Joe Rogan is probably best known as the host of NBC’s gross-out reality show Fear Factor, during which he guided contestants through various disgusting or terrifying stunts including eating various live bugs or having live snakes or tarantulas dumped on them.
But Rogan is also co-host of The Man Show along with comedian Doug Stanhope, black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and taekwondo champion and stand-up comedian. He also hosts the popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, which made the Top 3 of iTunes’ comedy podcasts in 2012.
Rogan heads for the Fillmore Miami Beach Thursday as part of the South Beach Comedy Festival.
What’s your stand-up show like?
If you’re easily offended, you’ll probably be offended. That’s the best way to start it. It’s just, “Here’s the world through my eyes,” and what I think about everything — life, death, sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, politics, UFOs, Bigfoot.
People who know you from “The Man Show” and “Fear Factor” might be surprised at your interests. What sparked your interest in sensory deprivation, and how has it helped you?
I think the first introduction I had to it was the movie Altered States. It was essentially based on a guy named John Lilly, the man who originally invented the isolation tank, and the movie was about a guy who took this psychedelic brew and turned into a monkey. Pretty interesting stuff. And I just thought the idea of a sensory deprivation tank was pretty fascinating. And so I wound up trying it and got really addicted to it. It’s a really fun, relaxing way to explore your consciousness.
You’re known for enjoying drugs such as marijuana and mushrooms. What’s your position on legalization?
Mushrooms and marijuana and a bunch of the other psychedelic drugs have been used by indigenous people in shamanic cultures for thousands and thousands of years. I think they’ve gotten incredible benefits from it. And we have a pretty hypocritical society and culture if we have drugs that people have benefited from — pharmaceutical drugs that are state-sanctioned and legal — but plant medicine that grows naturally in the ground that people have also benefited from, almost universally tends to be illegal.
What drew you to “Fear Factor”?
Money drew me to “Fear Factor” [laughs]. And that’s it. I mean, it’s the only thing that drew me. … I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed, say, working for the UFC or doing stand-up comedy or doing my podcast.
Of all your roles, what was closest to your true personality?
I haven’t really done that much acting, quite honestly. I mean, I just did News Radio and a couple movies with Kevin James, and a few guest spots here and there. I’m not really a big fan of acting. I’m not a big fan of actors in general. And that’s only in general, because I’ve met some great ones and really cool and interesting and unique people. But I think that the whole process of acting and auditioning and getting to the place where you can get into a show is so difficult, and there’s so much rejection, and it’s so hard on these people that already have these needy personalities to begin with. … And then just getting rejected and rejected and rejected — it turns them into crazy people. And then, one day they finally get a role, and especially if they become a star, they become tyrants.