In short, there are no totally senseless protests given who Joe Rogan is. Also known as “the Walter Cronkite of our generation” and the “Larry King of the internet” he was the subject of essays, articles, model for journalists who tried to live a week like him and above all the object of adoration of millions of Americans.
The reason for his fame is a podcast, Joe Rogan Experience, the second most listened in the world on Itunes, in which he makes three interviews a week to the most varied characters in the United States: wrestlers, sportsmen, intellectuals. In his studio in Los Angeles complete with cameras that broadcast on YouTube, Joe Rogan welcomes them, makes them sit comfortably, offers them whiskey aged at least 12 years, lights a cannon of maria and then storms them with questions for over two hours. Streams of consciousness, in the form of question and answer, in which Joe asks the questions we would all ask, deepening what is needed, and avoiding any form of linguistic bureaucracy. An apparently revolutionary format, in the alleged period of low attention, which guaranteed 7.5 million subscribers to its YouTube channel and an average of one million users per episode.
Among the already cult interviews – everyone wants to go, including politicians – to Edward Snowden, Dan Bilzerian, Mike Tyson, Robert Downey jr. and above all that to Elon Musk: when Tesla’s head and irremediable fanatic of productivity showed up in the studio, Rogan poured him a drink and handed him a cannon. The result was that Elon smoked the first joint of his life in live streaming and stayed for hours talking about artificial intelligence, Tesla’s board got very angry and Rogan secured an unprecedented worldwide advertising.
What has become one of the most popular men in the United States today is the son of a New Jersey policeman. “I remember him the raptus of violence in the family,” he said in one of the few times that he touched on the topic. At age 7, when his parents divorced, he went to stay with his mother in San Francisco. He made his first rod at 8 years old, with his stepfather, “a hippie with long hair up to his ass”.
In short, a classic American story. He moved with his mother to the United States, worked by delivering newspapers and then taught martial arts. In 1988 some friends took him on a stage in a club and began a stand-up comedian career in bars in Los Angeles, and then on TV. In 2002 he commented on the UFC matches, the mixed martial arts discipline destined to overcome boxing by popularity in America. Physical struggles and irreverent jokes: paradise for someone like him.
But Joe Rogan has a quality that even his opponents recognize: curiosity. It is a sponge, it continuously seeks stimuli to improve itself. He reads books, looks at tuturials and above all asks questions to those who know more about him. In 2009 he tries to monetize his curiosity and creates the podcast Joe Rogan Experience.
In 10 years he has interviewed everyone – or rather, everyone who cares about him. More than 1400 people. Halfway between Fabio Fazio and Larry King, he involved more or less famous comedians, wrestlers and intellectuals from the web. He squeezed them in search of enlightened theses on artificial intelligence, murderous instincts, freedom of speech, personal growth and everything that could interest the average American man – that is, him. His interview is not an interrogation: it is an experience. Long and thorough.
Because this is his strength, the thing that has allowed him to be the reference point for millions of white, black, Dominican Americans, managers and truck drivers, retirees and university students. Joe Rogan cares about what the average man cares about. Add to it an optimism that is hardly scratched, an attitude for perpetual improvement and an overflowing energy and you will have the idea of the character.
In a nation where one in two people have lost faith in the traditional media, Joe Rogan, with his excesses of populism and qualunquismo, becomes an intellectual reference point for a critical mass of America. “Learn, learn, learn, ladies and gentlemen,” he says to his listeners. Although many end up associating him with a right-wing idea of America, he has always declared himself democratic and anti-Trumpian. Indeed, more precisely a “fucking left wing”, advocate of an income of citizenship and free university for all. And now he has publicly supported Bernie Sanders.