Whitney Cummings and Joe Rogan talked about a topic that has had the podcast host and UFC commentator in the news the past week: cancel culture. Cummings, a stand-up comic and actress, joined Rogan on the JRE podcast episode #1654, published on Spotify on May 19, 2021. Rogan sparked controversy earlier in the week with his comments about “woke” people, saying straight white men will be silenced.
Rogan said, “Some people are so sensitive though. So sensitive. It’s also we do podcasts and we’re talking out loud and you don’t know what the f*** you’re saying while you’re saying it. And then people take it and make a clip out of it. Like this is a very important statement by Whitney Cummings. Every day I say something stupid. You could find some s***. I’m not paying attention.”
Cummings said, “There’s this new thing, when people talk about cancel culture and everything, I’m like, ‘When did comedians become heroes and a moral compass?’ Our job is to go into dangerous areas, say dangerous s***, test the waters, we’re the f***** Magellan on the front line. You know when penguins push another penguin off the cliff? That’s us. We’re like, ‘I’ll jump off of this cliff and see if there are sharks.’ We’re supposed to be explorers, we’re supposed to play devil’s advocate and have hot takes.”
Cummings said she is working on a new hour comedy set and is writing things that aren’t true and then defending them with jokes. “That’s kind of like the way I start writing,” she said. “And I hope you don’t agree with anything, because then it can’t be original or you’ve probably heard it at work today. The idea is you pay money to hear someone say some s*** you’d never hear anywhere else. It’s a haunted house.”
Rogan added, “It’s also, you don’t really know if it’s going to work, until you try it out.” Cummings said comedians need to be given, “the room to fail.” Rogan added, “Most people do. It’s a small, vocal minority that don’t.”
The podcast with Cummings also came after another comedian and frequent Rogan podcast guest, Tony Hinchcliffe, came under fire for using an anti-Asian racist slur after being introduced by Chinese-born comedian Peng Dang. Hinchcliffe was removed from a comedy show in Austin he was set to appear at with Rogan after Dang posted a clip of that moment and it went viral.
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Rogan Said There’s ‘Recreational Outrage’ on Social Media & Comedians Are a Good Target
Cummings said, “I do think it’s funny with all the cancel culture stuff, I do kind of joke that comedians, we had exasperated it so much because we’re so sensitive.” Rogan added, “We put fuel in the fire. We say the most dumb s***.” Cummings said, “It does get tricky when as a comedian you say, ‘It’s not my job for everyone to like me. I hope I’m polarizing.’ We can’t fight for, ‘I have the right to say whatever I want, first amendment rights,’ and then ‘You don’t have the right to not like me.’ It’s like, ‘Whatever, you don’t like me, fine.'”
Rogan added, “In this culture there’s no f****** everyone is going to like you. It’s not possible. If you’re the most rational, reasonable person on the left, some s***head on the right is going to hate you. If you’re the most rational conservative person, some wokester is going to get pissed you. There’s no way. Nobody skates.”
Rogan said, “There’s a recreation right now. Recreational outrage. Recreational attacks. People try to find things that piss them off and attack them. And if you want to find those, comedians are the best resource. If you’re looking for something to get mad at, you can find us all the time.”
Cummings said, “Addiction to me is the element of the conversation that’s missing to me in this whole thing. Self-righteous indignation is a legitimate addiction. Adrenaline makes dopamine. When you go on there and go, ‘F*** this guy,’ and you get two likes … it’s a dopamine high.”
Rogan Said He Understands Why People Choose to Attack Him: ‘I Would Go After Me’
Cummings said people are holding comedians to a standard they never agreed to be held to. “We have always kept the bar for ourselves very low in terms of our behavior,” she said.
Rogan added, “We’re all trying to adjust to the times. We’re all trying to resonate with enough people that recognize that yeah we may misstep or we may say stupid s***, and I’m certainly guilty of that a lot, but what we’re trying to do is not that. We’re not trying to be a**holes. We’re trying to be funny. Or we’re trying to think out loud. Sometimes I’ll say something and think, ‘No, that doesn’t make sense.’ And then I’ll have to go back and fix it. But if you just cut it right there, then it looks really stupid. You have to put the whole thing together or it doesn’t really represent what you’re trying to say. But we do it to ourselves in this culture. And this is what is dangerous about it, but it’s also what’s good about it.”
Rogan added, “I guarantee you right now, if I was not me, and I saw some of the dumb s*** I say, I would go after me. Because I know it’s a good target. Because as a comic, if someone says something really f****** stupid, you’re like, ‘That’s a good target. F*** that dude.’ I would for sure mock me. I get it when other people do it.”
Rogan said there’s fear that the “emotional stress” that comedians go through when they’re being attacked will quit, “and we don’t want that. We want to know what your real intentions are. And everyone I f*** with, they’re good people. When we see each other, we’re super affectionate and friendly. There’s so much love.”
Rogan said, “We’re not more divided than ever,” Rogan said. “We’re just more divided in the digital realm, and the digital realm is so unnatural. But it’s so common. It becomes far too much of the way we interact with each other. That’s the problem. It’s just not indicative of the way people are when they are right in front of you. Most people you’re in front of, they could talk crazy s*** about you online, but if you saw them and you just had a few words together and you were like, ‘Give me hug,’ and they’d hug you and you’d both feel way more relaxed.”
Cummings added, “The fact that we’re not killing each other constantly is a miracle.” Rogan said, “I think that way of interacting is toxic inherently. I don’t think there’s any way around it being at least partially toxic.”
Rogan said, “The thing that’s missing is just open communication. And the time that it takes to just communicate one on one with everybody. It’s just not possible. So it creates this f****** feeding frenzy of chaos and takedown culture.”