This is the question I’ve been asking myself. We can describe Rogan as a gritty, controversial personality who is known for his perspectives on culture and long interviews that go into depths we haven’t known before. But what is his experiential platform really about?
For me, the short answer to the question of what the The Joe Rogan Experience is, is free speech and individual empowerment. He’s nothing if not authentic. Rogan gained fame as a comedian and actor on the sitcom NewsRadio (1995-1999) and UFC Commentator long before the Covid Pandemic but the media’s clamp-down on free-speech and other freedoms Americans hold dear even prior to that and especially during Donald Trump’s Presidency became rocket fuel for Rogan’s brand.
What follows is a thumbnail on what I think makes JRE tick. And yes I’m a little nervous about drilling down to what makes Joe Rogan https://www.joerogan.com Joe Rogan. But getting to the heart of how an intellectual property works (or doesn’t) is one of the things I do well.
So first let’s look at a few facts. Rogan began his career as a stand-up comedian in 1988 in and around Boston. He began martial arts training at age 13 and now has a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, a form of self-defense that teaches how to survive a fight. And of course, Rogan is also now a rockstar podcaster with a style that’s uniquely his own.
Rogan kicked off his online show on Christmas Eve, 2009 from a home studio in Los Angeles. He interviewed personalities of all stripes. The more fringe and controversial the better. Rogan is truly a study in counter-programming.
His style is hip, informed and irreverent. He wears a t-shirt, sports heavily tatted arms and peppers his banter with expletives the media giants forbid. And Rogan talks openly about using pot, Auyuasca and other mind altering substances like DMT. He hunts and eats meat and encourages a spontaneous back-and-forth with his guests that can, at times, get personal. Rogan talks almost as much as his interviewees.
Joe stays sharp by continuing his stand-up comedy, gleaning fresh insights from his live audiences. The podcast is literally housed in a small, intimate setting with a couple of microphones, headsets and what appears to be a single camera set-up. They record live, without edits and fact-check on the fly. The audience is invited to sit in on deep conversations most of us only wish we were having ourselves.
When censorship, mandated masking and other Draconian measures were imposed on California residents in 2020, Rogan and his wife moved to Austin and migrated the show to Spotify, where content creators enjoy more control over their work. Maybe that wasn’t the main impetus for the move but that’s how it appears.
There were reports that Rogan was slated to open a venue at One World Theatre with partner Adam Egret (a veteran of The Comedy Store) in West Austin in 2021 but that deal fell through. The hundred acre property and 300 seat Tuscan style theatre was instead purchased by billionaire real estate tycoon, Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller-Williams Realty.
In fact, according to numerous news sources, Joe Rogan purchased the nearly 100 year-old Ritz Theatre at 320 E. Sixth Street in Austin as the home of his new comedy club, Comedy Mothership. A February 22, 2022 article in The Austonian states that Rogan will restore the historic building, which last served as home to Austin’s own Alamo Drafthouse. So far no news on when the Mothership will open.
I can’t help speculating on how Rogan’s love for mixed martial arts (MMA) impacts his approach to interviewing. He’s a fighter and he goes at his subject matter with an intensity that’s unmatched. Rogan’s interviews typically last 3 hours or more. This isn’t fare for the average social media gadfly, flitting about online looking for the next hit of dopamine or random controversy to latch onto. He’s already a multimillionaire and continues to expand his reach and is on track with his own media empire. I can’t wait to see what he does with the Comedy Mothership.
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