Rogan was the one who brought up The Matrix, saying one of his wilder thoughts about the current state of the world is that artificial intelligence is actually behind the scenes, bringing people “deeper into the hive.”
Oswalt ran with the idea: “What if the AI knows that eventually it does have to unplug us and let us see that we’re in the protein pods? ‘That’s going to freak them out, so let’s make this fake reality so fucking insane and awful. We’ll have Trump be president. We’ll have this virus.'”
In the 1999 sci-fi classic, humans are unknowingly slaves to machines that keep them in check through a simulated reality. Some of the humans are able to break free from the Matrix simulation and they wage war on the machines in the real dystopian world.
Oswalt contended fans root for the wrong character in the film, saying the hero is not necessarily Neo, played by Keanu Reeves.
“There’s a very strong case to be made for Cypher’s character, like, ‘No. Plug me the fuck back into this,'” Oswalt said. Joe Pantoliano played Cypher, one of the freed humans who regrets the decision to take the red reality pill, since the simulation was so much more warm and satisfying than reality.
“‘I’m nude with atrophied muscles, hairless in a jagged wasteland of radioactive slag, or I can be in this world where I have a nice job, where I eat a steak and marry someone,'” Oswalt ranted. “‘Can I just live in this — I am fine with it. Morpheus, who the fuck are you helping?! Why are you dragging us out?! The machines aren’t trying to kill us.'”
He continued from the point of view of the machines: “‘And by the way, you guys fucked up the Earth. We’re doing the best we can for you guys. We could have just let you all die in the wasteland, but instead, we found a way so that you can live.'”
Back speaking for himself, Oswalt added, “People always miss that line where [Agent] Smith (Hugo Weaving) says, ‘You know, when we first did the Matrix, it was just flat-out paradise, and you guys couldn’t handle that and you rejected it.’ … Probably the first version of the Matrix, everybody could fly and orgasms lasted three months and you could just eat all the chocolate you wanted. And people were like, ‘No! I want a goddamn cubical job!’ And the machines went, ‘OK. I guess they want cubicles. Give ’em that. We tried to be nice.'”
A reboot to The Matrix is in the works, albeit currently on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Watch the full Rogan segment, below.