On Thursday night, Elon Musk sat for a freewheeling two-and-a-half-hour podcast interview with Joe Rogan, a comedian who has used his growing platform to discuss everything from UFC to psychedelics, as well as to elevate “Intellectual Dark Web” personalities like Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris. It was a fitting venue: Musk, known to troll and thumb his nose at his critics, is exactly the sort of figure that Rogan’s podcast lionizes.
The podcast episode, which was live-streamed on YouTube, has drawn the most attention for the moment when Musk smoked marijuana on air. At around the two-hour mark, Rogan casually pulled out a blunt as Musk was fiddling around with a jar he’d found in the studio. When the host asked if Musk had ever smoked a blunt, the CEO replied, “I think I tried one once.” Then, like a school kid trying to figure out if his new friend is down to break the rules, Rogan teased, “Come on man. You probably can’t because of stockholders right?” That’s when Musk noted that marijuana is legal—at least in California, where they were taping—and took a drag. Tesla stock plunged in after-hours trading and is currently down by about 7 percent, which some commentators attributed to the drag, along with the (undoubtedly more consequential) news that two executives are leaving the company.
Even before Rogan lit up, though, the interview sounded an awful lot like two stoners shooting the breeze—not necessarily a bad thing. As with his other interviews, Rogan was game to indulge tangents and jump erratically from topic to topic. At one moment they’d be discussing human-machine symbiosis, and then Rogan’s recurring dream in which a million Nikola Tesla’s roamed the earth, and then the fact that Musk doesn’t have a protective case for his phone. Musk himself drifted in and out of the conversation, often abruptly training his attention to random items on Rogan’s desk. Rogan was happy to show off his souvenirs, handing Musk a samurai sword from the 1500s and promising to buy Musk a clock just like his.
Rogan’s tone toward Musk was both gushing and, at times, oddly avuncular. The host again and again marveled at Musk’s capacity for ingenuity, throwing around terms like “super genius” and “Batman.” Yet Rogan also seemed almost concerned for Musk’s wellbeing, bewildered by how he budgets his time for off-the-cuff projects like the Boring Company’s novelty flamethrower and handles his overactive mind. Perhaps inspired by Musk’s previous admissions that he’s sleeping far less than seven hours a night and becoming dependent on Ambien, Rogan pushed the CEO to take up meditation or invest in a sensory deprivation tank to enhance his “biological recovery time.” Musk seemed somewhat skeptical, as he was when Ariana Huffington suggested that he would be more productive if he committed to getting more rest.
In the end, Musk didn’t reveal too much that we didn’t already know. He did hint that his secretive A.I. start up Neuralink will make a major announcement in a month or so and walked through his preliminary plans to build an electric plane. For the most part, though, this mainly just seemed like an opportunity for Musk to take a break to chill, smoke some kush, and play with some sick samurai swords.
You can watch the full interview here:
One more thing
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