Rob Cohen

What Does It Really Mean to Be Canadian?

Emmy Award-Winning Writer and Producer (The Simpsons, Being Canadian)

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Rob Cohen | Emmy Award-Winning Writer and Producer (The Simpsons, Being Canadian)
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

What makes Canada so great, yet so misunderstood? In the film Being Canadian, writer and producer Rob Cohen set out on a road-trip to discover just that. The result? That Canada is so much more than he expected. With stories drawn from his epic coast to coast journey—and from his 23 years of high-level TV and film experience in LA—Cohen talks on what it really means to be a Canuck. 

The pride of the Canadian Rockies, Rob Cohen has more than 23 years of experience in network sitcoms, sketch comedy, animation, and motion pictures. He is the creator and host of the 2016 Writers’ Guild Awards nominated-documentary Being Canadian—his personal quest to find out what it really means to be Canadian, and a film about self-discovery, comedic enlightenment, and way too many embarrassing stops for donuts. 


Cohen’s writing stints include The Ben Stiller Show (for which he won an Emmy), The Big Bang Theory, Saturday Night Live, The Wonder Years, Just Shoot Me!, and The Simpsons. (This last gig also entrenched him as the visual inspiration for the character of Milhouse, Bart’s best friend.)


Cohen also works as a TV and commercial director, producing and directing for all the major networks, the 81st and 82nd Annual Academy Awards, and the critically acclaimed IFC series Maron (he’s written for Maron for all four seasons, and was back in 2016, doing four more episodes, including the series finale). He’s also helped create studio feature campaigns for Paramount, Warner Bros., and 20th Century Fox, starring Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Will Smith, and Robert Downey, Jr.   


“We have a lot of people come and speak in front of us but none have been better than Rob Cohen. The speech he just gave was fantastic! He gave a presentation that was insightful and completely riveting about his career as a writer and director for over two decades in Hollywood. Rob not only held the attention of his audience for a solid hour, he absolutely crushed it! The way he tied his journey into practical life lessons was perfect. If it was up to me he would’ve talked for another hour as his stories about show business and its ups and downs were fascinating and highly entertaining! It was a wonderful presentation and very fun evening!”


“The crowd was in stitches for Rob Cohen's hilarious and revealing look at the massive task of self-producing and funding a movie about Canada's national identity. Hilarious anecdotes of what it means to be Canadian. Canada is finally getting the respect and appreciation it deserves around the world.”

Ontario Hospital Association HealthAchieve Conference

“It was a pleasure! Not often do we get the opportunity to plan such an exciting event and work with such easygoing, fun, kind and generous guests. Keep us posted on your new projects and films.”

Princeton University

“Thanks for making the trip to UC-Berkeley and sharing your movie with us. If the smiles, chuckles and outright laughter were any indication, everyone in the room enjoyed it as much I did. I’m especially appreciative that you were able to talk to some of our students about making the movie and the business more generally. It is always such a thrill to speak in person to those who are in front, and behind, the cameras.”

UC Berkeley

“Please know that you would be most welcome at any gathering of the Albourne Posse—we felt the force was strong with you ... I hope our paths cross again!”

Albourne America LLC

Speech Topics

MCs & Entertainers
Being Canadian What Makes Canada Unique

Rob Cohen finally got tired of people outside of Canada not knowing, caring, or even thinking about Canadians. He thought Canadians should be seen as more than vanilla Americans-lite, who spend most of the year encased in ice, “hunting moose with hockey pucks” (a direct quotation from someone in L.A.). He’d had enough of battling stereotypes, but having lived outside Canada for so long, he wanted to make sure the country he’d been battling for was still the way he remembered it.

So he decided to take a road trip across his beloved homeland, from coast to coast, and speak with a variety of fellow Canadians (some more well-known than others) to get their opinions on the issue. The result is not only the star-studded, award-winning documentary Being Canadian, but his realization that there was so much he knew—and didn’t know—about his home country.

In this talk, Cohen discusses a film about self-discovery, comedic enlightenment, and his personal quest to find out what it really means … to be Canadian. This is a funny and illuminating look at not only the massive task of self-producing and funding a movie, but what constitutes our national identity—perfect for Canadians looking for some humorous self-understanding, and for foreign audiences who had completely forgotten we exist!

Surviving Showbiz Unlikely Behind-the-Scenes Stories and Life Lessons from Hollywood
In this funny, upbeat keynote, Rob Cohen tells the hilarious and enlightening story of how he got into “showbiz” via a series of very weird routes. Starting with completing high school on a technicality, to living illegally in L.A. for 8 years, Rob has seen it all.  From avoiding I.N.S. raids, to scrambling together odd jobs like fixing soft-serve yogurt machines, working as a mall security guard, being a late-night deli delivery boy in the insane Hollywood Hills, and even writing jokes for O.J. Simpson (pre-trial, of course). And how this bizarre route led him to his big break writing for some other Simpsons, The Simpsons.

He also describes how working with some of the biggest talent in features and television taught him invaluable lessons, gifting Cohen with a wealth of bizarre behind-the-scenes stories, easily-applicable anecdotes, and advice that work for people in business, and in life (except for O.J.).