Stand-up comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan has invited his fair share of controversy over the past few years, but despite all that (or maybe because of it) he’s also managed to sit regularly across from some of the biggest names in science, entertainment, and politics. Possibly the two most dynamically opposed guests Rogan has ever welcomed on his show are Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and world’s richest man Elon Musk. But what if you could cut out Rogan entirely and have the two icons of modern U.S. capitalism scrap against each other? Well, folks, behold “The Bernie Sanders Experience.”
Created by editor and video producer Justin T. Brown, the clip uses mash-ups of both Sanders’ and Musk’s appearances on Rogan’s podcast and subverts them into its own convincing three-and-a-half-minute feature with Sanders’ playing the role of host.
The remarkably well-edited video starts off with the now timeless clip of Musk taking a hit of a blunt on the original Joe Rogan Experience in 2018 (Tesla’s stock price took a hit of its own the following day).
Sufficiently stoned, Musk then receives a brief crash course on rising US income inequity, where, as Sanders puts it, over the last 30 years the top 1% has seen a $21,000,000,000,000 increase in their wealth while the bottom half has experienced a $900,000,000,000 decline. Looking off in the distance, Musk simply responds, “Hmm, that’s strange…”
When interviewer Sanders goes on to ask Musk how he would improve the average U.S. worker’s living conditions, Musk emphatically brings up his, so far underwhelming, grand plan to dig tunnels beneath major cities. When Sanders radically suggests giant holes won’t actually meaningfully improve peoples’ well-being, Musk lays down the ultimate trump card.
“A hole in the ground is better than no hole in the ground!” Right.
Possibly the best part of the entire video is watching Sanders grill Musk over his notoriously negligible tax payments.
“Pay your taxes,” Sanders begs, “That’s what I want you to do right now.” After some all too believable uncomfortable laughs, Musk responds, “No, definitely not.” When Sanders suggests the working class could stand up and threaten the billionaire’s wealth Musk appears flummoxed, “This is crazy, stop bothering me!”
Brown’s hilarious alternate reality draws upon a lineage of other “what if” JRE podcast mashups with one of the better ones being this interview of Joe Rogan interviewing another version of himself.
The Sanders and Musk parody especially stands out though because it seems to play out just about exactly how you’d imagine, with Time’s Person of the Year appearing completely out of touch with the realities of everyday people and Sanders passionately, but pointlessly, speaking to a very expensive brick wall.