Joe Rogan is weirdly popular, and I choose the word “weirdly” as we cannot pinpoint one particular talent that makes him this gigantic star today. We can count podcasting as this one thing, but it’s more accurate to look at the variety of stuff he does, interests he has, and the way he runs the Joe Rogan Experience show.
So how did this happen? How can one guy (accompanied by only a few people behind the curtains) in 12 years go from the “podcast about nothing” in 2009 to hundreds of millions of monthly downloads and a lucrative deal with Spotify in 2021?
Since I heard/watched the better half of his 1600+ episodes, I will try to create a concise and on-point list of the main reasons the entire world talks about Joe. This may be the most helpful for the people that heard about him but didn’t listen too much and struggle to figure out the answer to the same question.
So here it goes.
Fear Factor, UFC, and stand-up comedy foundations
From NBC’s sitcom NewsRadio and Fear Factor which he hosted for five years, to a long-lasting UFC commentating gig (1997-) and decades of stand-up comedy – Joe was around! Many of his fans came along with him, and like the universe itself, his popularity was not only expanding – but speeding up as well.
Right time, right place, right crew
With an amazing variety of interests and the most colorful group of friends one can imagine, the only thing missing was a medium that is as free and uncut as him. This is where podcasting came along – a “radio show killer”. His fan base hopped along, and what was originally imagined as a place for “shooting the sh*t” exploded in such a manner that left him surprised as well.
Hard work and adaptation
One one of the most obvious things about Joe is his drive, work ethic, and obsession when it comes to subjects he is really interested in. He had this when he became taekwondo champion in his late teens, he is the same with stand-up comedy and UFC (mixed martial arts), and nothing is different in the gym or on the mat (jiu-jitsu).
He spends hours and hours working on his bow-hunting aim and posture, as hunting is one of his hobbies.
Regarding the adaptation, one giant thing to admire about Rogan is his humble attitude regarding the things he knows he doesn’t know. He pointed out on numerous occasions that nothing he does is ever good enough for him, and this is how he excelled in everything – even in podcasting and the way he talks and listens (which is equally important, and hard to perfect).
Honesty, integrity, and an open mind
Joe is still Joe, and many people appreciate this the most. He still has impressive intellectual conversations with historians, astrophysicists, and all other sorts of geniuses, as well as memorable and fun episodes fueled by alcohol and weed. JRE remained a gift box that we are frequently opening with excitement, not knowing what we are about to receive.
To this day, he is staying true to himself, he seems to care deeply for people, for his friends and family, he doesn’t hide he is an emotional guy, and he is not afraid of exposing his own faults.
To his listeners’ relief, not even a multi-million exclusive deal with Spotify changed the way he runs his show.
Joe Rogan is a hard worker and nothing he earned came easy. If somebody thinks differently, luckily, they are free to break through with a podcast of their own, and they can show their talent in leading a conversation and keeping the 2-3 hour show consistently interesting.
Just like a true pro, Joe takes notes and reads books, and prepares properly for subjects he is not an expert in. His sense of humor only adds to the experience for the listeners, and the variety of subjects is also there, as well as the volume of the episodes.
This is a true podcast buffet where everybody’s taste can be satisfied.
Politicians, hottest faces in Hollywood, conspiracy theorists, scientists… from Kanye West, Alex Jones, Edward Snowden, Bernie Sanders, Mike Tyson and Bob Lazar, to Kevin Hart, Lance Armstrong, Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Elon Musk. You name it, they were probably there.
He is not religious but, as he states, he “does not not believe”, therefore he is open-minded. He wants Aliens and Bigfoot to be real, but he is also aware that “people can be full of sh*t”, so he is ready to listen but he is also realistic and cares about the facts and evidence. To make a picture even more complete, he is one of the biggest advocates for cannabis and a proponent for (and an example of) an overall healthy lifestyle.
This is why Joe Rogan is a gift to humanity.
Main image credit: BBC
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