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Spotify’s Joe Rogan Controversy Sparks An Absurd Debate

Spotify’s excruciatingly prolonged Joe Rogan Experience controversy has inspired a debate on Twitter regarding the role of comedians in our society, which instantly snowballed into a meme.

What’s the Controversy?

After a handful of influential musicians removed their music from Spotify in response to The Joe Rogan Experience regularly spreading COVID misinformation, a wave of subscriber cancellations and bad publicity prompted a heartfelt apology from Rogan, and a vow to do better. 

But the backlash doesn’t seem to be diminishing, as critics have dug into old Rogan clips, uncovering a wealth of dirt; a viral montage featuring Rogan not only saying racial slurs, but making undeniably racist statements, prompted a second apology from Rogan (and a panicked backtracking from the A-listers who stuck up for him).

One can argue that The Joe Rogan Experience was never meant to be viewed as a legitimate news source (and they’d be correct), but there’s no denying that the man has platformed some extremely odious alt-right influencers over the years, boosting hateful nonsense about skull shapes and IQ scores.

Rogan might be “just a comedian,” but he has used the power of his platform (which reportedly boasts 11 million listeners per episode) to amplify some seriously deranged voices.

The podcast’s humble beginnings stand in stark contrast to its current success; Rogan is no longer an edgy outsider, broadcasting theories about psychedelics, martial arts and monkeys to the fringe – he is the mainstream media, and his pandemic misinformation isn’t part of a standup routine.

Coincidentally, the Rogan controversy has coincided with a major backlash against British comedian Jimmy Carr, who told a particularly tasteless Holocaust joke, and is now facing the consequences.

Both controversies echo the backlash against Dave Chappelle for his Netflix special The Closer, which put Netflix in a similar position to Spotify, with subscribers and employees expressing concern over harmful content being allowed on the platform. 

What’s the Role of a Comedian?

On Twitter, the ongoing debate over the limits of comedy inspired a ridiculous tweet, as comedian Whitney Cummings wrote a superbly pretentious description of the comedian’s role in society, prompting fellow comedian and podcaster Marc Maron to post a devastatingly simple response.

Cummings’ hilariously misplaced confidence instantly sparked a meme, as Twitter users parodied her statement: 

Others lamented the fact that entertainment has become permanently fused into politics, turning every dumb discussion into “discourse,” and every criticism of a comedian into a tired “cancel culture” debate. 

Throughout the debate, the Jackass crew held up remarkably well; their brand of crude comedy isn’t for everyone, but thankfully, eye-watering stunts and gross-out gags have yet to spark a single free speech debate. 

We’re all sick of hearing about Joe Rogan’s wrongdoings, but hey, at least something funny finally emerged from the controversy.

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