Recall for a moment the TV series Fear Factor — the show in which dumb, twangy-accented Americans did ridiculous things for moderate amounts of cash.
In one infamous episode, the contestants were challenged to drink donkey semen – a big jug of it. It was coined the ‘Donkey Juice’ challenge, and it was the reason the show got cancelled — which is unfortunate because it sure was fun watching idiots do stupid shit for money.
In a great stand-up bit, Joe Rogan, the smiling, screaming host of the show, spoke about the absurdity of his job: “I can’t even believe it’s a real show… four years later I’m standing next to a girl with a mouth full of animal dicks yelling, you can do it, you hang in there, relax, breathe, concentrate… and she’s taking my advice!”
Now Rogan sits atop the American podcast world. The transition from a reality TV show host dabbling in donkey dicks and jugs of semen to one of America’s most popular podcasters, and easily the most well-known Ultimate Fighting Championship commentator ever, was fuelled by a fear of sucking.
“I was terrified of being a loser,” he told Rolling Stone in a 2015 interview. “Super-terrified of being someone who people just go, ‘Oh, look at that fucking loser.’ You know?”
After a bullying incident in school that ended with Rogan in a headlock, he vowed to never let someone physically get the better of him again and took up martial arts — karate, taekwondo, kickboxing and eventually Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in which he holds
a black belt.
In 2002 Rogan became a colour commentator for the UFC. “He’s educated more people in mixed martial arts than anybody ever,” says UFC president Dana White. “He’s the best fight announcer who has ever called a fight in the history of fighting.”
Two years later, he launched The Joe Rogan Experience. Within nine months it had made its way onto the iTunes Top 100 podcasts list and was voted Best Comedy Podcast by iTunes users in 2012. His unique blend of stoner philosophy, fondness for marijuana and a strict, no-bullshit attitude has earned him a special place on the internet and in people’s hearts.
And it’s still working. The Joe Rogan Experience has achieved more than 313 million lifetime views and has attracted more than 1.3 million subscribers. According to Socialblade.com, a YouTube statistic tracker, Rogan currently nets up to US$114,500 per month and up to US$1.4 million a year from his podcasts alone.
Guests include conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones, stargazer Neil deGrasse Tyson, former CIA operatives, Tommy Chong, former porn stars, MMA personalities, comics, actors, influencers, army vets and all-around inspiring people, making it one of the most diverse podcasts out there. If there were an agenda, it would be to inspire you to get off your arse, hit the gym, open your mind, get outside of your comfort zone and not be a loser.