Just a few days after he tore into Joe Rogan for making blatantly racist comments about what it means to be “Black,” Trevor Noah spent nearly 10 minutes defending the influential podcaster on Monday night’s episode of The Daily Show—all while insisting that wasn’t what he was doing.
Noah began his long, unscripted rant by catching his audience up on everything that has been happening with Rogan and artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, who have taken their music off of Spotify so as not to support the same streaming service that exclusively broadcasts his misinformation-filled podcast.
On Sunday night, Rogan posted a long video on his Instagram account that contained an apology to anyone he’s “pissed off” and a vow to “try harder” when it comes to balancing the opinions of his guests. At the same time, he admitted that he has “no idea” what he’s going to talk to guests about before episodes begin, which is why the ideas he espouses to his millions of listeners are “not that prepared or fleshed out.”
“I actually thought it was pretty classy,” Noah said, joking that he “half expected” Rogan to come out and say that his podcast was hacked. “But instead, he owned up to it. I thought it was pretty dope. It was refreshing.”
The host also praised Rogan for saying that he is still a fan of Neil Young’s music despite the musician’s efforts to pressure Spotify to drop him and then suggested that many of the most controversial Joe Rogan Experience clips have been taken out of context.
“I’m not trying to defend Joe Rogan,” he said. “And somebody’s maybe going to do it to me, they’re going to take a part out and go ‘Trevor defends Joe Rogan.’” But that being said, he wanted to back up Rogan’s claim that he often hosts people who disagree with him, including a viral clip of his anti-vaccine conspiracy theory getting corrected in real time during his own show.
“But because of the internet age that we live in, we shit on people based on the little that we see of them, we don’t give them the full context. So in his defense, I get that part of what he’s saying.”
“But because of the internet age that we live in, we shit on people based on the little that we see of them, we don’t give them the full context,” Noah continued. “So in his defense, I get that part of what he’s saying.”
To be fair, Noah did later push back against some of the creative ways Rogan has tried to dismiss his critics and debunked his “vaccines are bullshit” rhetoric directly. But he also repeatedly made points “in Joe Rogan’s defense,” while each time making a joke like, “I can’t believe I’m saying that right now.”
By the end of the segment, Noah seemed to realize what he had done. “Now there’s going to be a headline: ‘Trevor Noah defends Joe Rogan.’ That’s all they’re going to cut out. Or ‘Trevor Noah slams Joe Rogan.’”
“Welcome to the internet,” he concluded.