Mike Rowe: ‘Comedians Have Let Us Down’
'Dirty Jobs' star slams comics for not speaking Truth to Power during pandemic
Mike Rowe isn’t a comedian by trade, but he knows funny business when he sees it.
Or, in the case of modern comedians, when it’s all but nonexistent.
Rowe appeared on Timcast IRL earlier this month, and the conversation focused heavily on the media finally telling us some truths about the pandemic.
Case in point: Both CNN and the CDC noting as many as 40 percent of people hospitalized with COVID weren’t there because of the globe-trotting virus. There’s a massive different between being hospitalized due to COVID-related symptoms and testing positive but being treated for other conditions.
Need more? Obesity puts people at significant risk when it comes to COVID-19, something many understood from the start of the crisis.
Rowe, the face of TV’s “Dirty Jobs” and his podcast, “The Way I Heard It,” saluted some of the brave voices who have been telling us these truths all along. He also brought up the classic satire, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” to describe what’s happening in the culture today.
That story followed a ruler strolling around in his birthday suit after being hoodwinked by tailors playing on his ego. It took a child, according to the Hans Christian Andersen yarn, to reveal he wasn’t a fashion icon at all but a naked fool.
“It had to be the kid because the adults couldn’t do it,” Rowe explained, adding something similar happened during the pandemic with mainstream news coverage. “Go down the list, and look at all the journalists who could have been that kid.”
Instead, a burly comedian turned podcaster – Joe Rogan. – beat them to it.
“It took a comedian who got famous for eating maggots [on ‘Fear Factor’] … that’s what we needed to get [Dr.] Robert Malone out there, to get the whole GETTR thing happening,” said Rogan, referring to the medical expert who questioned pandemic narratives and the rise of a free speech Twitter alternative.
RELATED: Joe Rogan – from Sitcom Sidekick to Red-Pilled Culture Warrior
Rowe continued, ticking off key groups that failed Americans over the past two years, including journalists and politicians. Another group earned his ire, though.
“Our comedians have let us down,” Rowe said. “The court jester you referenced in Andersen’s tale, where is he?”
Late night comedians, Comedy Central and “Saturday Night Live” have mostly avoided mocking the crush of Democrats who betrayed their own COVID-19 restrictions, for example. They also supported government mandates, regardless of the science behind them, while failing to critique Dr. Anthony Fauci’s many missteps.
Democrat San Francisco Mayor @LondonBreed on her mask hypocrisy: “I was feeling the spirit . . . I’m vaccinated, I don’t need to wear a mask.” pic.twitter.com/WqxImm5sP5
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) September 20, 2021
“The carefulness with which comedy has unfolded, or failed to unfold, and we can blame Cancel Culture, we can blame speech .. they let us down, too,” he said. “Nobody was holding anybody’s feet to the fire in any meaningful way.”
Pool quickly noted a few comic exceptions, including Rogan, Ricky Gervais and Ryan Long.
“[Long isn’t] a right-wing guy. He’s just a comedian poking fun,” Pool said of the wiseacre known for his viral video sensations.
“Rogan has always been an independent voice … it’s why he’s so important,” said Rowe, adding the comic appeals to “regular people” who aren’t obsessed with politics. “He does point to the emperor and say, ‘you’re not wearing any clothes, and I don’t care.’”
“The emperor,” Pool noted, is the “narrative.”
RELATED: Can Joe Rogan Save Journalism?
Rowe continued praising Rogan, saying he often disagrees with the Spotify superstar but follows him for a different reason.
“[Rogan] has a measure of the humility that’s lacking in science … he has a comedian’s sense of the absurd and, most importantly, he doesn’t lie,” Rowe said.