Controversial podcaster and serial agitator Joe Rogan proved (yet again) he’s contrite in the streets, but unrepentant in the sheets as he hit the stand-up stage Tuesday night, defending himself against recent accusations of racism and spreading Covid-19 misinformation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rogan addressed his critics in an “intimate” appearance at the Vulcan Gas Company in Austin, Texas before a small group of fans. During the set, Rogan appeared to double down and justify his past usage of racially insensitive language, including the n-word — despite publicly apologizing for such actions just days before.
“I used to say it if [I was talking about] a Richard Pryor bit or something, I would say it in context,” he said, before adding: “I haven’t used that word in years. But it’s kind of weird people will get really mad if you use that word and tweet about it on a phone that’s made by slaves.”
Rogan also attacked recent discussions over vaccine misinformation and other misleading pandemic-related content promoted on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.
“I talk shit for a living — that’s why this is so baffling to me,” he said. “If you’re taking vaccine advice from me, is that really my fault? What dumb shit were you about to do when my stupid idea sounded better? ‘You know that dude who made people people eat animal dicks on TV? How does he feel about medicine?’ If you want my advice, don’t take my advice.”
Earlier Tuesday, Rogan spoke at length about the recent controversies in the latest episode of his podcast, calling the media frenzy “a political hit job.”
“They’re taking all this stuff I’ve ever said that’s wrong and smushing it all together,” he said, referencing viral video clips showing his use of the n-word on The Joe Rogan Experience. “It’s good because it makes me address some stuff that I really wish wasn’t out there.”
Many of Rogan’s supporters on the right, however, aren’t keen on the podcaster’s repeated rehashing of the racism accusations. On Monday night, Donald Trump released a statement chastising Rogan for pandering to his detractors.
“Joe Rogan is an interesting and popular guy, but he’s got to stop apologizing to the Fake News and Radical Left maniacs and lunatics,” the former president wrote. “How many ways can you say you’re sorry? Joe, just go about what you do so well and don’t let them make you look weak and frightened. That’s not you and it never will be!”
Tuesday’s stand-up et also included a short Q&A segment, with one fan asking Rogan if he considered accepting the recent $100 million offer from Rumble, a Canadian right-wing video-sharing site, to move his podcast to the platform.
“No, Spotify has hung in with me, inexplicably,” Rogan said. “Let’s see what happens.”
Spotify has defended Rogan and his podcast in recent weeks, even after the streaming giant quietly removed over 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience from the platform for inflammatory language on Friday.
“We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote in an internal company letter Monday. “But canceling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.”