Joe Rogan is the host of one of the most popular podcasts on the planet. Recently on his podcast, he addressed the controversy surrounding his friend Ari Shaffir after the comedian made a series of offensive jokes following the death of Kobe Bryant.
Fans had been waiting for a response from Rogan, who is not only a friend of Shaffir’s but often has the comedian on his The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. On “Episode 1421,” Rogan spoke with fellow comedian Jim Norton about how Shaffir crossed the line with his jokes immediately following the death of Bryant and his daughter.
During the conversation, Norton mentions Shaffir and the severe backlash he’s experienced after mocking Bryant’s death on social media. The comedian mentions how “people say dumb sh*t” and realizes that in comedy you are subject to public opinion when you make offensive comments.
Rogan tries to come up with a word to describe Shaffir’s actions and says that “dumb” does not suffice. Both comedians know that part of Shaffir’s comedy “persona” is deliberately saying terrible things after a celebrity passes, and they feel this time the comedian got caught up trying to outdo himself.
“It was so stupid, but it’s also what you said earlier, that you gotta keep ramping it up,” the MMA analyst said. “When you do outrageous things to get people to be like ‘Oh, look at Jimmy, he’s crazy,’ you get caught in a trap and you keep doing it more and more outrageous.”
The podcast host does not believe his friend was being malicious and says he only made the jokes “for shock value.” He references “sicko fans” of Shaffir’s that look forward to these horrific jokes following a celebrity death.
Even if he was doing it just to impress fans, Rogan says Shaffir now has to deal with the backlash.
“He needed to know that there are consequences for just saying ridiculous sh*t that you’re not supposed to say when people die.”
The former Fear Factor host chalks the comments up to the comedian leaning too far into his “persona” and adds that “he’s really a good guy” once you get to know him.
Shaffir sent out salacious tweets celebrating Bryant’s death on the day of the helicopter crash. The next day he uploaded a video on Instagram doubling down on his sentiments saying the Lakers legend “died 23 years too late.”
Following intense online scrutiny, the comedian posted a lengthy apology on Instagram explaining the jokes were part of his “niche comedy.”