Joe Rogan has certainly made a mess of his commenting on the coronavirus pandemic in recent months. In April, he was roundly criticized for spreading vaccine misinformation on his podcast, something he’s still addressing on stage with little remorse.
Rogan is not exactly known for being a reliable source of information: in recent months alone he spread wildfire conspiracy theories, let Alex Jones spread lies on air and has seen his declaration that young healthy people don’t need the coronavirus vaccine draw new criticism as the extremely contagious Delta variant of the novel coronavirus has caused a new spike in cases, hospitalizations and in some states deaths among the almost entirely unvaccinated.
Rogan has responded to that controversy in the past by declaring himself a “f*cking moron,” which would be fine if he did not have an audience of millions of people who disagree with that sentiment and trust him for their news and information. And on Saturday he made it clear that no mea culpa would come amid a new wave of coronavirus havoc. During a stand-up show in Milwaukee, he dismissed an unspecified attempt to “cancel” him as well as concerns he’s spreading harmful misinformation on his show.
According to a review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rogan put on an “unapologetically tasteless” show and once again dismissed his role in spreading misinformation. Rogan reportedly seemed to celebrate being “canceled” on stage in Milwaukee, where another comedian’s prediction of a Covid-19 case spike as a result of Milwaukee Bucks-related partying seems to have come to fruition.
“I say dumb (expletive),” Rogan said Saturday, in the closest he came to a mea culpa. “If you’re getting vaccine advice from me, is that really my fault?”
The review is pretty biting, and though it doesn’t have many specific quotes from the show — phones were put in security-locked bags for those in attendance a la Dave Chappelle shows — it does certainly get the point across of what ground he covered on Saturday. It’s pretty easy to read between the lines here.
There was an occasional disclosure to make it clear he didn’t really mean what he was saying — he supported the gay community, he suggested Saturday, before dropping homophobic jokes.
And some jokes at his own expense — recounting a degrading TSA experience, or sharing the stupid thoughts that ran through his head as he talked to a smarter person like Elon Musk — sought to make him more endearing and relatable.
But too often, Rogan opted to be provocative for the sake of being provocative. He made nasty Nazi jokes, belittled WNBA players, used the appalling “R” word over and over again.
The full review is worth reading if you care about what Rogan says or won’t apologize for, which seems to be a list growing longer by the day. There’s also a brutal review of the opening act, Tony Hinchcliffe, and an anecdote about a fan urging Rogan to say a racial slur after he admitted his past use of the word. Just another day at the office for the person with the biggest podcast platform in the world, I suppose.