Don’t Believe Tucker Carlson -- Nimesh Patel Told Joe Rogan That He's Not A Cancel Culture Martyr

The 'Saturday Night Live' writer won't let anyone tell him that comedy is canceled
Don’t Believe Tucker Carlson -- Nimesh Patel Told Joe Rogan That He's Not A Cancel Culture Martyr

Nimesh Patel says Tucker Carlson took his Joe Rogan interview out of context following an overblown “insensitivity” incident at a college show. In one stupid story, we filled our entire “Cancel Culture Caterwauling” bingo card.

The first Indian-American writer in Saturday Night Live history has a new YouTube special, Lucky Lefty OR: I Lost My Right Nut and All I Got Was This Stupid Special, in which he follows an important rule handed down to him by Hannibal Burress – “You got to talk about it right when it happens.” One week after he had his right testicle surgically removed in reaction to a cancer diagnosis, he was onstage at the Comedy Cellar in New York building what would become his latest and best hour of stand-up. 

This isn’t the first time Patel has had limited space to process adversity before duty called him up to the mic – in 2018, he was kicked offstage at a Columbia University comedy event in a viral incident shortly before he was set to film a separate set in New York, and the controversy quickly became one of the hot-button topics in the “cancel culture complainer” circuit. Patel turned down offers to appear on numerous conservative platforms before deciding to tell his side of the story on The Joe Rogan Experience, a clip from which was used without Patel’s permission in the promo for a Tucker Carlson-produced documentary earlier this year. 

“People wanted to make me a martyr,” Patel told The Last Laugh Podcast, clarifying that his not-cancellation cannot be co-opted by anyone – especially any idiot who thinks comedy is dying.

In 2018, student organizers from Columbia University’s Asian American Alliance invited Patel to perform a set at an event hosted by the club. “About 20 minutes in I said something that some of them found a bit offensive, which at the time I never found offensive and still don’t find offensive,” Patel told The Last Laugh Podcast, recalling how he quipped that one’s sexuality clearly couldn’t be chosen because Black people can be gay, too -- “Nobody’s doubling down on hardship,” said Patel. Later on in the set, those same student organizers interrupted Patel’s performance to ask him to leave, despite the majority of the young progressive audience taking no issue with Patel’s act. A video of the cut-short set quickly disseminated on the internet, with commentators on each end of the political spectrum projecting their own ideas onto the awkward incident.

“If I was gonna talk about it, it was going to be on the biggest platform possible,” Patel said of his newfound massive media attention, electing to appear on The Joe Rogan Experience to explain the situation. During the talk, Patel walked through his initial anger at being asked to leave in the middle of a performance, as well as the gratitude he felt when many members of the student audience reached out to him after the event in order to express their own frustration and show their support. 

“People were DM’ing me from the show, saying, ‘We’re so sorry that happened, that’s so fucked up,’” Patel told Rogan, “That gave me a beat to be like, ‘Alright, maybe everyone isn’t this way.’” The comic concluded his thoughts on the matter by saying, “It’s so easy to buy into the shit that everyone’s a soft motherfucker. … To me, this Columbia incident, even (among) the students there, it seemed like the exception rather than a rule of like, ‘Everyone’s a soft person.’”

Earlier this year, former Fox News demagogue Tucker Carlson launched a documentary “defense” of comedians who cover controversial topics in The Death of Comedy?, stealing quips and quotes from unwitting comics who never agreed to join his crusade. Patel, who turned down an offer to appear on Carlson’s show after the 2018 incident, appeared in the promotional video for the documentary in the form of a clip from his telling of the story on JRE, saying, “And then one girl goes, ‘We think you’re not entitled to make the jokes you’re making.’” Patel quickly shot back at Carlson on Twitter, saying, “Hey clown, your whole documentary is wrong. I see you only used my Rogan clip because I said no to your producers. This take is stupid.”

Talking to The Last Laugh, Patel explained his full thoughts on the ordeal and its aftermath, including the attempts to lionize him as a victim of “cancel culture,” saying, “I had the same sentiment then that I do now about people trying to hype this idea that comedy is dying, and that you can’t say anything that you want, or whatever the hell it is.” He posited, “I don’t know how these people sustain the argument when there are right-wing millionaire podcasts. There are people who are fully bona fide right wingers going on national tours and selling out. What is dead? What are you talking about?”

Patel in no way considers himself canceled – though, perhaps he’d like to be. “Last I checked, Chappelle is still selling arenas out,” He said, “So if that’s getting canceled, then cancel me.”

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