Joe Rogan launched his career as a TV star on shows like News Radio and Hardball before hosting the game show Fear Factor. But Rogan said recently on his Joe Rogan Experience Spotify podcast that as much as he enjoys watching TV and thinks it’s where the best entertainment is made these days, he doesn’t see himself likely returning to the small screen as a game show host or in any other role. Rogan, who recently moved from California to Austin, Texas, said he likes the freedom of hosting his podcast and working as a commentator for UFC.
Rogan, speaking with filmmaker Tiller Russell, on the March 3, 2021, episode of his podcast, said, “Isn’t it amazing how television used to be the place where people would go when their careers were falling apart and now it’s the best way to tell a story? Whether it’s Netflix or Game of Thrones or The Sopranos, some of the best drama that we’ve ever seen … there’s so many of them, they tell these long stories and you just get completely glued to it. Particularly with Netflix because you binge watch. … They’re so much better than a movie. When you see a movie it’s like you realize you have to smush everything in to two hours or three hours whatever you decide to make it.”
Russell then asked Rogan if he would ever go back to TV. “No, I don’t think so,” Rogan responded. “I like this. I’m busy and I’m happy. I like what I’m doing. I love watching television, but I would never go back to a game show.” Rogan then hesitated and added, “well, never say never. Who knows, one day I might just decide it’s fun. But I don’t think so, I think this is better.”
Russell, who recently wrote and directed the movie Silk Road, about darkweb market creator Ross Ulbricht, is no stranger to Netflix and TV. Russell directed The Seven Five, a documentary about corrupt police officers in New York City, and the documentary mini-series Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer. He is also a producer and writer on the NBC shows Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D..
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Rogan Said He Thinks His Podcast Is ‘More Interesting’
Rogan told Russell, “to me it’s more interesting, because I can kind of choose who I talk to. … I love talking to all kinds of different people. And the beautiful thing about a podcast is there’s no real structure. There’s no rule like ‘you can only talk to these kind of people.’ There’s no rules. Initially if you looked at it on paper it would have never made any sense. You’re going to sometimes be high as f*** talking to comedians, sometimes talk to scientists, sometimes talk to mixed martial arts fighters, sometimes talk to physicists, sometimes talk to doctors and nutritionists. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Russell asked Rogan what led him to creating the podcast he makes. Rogan responded, “The fact there’s no one telling me what to do. It’s just interesting to me. I have a lot of interests, I have varied interests. If I had three different lives to live simultaneously I could fill them up easily. There are so many things I’d love to do that I just don’t have the time to do. So for me, to talk to all sorts of different people from different walk of lives and different specialities and different disciplines they’re involved in, I’m just a student of humans. I love the way people think and what they do and why they do it and what was going on while they were involved in something. To me that’s ultimately incredibly fascinating.”
Russell told Rogan that what he thinks has made the podcast work is that he “didn’t change. It’s still freeform and it’s rambling and it’s wherever you want to follow it that’s where it goes. And I think people are hungry for that.” Rogan added, “I think people like legitimate genuine conversations, where you know that someone doesn’t have an agenda, they’re not pretending to be someone they’re not. Real curiosity is very contagious. Real enthusiasm is also very contagious. And that’s what I base what I do on. My real enthusiasm and real curiosity.”
In comparing the Joe Rogan Experience to his work on movies like Silk Road and documentaries like The Seven Five, Russell said, “People are fascinating. And if you will sit down and sort of pay attention to them and ask them, ‘hey man, what makes you tick? Why did you do this?’ … Me making a documentary, it’s more polished, and more produced and whatever, but at the end of the day it’s that fundamental thing of ‘hey, who’s sitting across from me and what makes them tick?'”
Rogan Says ‘I Don’t Think Too Much About Why This Thing Works, I’d Probably F*** It Up’
Rogan said he doesn’t spend much time reflecting on what makes his show successful, telling Russell, “I don’t think too much about why this thing works, because I’d probably f*** it up. I’d probably start leaning toward that direction or something. But I think it’s probably changed, too, over time.”
Rogan also said what has worked for him is producing a lot of content. “I grind,” Rogan said. “I do a lot of them.” He said he’s asked why he does so many podcasts, and Rogan said he responds, “First of all because there are a lot of cool people to talk to. And second of all that’s how you get people addicted. You don’t get people addicted with one a month. You drop four a week. And they’re like, ‘four a week? f*** that, that’s like a job.’ And I’m like, ‘yeah it’s a job, you’ve got to work.’ I like working.”
Rogan said, “one thing about this podcast that’s been insanely rewarding for me is that I can talk to so many people. Like how many times do you actually get to talk to interesting people for hours at a time without being interrupted? It doesn’t happen. So for me it’s been this radical education. Sometimes it’s not educational at all, it’s just fun. So it’s been feeding my brain all this information.”
Russell added, “And the weird thing is, you’re also providing this record of humanity. You’re having this parade of people come through here and everybody’s giving you, ‘hey man, this is what I’ve got, this what I’ve learned, this is what I think is funny’ or whatever it is. And your work has been this document of what people have to give.”
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