Joe Rogan Hits Back at Outrage Over Austin ‘Superspreader’ Comedy Shows

joe rogan stubbs austin shows

C.K. Chin/Instagram Joe Rogan at Stubb's Austin with Dave Chappelle, Elon Musk, Grimes and C.K. Chin.

Joe Rogan hit back against the outrage he and Dave Chappelle received over comedy shows they hosted in Austin, Texas, in January amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The comedians held several shows outdoors at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater and were also photographed without masks alongside Elon Musk and Grimes after one of the shows. On Rogan’s Joe Rogan Experience podcast on March 10, he said he didn’t understand the backlash.

“The narrative is that you’re doing these super-spreader events,” Rogan told his guest on the JRE, former CIA officer Mike Baker. “People even got mad at me and Dave Chappelle because Dave and I were doing these shows at Stubbs amphitheater in Austin, outside, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the virus spreads outside. And on top of that we test everyone in the crowd. It’s expensive, it takes a long time, the people get their early, we test the entire crowd. … Antigen tests for the entire crowd. It’s the way to do it and we had a great f****** time and we’re doing it again.”

Rogan said, “some comics have been mad about that. But if you go and look at the comics that are mad, they’re all unsuccessful. Or super liberal and they’re virtual signaling. They’re looking to tag on to this idea that what you’re doing is bad and what we should all do is stay home and lock down. You can go outside.”

Rogan and Chappelle headlined comedy shows at Stubbs Austin in December and January. After the January shows, photos showed them posing with Musk and Grimes along with other comedians, including Michelle Wolf, Donnell Rawlings, Ron White and Mo Amer. Rogan recently moved from California to Texas and built a podcast studio in Austin.

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Chappelle Tested Positive for COVID-19 During the 2nd Set of Austin Shows, but Rogan Says He Didn’t Catch It at Stubbs

Chappelle Tested positive for COVID-19 during the January stretch of shows at Stubbs in Austin. In a statement from his team, the comedian said he was asymptomatic.

“Dave Chappelle is quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19. His remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, TX have been cancelled and ticket holders should contact their point of purchase for refunds,” his rep told Deadline in January. “Chappelle has safely conducted socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June 2020 and he moved those shows to Austin during the winter. Chappelle implemented COVID-19 protocols which included rapid testing for the audience and daily testing for himself and his team. His diligent testing enabled him to immediately respond by quarantining, thus mitigating the spread of the virus. Chappelle is asymptomatic.”

Rogan apologized to fans who weren’t able to attend the shows and said on social media, “because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had Covid and I have tested negative every day this week. Also, the person that gave Covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner Grimes.”

The shows cost either $1,600 for a six-person table or $1,400 for a four-person table, according to Live Nation. The venue said ahead of the December and January shows that strict guidelines would be followed. The rapid COVID-19 tests for all who attended were mandatory, the tables were socially distanced, masks were required when not eating or drinking, staff wore masks, sanitizing stations were available and guests were asked to stay in their seats unless they were using the bathroom.

Rogan addressed Chappelle’s positive test in later January during a conversation on the Joe Rogan Experience with Brendan Schaub. He said someone in Chappelle’s circle who was not involved with the shows caught COVID-19 and spread it to Chappelle.

Rogan Also Said ‘That Fauci Guy Needs to Shut the F*** Up’

During a conversation on COVID-19 and vaccines, Rogan also brought up coronavirus task force adviser and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci, telling Baker, “That Fauci guy needs to shut the f*** up. As much as he’s an expert, and God bless him. One of the things he said that makes me angry is, ‘we’re never going to shake hands again.’ … I never stopped. The f*** are you saying. Wash your hands. Shaking hands isn’t going to kill people, stop saying things like that.”

Fauci’s comments came in April 2020, at the height of the pandemic. He told The Wall Street Journal he thinks one thing about American culture that should be re considered is handshaking.

“I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you. Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease, it probably would decrease instances of influenza dramatically in this country,” Fauci said, according to CNBC. He also told Sinclair Broadcasting, “As a society, just forget about shaking hands. We don’t need to shake hands. We’ve got to break that custom. Because as a matter of fact, that is really one of the major ways that you can transmit a respiratory illness.”

Rogan said in March 2021, “He says too many things that he takes back. He said in the beginning masks don’t work and now he’s saying wear two masks. C’mon man.”

Baker said, “I think he’s become a little enamored of the limelight. And that’s a natural human thing I think. He’s a scientist, that’s great, ‘believe science,’ but I’m just saying, human condition is the attention has not been unattractive to him.”

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