Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan were left confused over why Elon Musk hosting Saturday Night Live sparked controversy online. The comedians discussed Musk and his SNL hosting gig during the JRE podcast episode #1647, which was released on May 7, 2021. Chappelle asked Rogan what he thought about the outrage and Rogan said it was “ridiculous.” Chappelle called it “puzzling.”
Rogan, who is no stranger to creating his social media uproar and who has had Musk on his podcast, added, “No one is woke enough. They can’t appreciate the fact that you’re dealing with literally one of the most brilliant men who has ever lived who is coming to do your show. You’re talking to a guy who simultaneously runs multiple world-changing businesses. Whether it’s Tesla, whether it’s SpaceX, whether it’s The Boring Company. He’s putting tunnels underneath the f***** earth. He’s putting satellites into space to put high-speed internet around the world. He’s doing all these things simultaneously.”
Chappelle joked, “Can he write a monologue? That’s what we’re going to find out.” Rogan responded, “He’s not funny. He’s a brilliant guy, he could probably do anything if he set his mind to it. The fact that they’ve decided somehow that he’s problematic, it doesn’t make any sense.”
Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO who has a net worth of more than $160 billion, hosted the NBC sketch comedy show on Saturday, May 8, 2021, a day after Chappelle’s appearance on Rogan’s podcast was posted on Spotify.
Rogan said about Musk, “He doesn’t need attention. He’s cool to talk to. He’s genuinely there. Even though I’m a moron in comparison to him, when I talk to him he’ll talk to me in a normal way. … We’ll have these weird conversations where he’ll explain his thought process about what’s intriguing about something or what made him interested in pursuing something.”
He continued, “Elon Musk is not Einstein in the sense that he’s not creating equations that are going to shape the way our universe is thought of and perceived. But what he is doing is creating these businesses and these articles of technology, whether it’s Tesla or it’s SpaceX, these rockets, he’s changing the potential of our future. He’s changed what it means to have an electric car. He made an electric car instead of a thing that’s practical, he made this dope space ship that goes 0 to 60 in a little over two seconds.”
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Chappelle Questioned Whether the Backlash Is ‘Just Because He’s Rich’
Chappelle posed a question to Rogan during the Musk and SNL discussion, “Is it just because he’s rich?” Rogan responded:
Who knows? It doesn’t matter anymore. They just decide. Like, ‘What the f*** is this? This is bulls***. Why him?’ There was some people who felt he dismissed COVID’s danger at one point in time. But he did that because he’s intelligent. Because his perspective, he’s a reductionist, his perspective on it was like looking at the numbers and what it is, instead of looking at the emotional impact of people losing loved ones. So sometimes someone who is a genius might say something that appears to be insensitive. I don’t think he’s insensitive, I just think he was looking at it in terms of what is the odds that you’re going to die and saying children are essentially immune. He was saying things that a lot of people felt were insensitive. But that was A) a long time ago and B) he was just explaining his perspective on the disease. And he wasn’t as fearful as they thought he should be. And then you know he came to our shows and there are picture of us all hanging out maskless. And then people got COVID afterwards so they thought that it was his girlfriend that gave us COVID.
Rogan added, ” They want someone to be 100 percent compliant to whatever ideology they’re a part of. And any deviation of that is problematic. Like I saw an article that said, ‘Elon Musk donated $150 million to some charity’ and they called him a cheap skate. How hilarious is that? … It was such a s***** article. Just a poorly written knucklehead article.” Chappelle added, “Like you said, no one can be woke enough. I’m torn, because I like a warrior for a good cause. … You’re not going to nag people into behaving in a way. In fact, if you continue with this tone, even if you’re right, you’re going to be hard to hear.”
Rogan responded, “Maybe it was the COVID thing. But again if I think back on his statements, I don’t think they were particularly insensitive. I think they were just, it was more of a factual bluntness to the way he discusses things, because he’s a numbers guy. He looks at things in terms of equations. I mean, he’s trying to put people on Mars”
While Rogan was left baffled by why Musk created controversy, some of those who were angered by the decision by SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels to have Musk host have explained their reasoning.
E.W. Niedermeyer, a podcast host and writer, tweeted, “I don’t claim to speak for the left, but: union busting, poor workplace conditions/safety, SWATing whistleblowers, repeated environmental violations (really), market manipulation, unsafe automated driving development/deployment and even by the standards of an unregulated industry.” He added, “I think the core of the left’s animus toward Musk is that he embodies the triumphant power of unfettered, highly-concentrated capital that defines our times. The fact that he so openly cultivates a shallow, smarmy, grifting cult of personality as cover adds insult to injury.”
Columnist and radio show host Dean Obeidallah added, “Well SNL sadly helped Elon Musk whitewash his history of spreading lies about COVID, defying Covid restrictions that resulted in 440 Tesla Employees contracting Covid and making insensitive comments about the transgender community.”
Rogan & Chappelle Agreed Musk Is a ‘Sweet Dude’
Chappelle, Rogan, Musk and Musk’s girlfriend, Grimes, were photographed together in Austin during a comedy show. Chappelle said, “And by the way, he and she were very incredibly kind to me. I teased him about being the richest man in the world and he took it in good humor. What’s funny is I had hung out with him years ago, after I quit Chappelle’s Show, when I was on that tour that I was telling you about that was a tough one. We hung out on a tour bus and he says to me that night when we were all together, here in Austin, he goes ‘I met you before.’ And I had no recollection and he looked kind of hurt. It was a long time ago. I just thought it was funny.”
Chappelle added, “I remember seeing him on your show once, it was just one of those YouTube clips. And he said, ‘I have so much in my mind.'” Rogan said, “Because I asked him what it’s like to be you, and he said, ‘You wouldn’t want to be me.’ It wasn’t bragging, he was just being honest. His brain is like a hurricane. You could see it while he was sitting there, he was trying to sit there and have a conversation and he’s probably going over f***** equations and thinking about concepts and new ideas and plotting things.”
Rogan said, “The money gives you a certain amount of freedom to do whatever you want to do. But it also comes with so much pressure. So much responsibility. And so much scrutiny. Think about how many people are looking at every single thing that Elon does. Like this Saturday Night Live thing is the perfect example. They’ve just decided that it’s not good that the’s on Saturday Night Live. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there is a specific thing they’re upset about. But I haven’t heard that. … I don’t get it. Why are you upset?”
Chappelle, who said he was planning to watch the SNL episode, added, “What do you think is in it for Elon? If I was the richest man in the world, would I do Saturday Night Live? I don’t know. I might, just because I love comedy so much. I guess he loves comedy. … There’s something about it that’s endearing.”
Rogan said about Musk, “I like him a lot. He’s a sweet dude.” Chappelle added, “I’ve got to say that night we were all just sitting around talking, he’s one of these guys who seems actually shy.”