Next stop, Toronto: Seth Rogen lends voice to Toronto transit

Published On July 31, 2018 | By Matthew Frank | Arts, News

TTC spokesman Brad Ross in a recording booth with actor Seth Rogen, who is lending his voice to the Toronto Transit Commission public announcement system. (Brad Ross/Twitter)

Matthew Frank

Vancouver is not the only stop Canadian born actor and comedian Seth Rogen is making.

Rogen, who has already landed a job as the voice of Vancouver’s public transportation service Translink, is now the new voice of the TTC.

TTC spokesman Brad Ross confirmed Tuesday afternoon in a tweet that Rogen will be lending his voice to Toronto’s transit system.

“Thanks, Seth – you’re a great Canadian,” Ross tweeted.

In a public service announcement, the TTC released the audio files online, which can also be heard in subway stations across Toronto today.

But you won’t be hearing Rogen’s voice booming over the PA systems announcing subway stations or bus and streetcar stops.

Like his gig with Metro Vancouver’s TransLink in his hometown, Rogen will be the friendly voice that reminds customers to be courteous and provide other useful information via “quirky public service announcements (PSAs).”

For example, in a message about wearing your backpack on the subway, Rogen jokes:

“Hello TTC users, Seth Rogen here. Backpacks are super efficient, I get it. They carry all your stuff. They hang on your back. They’re fantastic,” says Rogen in one of his announcements.

“But when you wear your backpack instead of taking it off, it very much annoys everyone around you on the subway. Don’t be a backpack hunchback. That’s not a thing, but it is now. Anyway, don’t do it.”

In a release, the TTC said the 20-second messages are meant to be light-hearted and humorous, in an effort to make “taking the TTC a more positive experience for all.”

Rogen generously donated his time to the project, saying he’s a proud Canadian and was eager to participate.

“I was enthusiastic to record messages for the TTC to help make everyone’s riding experience as amazing as it could possibly be,” Rogen said. “I use public transportation myself and would like people to not be clipping their toenails around me,” he joked, referring to a PSA specifically aimed at deterring personal grooming on the TTC.

Earlier this week Ross gave a not-so-subtle hint on Twitter that Rogen may do something similar in Toronto to his role with Vancouver’s TransLink.

The tweet features Ross pictured with Rogen, posing beside a microphone in what appears to be an audio booth.

In the photo, Rogen is seen wearing a black cap with the words “Bloor-Yonge,” a TTC subway station.

“What is fellow Canadian and public transit user @Sethrogen doing posing for a selfie with me – in a #TTC Bloor-Yonge ball cap, no less?” Ross wrote. “Stay tuned!”

Torontonians weighed in on Rogen’s voice and iconic laugh reverberating through the subway tunnels. Some liked the idea, but others were hoping for a celebrity with a greater connection to Toronto, like Geddy Lee, Jim Carrey or Rachel McAdams.

 

 

Seth Rogen replaced the voice of Morgan Freeman for Vancouver’s Transport Network, Translink (Getty/Reuters)

Rogen first volunteered to voice for Metro Vancouver’s TransLink as a replacement for Morgan Freeman, and TransLink obliged.

Vancouver’s TransLink announced last week that Rogen had been signed on to become a guest voice on the transit system. That agency recently scrapped a campaign featuring Freeman as the voice of TransLink. Freeman is currently facing sexual harassment allegations.

TransLink said Rogen’s distinctive voice and laugh will be heard on transit platforms, SkyTrains and buses across the region in the coming weeks and into the fall.

Rogen’s voice messages cover transit etiquette as well as “interesting tidbits” about the area and his relationship to Metro Vancouver.

Rogen, who was born in Vancouver and is the star of numerous movies including Sausage Party and Pineapple Express, said he grew up taking public transportation and still does whenever he’s in the city.

In the B.C. deal, TransLink said Rogen was not being paid and that his voice recordings wouldn’t replace the announcements of bus stops or SkyTrain stations.

Humber students liked the idea of having a new voice for the TTC.

“I think It would be cool and interesting. It will make people laugh, and make the commute easier,” business administration student Paul Michael said.

They did not seem to be concerned that Seth Rogen was not local to the Greater Toronto Area however.

“He’s Canadian. To me that’s not a big deal, and I think It will attract more customers,” he said.

“I like his movies, so I have that kind of bias,” Ali Ibrahim said.

“I think [his voice] will improve the experience,” the business administration student said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory also thanked Rogen for donating “his time, his talent, and his voice” to the project.

“It is another example of how we’re moving the TTC forward in new and innovative ways. I hope transit riders enjoy these announcements and look forward to hearing them on the TTC,” Tory said in a statement.

 

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