Joe Rogan has a lot to say about a lot of things, not all of it particularly enlightening—or even accurate. So much so that he has referred to himself as a “f*cking moron.” He’s perhaps not wrong. One of the concepts he has railed against a lot recently is the idea of cancel culture—a fact that comedian Carlos Mencia tells The New York Times is particularly “ironic,” given that it was Rogan who “cancelled” him in a brutally public way back before the term was even being used.
Here’s the short version of the story: In 2005, Rogan made a post to his blog titled “Carlos Mencia is a weak minded joke thief.” The title sort of tells you everything you need to know: Rogan accused Mencia of stealing material from a number of other comedians and tweaking them just enough so as to seem original.
Fast forward two years to a night in 2007 where both Mencia and Rogan found themselves at The Comedy Store. While Mencia was still onstage, Rogan—dressed like the stand-in for John Belushi in Animal House—stepped up and very publicly accused Mencia of being a plagiarist, which was captured on video and quickly became a viral hit.
Since these were Rogan’s pre-podcast days, and Mencia had his own Comedy Central show, The Mind of Mencia, Rogan was banned from The Comedy Store and the public largely sided with Mencia in this particular debate… until someone edited a clip of Mencia’s act intercut with the original jokes being told by the comedians he was accused of stealing from.
In 2008, The Mind of Mencia aired its final episode. One year later, The Joe Rogan Experience launched—and has since become one of the world’s most popular podcasts. Sort of like Trading Places. But the irony of Rogan’s ongoing attacks on “cancel culture” have not been lost on Mencia. In a new profile of Rogan in The New York Times, which described him as a “crusader against cancel culture,” Mencia weighs in on the comedian-turned-podcaster’s success, who had this to say:
“For the majority of comedians, he was looked at—still is—as a kind of hero to the cause. It is ironic that a guy who is now saying you shouldn’t cancel anybody at least started the building of his podcast by canceling me.”
If it makes Mencia feel any better, Rogan has plenty critics of his own—Prince Harry and John Oliver among them.
(Via The New York Times)