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Profile: Joe Rogan

TV presenter, commentator, comedian and author of the main podcast in the USA. Who is he and why is he popular in Russia.

Joe Rogan

In the United States, a big boom of podcasts continues: almost all media personalities have their own shows – from comedians and journalists to porn actresses and directors. However, so far only one podcast has gained wide popularity in Russia – Joe Rogan Experience, which is hosted by comedian and commentator UFC Joe Rogan.

At home, Rogan is called “the main idol of American men”, and in Russia they know due to the release in which Elon Musk smoked weed. In fact, the comedian has been podcasting since 2009 and for 10 years he has built a conveyor for the production of shows with guests from various fields of interest and an atmosphere of friendly dinner, where two people chat, joke, drink or eat. This approach allowed Rogan to gain a foothold in the top podcasts of iTunes and make a name for himself not only in the United States, but around the world.

From Fear Factor to UFC

In the 2000s, American viewers warmly received television shows built on human suffering for money. Together with The Freaks, one of the most rated was the Fear Factor, a program in which participants received $ 50,000 for eating bugs, fighting each other in the mud, or testing themselves for courage in the jungle.

Over the course of a couple of seasons, the host, an eccentric and rather large physique, Joe Rogan, began to play an important role in the “Fear Factor”. He told in an interview that he agreed to this work only in order to collect stories for his stand-up. In the frame, the presenter was so confident in himself that he was not afraid to enter into conflict with the participants. Like in the episode with a married couple who regularly quarreled with other participants. Rogan asked the girl not to do this again, but her husband interceded – this led to a short brawl. Memes and alterations of this situation on YouTube are still collecting views and are being played back to the presenter.

During the years of the popularity of the “Fear Factor,” Rogan was associated with the UFC, where he worked as a journalist and commentator. He found a common language with the fighters due to the fact that he looked like an experienced athlete, plus he became a master of martial arts. He has a respectful relationship with many: for example, Rogan once explained that he did not interview freshly knocked out fighters – he did not want to embarrass those who were too confused. He, too, could speak at the UFC, but in his youth he abandoned this idea because he did not want his whole life to “experience headaches and make money from training others.”

For a wider audience, Rogan was known as Joe Garrelli, the protagonist of the NewsRadio series. His character was remembered for constantly talking about conspiracy theories, believing in secret government and UFOs. At the same time, Rogan has been on television for most of his life: in 1994, he signed a contract with Disney and starred in the family’s sitcom about baseball “Hardball”. After two relatively successful television shows, Rogan professionally engaged in comedy.

30 years in stand-up

““ What, you want to say that women cannot do everything the same as men? ”Exactly. That is what I’m talking about. It smacks of sexism. But this is not sexism. Even men cannot do everything that men do. There is no physical equality. For this, there are the Olympic Games, ”is an excerpt from stand-up Joe Rogan, released in 2016. In almost all his speeches, the comedian speaks quite openly: about the “idiot” Donald Trump, the “old woman” Hillary Clinton, the need to completely legalize marijuana, stop persecuting people (in particular, Louis Xi Kay) for past mistakes, and so on.

Back in 2008, Rogan explained that he was used to saying what he thought and did not want to limit the range of topics in his speeches.

My kind of comedy is talking about all kinds of things. About drugs, about sex, about the secrets of the cosmos, about how we look at the world. This is a strange world where we live, literally we are on a stone flying through the universe. We fly in space, and no one ever raises this topic. Have you ever paused to think about it?

Joe Rogan

comedian, podcast

After 11 years, some comedian sayings may seem bold and even reckless. Despite what happened to the director James Gann, how Louis Cay’s career is developing and what kind of reaction in the social networks is caused by criticism of modern liberal trends like feminism and veganism, Rogan remains unconvinced. A quote from another of his speeches from 2018: “I was recently threatened with death. I uploaded on Instagram a photo of venison with the caption “This is deer meat that loved to kick children and was about to join ISIS.” I was pleased with this post. But he made a mistake and added the hashtag vegan. Never in my life have I met such a ruthless and vicious crowd of kind and caring people. ”

Comedian and organizer of stand-up evenings, Cyril Seattle, in a conversation with TJ, explained that the peculiarity of stand-up Rogan is a combination of opposites.

Rogan corresponds to the classical ideas of a man. I have heard more than once that the audience, discussing the comedians, mentioned that Rogan can, on occasion and after birth, give. On the other hand, Rogan is also a comedian who speaks in his podcast from the perspective of an interested person. He invites comedians, politicians, scientists, to listen and sometimes give his position. 

Such a success system is in a delicate balance. I’m not sure that Rogan will last long on horseback. In a world where the concepts of what is correct and what is not regularly change, it is increasingly at odds with the current agenda. It’s enough to recall a video cut where pieces from his podcast jokes about Kim Kardashian’s ass were collected . This in the West is called “father’s jokes” – jokes for people of ultra-conservative views.Kirill Seattlecomedian, screenwriter

One of the main US left-wing publications of The Atlantic in a large review of Rogan’s podcast called him the main star of modern American men. The authors explained that the comedian understands the male part of the United States better than many celebrities – and those who want to know the reasons for the victory of Donald Trump should start following his podcast.

Smoke weed podcast

The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is over 10 years old, but its history can be divided into until 2018 and after: in September, the head of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk came to visit the comedian . They spent more than two hours discussing robots, the future of mankind, and the prospects for relocation to Mars. The key moment of the podcast happened when Rogan suggested the Musk drink and smoke marijuana together. The entrepreneur agreed, after which the frame with the way it was pulled by a self-rolling cigarette became big news and the main meme for several weeks. But for Musk this caused problems: at first he was criticized for a “bad example”, after the Tesla shares began to fall, and then his companies had disagreements with the military on some contracts. It all ended when Musk left as head of the Tesla board of directors and paid a fine of $ 20 million.

Joe Rogan Experience podcast frame with Elon Musk

The Musk issue worked like a springboard for Joe Rogan’s popularity. Previously, many knew about the podcast, but still rather fans of his comedic talent or UFC fans, thanks to the informational hype, the show reached a millionth audience. He began to listen to those who are interested in politics, technology fans and ordinary users of YouTube. The podcast takes the first lines in iTunes and, as acknowledged by ordinary listeners, differs from everything that other podcasts and radio hosts do.

Reasons for success and features of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast:

  • The show goes on prohibitively for radio and even podcasts – an hour, two, sometimes three hours – due to which the listener gets a lot of content at once;
  • The show is not overwhelmed with advertising, like many popular American podcasts: it appears in rare episodes and usually does not stand out;
  • The show does not go according to a certain schedule and does not adhere to a single concept. Rogan releases a podcast when he wants, inviting him to the one he wants and who is interesting to him;
  • The show lacks an official or any serious atmosphere. Guests are treated to alcohol, sweets or marijuana, they have a long preliminary conversation with them, and the recording is included during the conversation. In the end, they fall into a pleasant trance and say something provocative, scandalous, or at least interesting;
  • The show does not have clear political or media boundaries. Rogan calls on scientists, politicians, actors, athletes, musicians and puts himself in their place, he is trying to understand why they are doing this and what they live. As a presenter, he does not criticize people for their opinions and does not try to argue: his task is to build a respectful conversation, and not to catch a person with a word;
  • The show was done very high quality. This is one of the few podcasts with video shot on multiple cameras. Rogan has an assistant who, in the course of the conversation, displays the necessary pictures or links to the screen. The comedian himself learned to be an excellent and charming host who is not too noticeable, but also asks the guest only what interests him.

A podcast helps Joe Rogan do what he wants to do, and make good money. After a long television career and several successful stand-ups, he does not need money: according to independent estimates, the comedian has a fortune of $ 25 million. Rogan is also popular and independent enough to do exactly what he wants, without looking back at fans and profits. Slate called in its podcast reviewRogan “Larry King from the intellectual darknet”, bearing in mind that thanks to his sincere interest in finding answers, the comedian created a platform for open discussions on any topic – politics, media, art or drug addiction. Guests come to sell their films, books, lectures or inventions to a large audience, and he, in turn, lures them into a sometimes silly, but almost always friendly conversation about life.

Another notable issue of the podcast is with the participation of writer Chuck Palahniuk, who doesn’t give interviews so often. In a conversation with Joe Rogan, he revealed in detail the sources of his inspiration, described his approach to writing books and told how readers react to his rude and sometimes cruel stories.

At one of the events, I read Guts. A middle-aged woman came up to me: “I really liked this story about how you had rectal prolapse when you masturbated in the pool.” The story is not really about me, but readers have represented me in this terrible situation.

After she shared her story, since I shared mine. When she was seven years old, she went to prepare Girl Scouts. Somehow, her stomach ached and she stayed home, falling asleep on a heating pad, which soothes with vibration. And while she was sleeping, the pillow moved down. She woke up from a wonderful feeling, one that she had never experienced. When friends from the section came to her, they also tried this pillow. They sat on it all evening. It was like “Sex and the City” for seven-year-old girls. She admitted that for the first time in her life she was the most popular girl in the class. This went on until mom caught them with her friends with a heating pad. She drove the girls out, tore the wire from the heating pad from the outlet, and began to beat her with it. She beat and said: “You e ***** th [damn] piece of shit. What kind of whore did I raise? ”
And this woman is now my age. She said she had not experienced an orgasm since she was 7 years old. And she added that since you can tell a story about the pool, I can tell mine.Chuck Palahniukin the podcast Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan’s Place in Russia

” The Academy of Joe Rogan ” – The fan community podcaster in Russia, which translates to the enthusiasm of his videos on the Russian language. Some of the podcasts are gaining impressive views on YouTube: the issue with Elon Musk is almost a million, the passage about the Russian language is more than 600 thousand, and the conversation with Chuck Palahniuk is about 250 thousand.

As the author and voice of the project Andrei Porfiryev said in a conversation with TJ, the reason for the popularity of Joe Rogan in Russia is guests who represent completely different areas of interest: science, cinema, literature or media.

There are frequent guests that long-time listeners and podcast viewers know. There are media personalities – viewers will turn on a podcast to see them, not Joe. There are narrowly targeted guests. There are scientists. Thanks to this diversity, the podcast has a wide audience.

Andrey Porfiriev

author and translator of the Joe Rogan Academy

Porfiryev is also sure that Russians and Americans like Joe Rogan because of their straightforwardness and the lack of prejudice before people of conflicting views. For example, both Democratic politician Bernie Sanders and journalist and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones can come to him at the same time .

Some media outlets ranked Joe Rogan as ultra-right activists, although he has always been a liberal. This is due to the fact that people with the right views come to the podcast and they are given the floor. Another thing is that he really is not afraid of bullying, because he says logical things and can explain his point of view.

Andrey Porfiriev

author and translator of the Joe Rogan Academy

Shot from KuJi Podcast

Another reason for the fame of Joe Rogan in Russia is his long work at the UFC. Timur Karginov, a comedian and host of the KuJi podcast, is sure that many Russian fans first learned about the comedian as a sports commentator in mixed martial arts.

The starting point of his relevance in Russia is that he is a UFC commentator. It seems to me that we like brutal people, and he also communicates with scientists. He is so cool, he is strong, constantly around him fighters, he comments on something. He absolutely gets his brutality into the Russian audience.

Timur Karginov

comedian and podcast presenter KuJi

The KuJi podcast is the closest analogue of the Rogan show in Russia: it is also done by a comedian (in collaboration with journalist Andrei Konyaev), it also has a free conversation format, and guests from completely different areas also come there. From jazzman Kamashi Washington and blogger Wylsacom to science journalist Asi Kazantseva and linguist Maxim Krongrauz .

According to Karginov, Rogan and his podcast were not a guide for him during the launch of KuJi: it coincided that they are both comedians and both are engaged in the same genre.

Joe Rogan is not my guide to the podcast. Suppose I am most impressed with the stories of Marc Meron . He raised the podcast culture and the podcast platform itself. I saw the release of the Howard Stern radio show with George Carlin, which was filmed. And I watched it much earlier than Joe Rogan’s podcast. And he took it as a video podcast, it impressed me. Although this is just a radio show filmed on camera.

But for many, the video podcast is Joe Rogan. For me, no. Again, I do not think that there is anything bad in this. I would not say that I focus specifically on Joe Rogan, but I really like him.

Timur Karginov

comedian and podcast presenter KuJi

In Russia there is another podcast that appeared independently of the Joe Rogan show, but in terms of the variety of guests and the fan base it reminds him very much – “ Disgusting men .” Its authors – Peter Salnikov, Victor Zuev and George Dobrodeev (now the third leading Andrei Zagudaev) – began with a podcast about the game industry “Hell’s Kitchen” back in 2011, that is, long before the genre was widely popular in Russia. Then the list of topics expanded to cinema, music, prominent news, and more, but guys and grown men always remained the audience.

Shot from the disgusting men podcast

According to Salnikov, the principle of demand for “Disgusting Men” is based on three “pillars”: the broad outlook of the presenters, apoliticality and a friendly atmosphere.

We started by discussing games in a very free and unrestrained, but at the same time expert way. In the sense that all the leaders were savvy in the subject and have been working in the industry for a long time. And when we expanded our circle of topics, the community gratefully accepted it. We can tell a lot of interesting things.

Second, we are pretty apolitical traits when it comes to the podcast. They periodically write to us, how is it that you do not pay attention at all to what is happening in your native country, Russia does not interest you at all. It interests us, of course, but our mission is different. We are distracting people, as it were.

At work with your colleagues, you are discussing another fire on the Amazon or some bill. And then you go somewhere, run or ride a bicycle and listen to dudes who cheer you up. You may not agree with them on everything, but that’s just a joke. It seems to me that in this cosiness with your homies the third part lies.

Pyotr Salnikov

creator of the disgusting men podcast

In the episodes of “Disgusting Men,” the presenters are not shy about speaking bluntly and sarcastically joking at almost everything that happens in the world. In the 136th issue – about the need to legalize marijuana in Russia, in the 90th issue – why Lara Croft will never be sexualized in the movie, and in the 47th issue – how to pretend to be gay to get the girl to bed. The guests are also as motley as possible: the director of the film “The Needle”, rapper Legalization and journalist Alexander Plushev.

As Salnikov noted, despite many reputation scandals with media personalities, there are still a lot of things that public people in Russia and in the world have, fortunately, got away with: “You can always say what you got from, I didn’t say that seriously.”

Of course, we have such game that our mother does not cry. And jokes, and theses, and statements. But, as Viktor Zuev says, we are for the hundred flowers to grow.

We are in a state of open mind. If a guest says, let’s say, some outright x **** yo [nonsense] – you understand, here a person is mistaken in facts. If we are talking about points of view on something, then we have the right not to share it, but to accept it. In my opinion, one needs to be less offended and more open to some new alternative views.

Pyotr Salnikov

creator of the disgusting men podcast

For those who are interested in the Rogan podcast and are ready to listen to it in English – this can be done on YouTube (video version) and Apple Podcasts (audio version). The most popular shows in Russia, similar to Rogan’s podcast, are Disgusting Men and KuJi Podcast . Those who are already aware of all these programs, Salnikov and Kargin are recommended to pay attention to the Russian podcasts, which they listen to themselves: “ Lieutenant Kizhe ”, “ Sidown ” and “ ChKG ”.

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