘James, didn’t you just describe Your Highness? I wouldn’t know I didn’t see Your Highness.”

And:

“The joke’s on all of you. This is not a roast. This is my greatest most elaborate art installation ever. I’m not the real guest of honor, these aren’t real comedians and we’re not even on a real network. What you’ve seen tonight was my brilliant opus to sequester an artistic visionary and subject him to the mindless incoherent trashings of talentless abnormalities. I call it Genius Unscathed and this is my masterpiece.”

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Happy birthday, Mr Franco.