Joe Rogan Won't Shut Up About Adolf Hitler

Antisemitism is taking deeper and deeper root in the right-wing podcast crowd.

Joe Rogan Won't Shut Up About Adolf Hitler
Image via The Joe Rogan Experience/Hitler.

Consider two more signs of the creeping normalization of antisemitism in American comedy. 

Sign number one: Joe Rogan will not shut up about Adolf Hitler. In his conversation with conservative writer Coleman Hughes this week, he enthused once again over how reasonable the dictator sounds in AI-generated translations of his speeches, this time playing a clip in which an angry cartoon Hitler shouts the following: 

Whether you believe that I have been diligent, that I have worked, that I have advocated for you in these years, that I have been decent. I have spent my time in service of my people. Now cast your vote. If yes, then stand up for me as I have stood up for you.

As best I can tell, this is from a speech Hitler gave at a factory in Essen, Germany on March 28, 1936. By this point, history buffs will know, he had seized total control over Germany and passed the Nuremberg Laws, depriving German Jews of their citizenship and effectively creating the legal framework for the Holocaust. Tens of thousands of political prisoners were locked up in German jails; there were massive concentration camps in Oranienburg, Esterwegen, Dachau, and Lichtenburg, and smaller camps throughout the country. The Brownshirts had already spent years waging street violence, then been purged and replaced by the SS in 1934, which promptly got to work building a police state. More than a decade had passed since Hitler published Mein Kampf, articulating his own journey to antisemitism and his broader political vision for the German state, including the removal of Jews and Communists. The speech he gave in Essen, the one Rogan shared with Hughes, came just before a rigged election to approve the occupation of the Rhineland and consolidate Nazi power in the Reichstag. 

“It’s such an aggressive language, and when you hear Hitler yelling it, it’s so aggressive, and then when you know what he’s actually saying, you’re like, ‘Oh, this is like a regular politician,’” Rogan says. “Very bizarre. Because we have these misconceptions, these preconceived notions, because of, obviously, all the evil things he actually wound up doing. Which are real.”

At the risk of giving too much credit to a man who is clearly historically illiterate, I might suggest that what we’re seeing here is symptomatic of a popular failure to understand that fascists do not always go around declaring that they are fascist, and that in fact they depend on well-meaning and reasonable people thinking that they, too, are well-meaning and reasonable. (See: Rogan’s recent guest Chris Rufo.) But even this is an inadequate takeaway, because Hitler literally does not sound remotely well-meaning or reasonable in the clip Rogan plays. So what we’re left with instead is the unsettling realization that at a time of incipient fascism, one of our most popular and trusted media personalities is so unbelievably stupid as to be charmed by an artificial rendering of 1936-era Adolf Hitler. Cool.

Sign number two: on the latest episode of Andrew Schulz’s podcast Flagrant, after a segment criticizing Ben Shapiro for cutting ties with Candace Owens, who recently proved to be too antisemitic even for The Daily Wire, Schulz and his cohosts take a page out of Ann Coulter’s book and have a grand old time referring to Jews as “Globalists” and “Globies.” (None of them, it should be said, are Jewish.)

ALEXX MEDIA: I still remember Williamsburg when it was rough.
SCHULZ: I remember when it was the fucking globalists! It was the headquarters for the globalists. 
MARK GAGNON: I talked to a globalist on the phone, trying to figure out a deal for the apartment. 
SCHULZ: And what did the globalist say?
GAGNON: It's the globalist that runs my current apartment. And I was like, "Is there any way you can keep me in the area?” 'Cause my wife is a midwife for the globalist community.
SCHULZ: So smart.
ALEXX MEDIA: For the super-globies.
SCHULZ: We’re talking about, they got the hats, the curls. 

This goes on for a while, with Schulz eventually describing how he found his current home:

SCHULZ: I located the deal myself, sans globalist. I found the deal. I’m sure it was listed by a globalist, but I found it. And now we have the meatballs working on it. But the meatballs are very—
AKAASH SINGH: You need the enchiladas working on it, the chimichangas. 
SCHULZ: Honestly, the meatballs hired the chimichangas. So the meatballs have hired the chimichangas, and the chimichangas, I think, are fantastic, but the meatballs. I don't know if they're communicating to the chimichangas what needs to get done.

…This goes on for a while too, until they discuss how they found their current podcast studio: 

SCHULZ: Let’s be very clear about this. A Nagasaki helped us with this place. A Nagasaki designed this place. A nukie—a nuke designed this place. 
SINGH: “Nuke” is good. Because it rhymes.
SCHULZ: A nuke designed this place—technically, built. But then there was, we did have a globalist that came in to do something. They maybe did the work or something. 

Finally they wrap up the episode by shouting out The Daily Wire, which Schulz earlier described as “the last bastion of free speech,” and declaring “Christ is king,” a phrase that right-wing influencers like Owens, Nick Fuentes, and Andrew Tate have recently turned into an antisemitic dogwhistle. (Here I might as well add that at the beginning of the episode, Schulz complains that Joe Biden may have alienated the religious right by celebrating the Trans Day of Visibility.) To wit:

SCHULZ: [Checking his phone] I just saw motion detected. Now there’s a Black woman stealing my baby. 
GAGNON: You got an oxtail grabbing your baby? You gotta go do something.
SCHULZ: Okay guys, listen. In conclusion, Christ is king. Shout out to globalists, though. I fucks with the globalists. Yo, love the globies. Big globalist fan. Christ is king, though. We know that. Anything else? Shoutout Daily Wire. Shoutout Matt Walsh. 
ALEXX MEDIA: What Is A Woman.
SCHULZ: We need to know what the fuck that is.
ALEXX MEDIA: Get to the bottom of that.
SCHULZ: We are going to get to the bottom of that. We’re gonna have him on the pod and see if he can tell, talking all that shit like he knows. I’m gonna show you a fucking c—t and see if you can tell the difference between my dick folded up and a nice fresh c—t, Matt. Christ is King. 

I cannot stress enough that these are massively popular comedians. Schulz just played a sold-out show that the 17,500-seat LA Forum. Next month he and Shane Gillis are playing the 20,000-seat Arena as part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival. Lest you think his standup is meaningfully different than his podcast banter, it’s not. This sort of low-hanging-fruit stereotype humor is basically all he does. It’s why he’s so popular. 

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I’m sure Schulz and his fans would insist that none of his racism or antisemitism is serious, but that’s the whole point: in comedy they’ve found a pretext to say the things one cannot say, things they just so happen to take pleasure in saying, and whose earnest proponents, like Ben Shapiro and Matt Walsh and Candace Owens, they just so happen to consider ideological allies. The function of their jokes is not to defang or critique antisemitism but to destigmatize it—to make it acceptable.

We can ignore it if we want, just as we can ignore Rogan’s nascent belief that Hitler was a reasonable politician. Or we can notice just how many people seem to want what they're selling. 

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