Comedian Chris Distefano had a lot to say about his recent visit to Vancouver on Joe Rogan’s podcast recently.
Distefano was in town for the Just for Laughs comedy festival last month and compared parts of the city to some US spots when it comes to homelessness, drugs, crime, and encampments.
Distefano said on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast that he was surprised to see the state of Vancouver, seemingly speaking about the Downtown Eastside.
It came up after the pair discussed Fresno, Califonia’s so-called “Skid Row” and their safety concerns due to homelessness. Distefano added that he thought San Jose was really bad as well, and “Vancouver. I just went to Vancouver. That was the one where I was like, I did not know that Vancouver had such a…,” Distefano said.
“What I think Vancouver and these cities are doing is they are just putting their homeless in one section ’cause you know I live in New York… There are homeless and they’re spread out through the city but you never see blocks of tents like you see in San Francisco and Vancouver,” he said on the February 28 episode.
“So when I was there, I was like, ‘This doesn’t feel like the right move either’ to just put them in one corner because New York, they’re spread out but you don’t feel them as much. It’s dangerous but not really — whereas San Francisco and Vancouver they were like, one of the local comics I was with in San Fran was like, ‘You cannot leave anything in your car around this theatre, you cannot, they will break in,'” he said.
“I think the police in Vancouver and San Fran… they don’t care.
“They don’t even go into that district. Just let it be a free for all,” he said.
He added, “Maybe you’ve got to give them psychedelics.”
Rogan goes on to share his opinion that whatever officials are doing when it comes to these issues, “whatever you are doing right now it’s just not working.”
He added that he believes that some of the issues stem from police violence, “it’s not a perfect system.”
It’s unclear when the last time Rogan was able to see Vancouver firsthand — as the controversial host had to cancel his Vancouver visit because he is unvaccinated.
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It’s also not the first time Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has been used as an example.
The area made headlines through a documentary called Vancouver is Dying, which was made by Aaron Gunn, who has also been linked to the anti-vaccine mandate and so-called freedom movements.
Many local Vancouver-based advocates spoke out against the documentary for harmful stereotypes, lack of mention of the toxic drug supply, and political messaging.
Canadian Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has also seen condemnation for his comments regarding the state of the city, saying that it shows decriminalization has been a “failure.”
“The Trudeau-NDP approach is on open display in Vancouver. It is a complete disaster, it is hell on Earth,” he said in Ottawa in February.