Dynamic is an adjective that means: characterized by constant change, activity, or progress. When I think of a dynamic human, especially in the direct social circles I log my frequent flier miles in, one man comes to mind immediately. That man is Joe Rogan.
The UFC commentator extraordinaire is a ball of kinetic energy, constantly in motion, gathering more energy, always moving forward. At 46, Rogan has a life resume that is to be envied. He is the veteran voice of the octagon, an actor, the host of his own wildly successful, top rated podcast, the host of his own popular TV show, one of the top comedians on the stand-up circuit, a black belt in BJJ under Eddie Bravo as well as another under Jean Jacques Machado, and is the owner of one of the busiest, most active forums on the internet. The list of accolades is much longer than this, but I might not have enough monitor ink to type them all out, so I'll just leave it at the ones listed.
Rogan has been with the UFC for 16 years and has seen MMA as a whole go from it's dark ages to it's current mainstream boom. He's seen the UFC go through two major television deals, buy and absorb nearly all of it's competition, and most recently, the introduction of a women's division into the organization. To put it bluntly, he's been around for nearly every ground breaking, game changing occurrence the UFC, and the sport as a whole, has gone through.
In mixed martial arts, something that Joe is admittedly passionate about, he will more than likely go down in the history books as the Harry Caray or Pat Summerall of the sport. He brushes off the comparisons rather modestly, stating that he doesn't look at or think about things like that. The way he sees it, there is a fine line that must be walked, between keeping the hardcore fans happy and keeping the new, casual fans interested and educated. He goes on to say,
If I oversimplify my commentary for the new fans, then the older, hardcore fans take exception to that. A lot of thought goes into my commentary, because it's such a fine line between the two groups.
I'm going to go on record and say that Joe is doing a fantastic job. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this sentiment. I feel that a great portion of my MMA education came from his commentary, and his enthusiasm was one of the things that hooked me in to being a rabid fan of the sport. I have had the good fortune to get to know Joe over the last several years, and have become friends with him. As a result, once a year, he graciously gives me a couple hours of his time for an interview.
This year marks the 6th anniversary of my annual Joe Rogan interview. Every year, I say, 'This one is the best one yet', and I firmly believe that ... until I get the next interview. That has not changed. I can unequivocally say that this year is the best one yet, and undoubtedly is. So, without further ado, I present to you the first of three segments of my 2013 Joe Rogan exclusive feature.
Steph: Joe, tell me a little bit about the show, how much creative control you have and the platform. Tell me all about it.
Joe: I have some creative control, but not all of it. They want it to be as much in my words as possible. There are a lot of problems with doing a television show. One of the things is you have to edit a lot of stuff to get down to 44 minutes, so sometimes it's difficult when dealing with complex subjects to get everything out there, and figure out what to leave in and what to take out. How much humor should be in it? How much of it should just be information? It gets tricky in that regard.
Overall, Syfy has done amazing. They're great. They want to do a show that's, you know, indicative of the way I think, so they've given me a lot of freedom.
Steph: It's wildly successful right now. Your numbers are fantastic; you're putting Bellator out of business here.
Joe: I really don't think that's me doing that [laughs]. I think for whatever reason, Bellator hasn't caught on. I watch it. I watch it every week. I have it DVR'd in my house. I watch it in my gym on a regular basis. I think they put on really good fights.
The whole ‘us versus them' thing is really weird as well. I've had Jimmy Smith on my podcast before, and I think he's great. I think he's a great guy and he's a great commentator too. I'm a fan of a lot of Bellator fighters too. I think Pat Curran is awesome, I'm a big fan of Ben Askren as well; people might call that guy boring, but I don't think he's boring. I'm fascinated by how easily he ragdolls guys. I think it's interesting and I would love to see him fight top level competition in the UFC, but while he's fighting guys in Bellator and just rag dolling them and tossing them around, I'm absolutely fascinated by it.
There are a lot of good fighters in Bellator that I enjoy watching. I don't think that I'm putting them out of business. I think they just, for whatever reason... I'm not a media analyst, so I couldn't really point at exactly what went wrong, but it's just not catching on.
Steph: The last time I spoke to you, you were re-doing Fear Factor. Joe Rogan Questions Everything seems to be a much better vehicle for you than Fear Factor was, would you agree?
Joe: Yeah. Fear Factor was a good vehicle for my bank account [laughs]. That's really why I did it in the first place. Doing it again was probably a mistake, but luckily it didn't last. This show is a lot more fun, the subject matter is a lot more interesting to me. There are some really controversial subjects as well. There have been a lot of people mad at me about chemtrails. It's kind of hilarious [laughs]. The different subjects that stir people's belief systems up have been quite fascinating.
Steph: What is the one subject you get the most requests to cover?
Joe: One of the ones people seem to be most excited about is trans-humanism. There are a bunch of different scientists working on extending life, and they're working on it in a couple of ways. In one form, we move into an era where we can figure out how to fix everything that's wrong with the human body. They figure out how to cure cancer, how to stop ageing, how to regenerate tissue and how to regrow organs. Basically how to fix everything anytime something goes wrong, so essentially as long as there isn't some sort of catastrophe or what have you, we can live for thousands and thousands of years.
That's not science fiction, that's inside the realms of possibility as far as what science believes will be possible in the next few decades. They've actually put a date on it. They think the date is 2045. Now, I'm very skeptical of these dates, because no one has ever got a date right, ever. Whether it's Y2K, or the end of the Mayan calendar or whatever. You name it. If they say apocalypse is going to happen on Tuesday? It never happens. No one ever gets it right, so I'm very skeptical of the date and the idea of putting dates on things.
They actually had a conference in New York called the global future 2045 conference. It was put on by this guy, Dmitry Isktov, who is a Russian billionaire who is fascinated by the subject, so he bankrolled this huge conference in New York City. I went down there with my friends, Duncan Trussel and Ari Shaffir, and we interviewed a bunch of these super smart scientist dudes. It was really, really fascinating stuff.
Steph: What are your thoughts on commercial space travel? If your show footed the bill for it, would you try that, or do you think it's too unsafe or anything like that?
Joe: I don't think it's too unsafe right now. The guys that are thinking about doing it, Richard Branson I believe is one of them, and I know some other entrepreneurs and billionaire cats are looking at it, and I don't think they would have it commercially available until they've got it sort of locked down. I don't think it's going to be that much dangerous than the Concorde flight, or maybe even helicopter flight, which is kind of sketchy.
From what I've heard from people who have done it, people who have been in space say that it's a life changing experience. They say that there's something that happens to you when you see the earth from above. When you're off the earth, looking down on it that just completely changes the way you look at things.
That would be pretty fascinating to experience. I would definitely like to see that if it was safe, you know? That would be the big thing, whether or not it would be safe, but if it was? Could there be anything more mind blowing than seeing the earth from above? That would be really trippy. It's trippy just looking at the stars at night when you're somewhere with a really good view, so something like that would be even more mind blowing.
One of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life was going to the Keck observatory in Hawaii. You actually drive up the side of this mountain, through the clouds. As we were going up I was like, ‘Oh this sucks, it's so cloudy, we're never going to see anything.' Then you keep driving, and eventually you penetrate the clouds and it is mind blowing. You get a view of the sky and the heavens that actually makes you upset, because you don't see it every day.
The reason we don't see it every day is because of light pollution. Our cities and our cars, our houses and our streets all give out light that stops us from seeing the light from the stars, but one good look at them really puts the whole thing in perspective. It really changed the way I looked at life, just that one experience.
Steph: Have they approached you to renew for another season yet?
Joe: No, I think we're going to have to see. Honestly? Completely Honestly? I don't even know how long we can do this show, for a bunch of reasons. One, I don't know how much time I'm going to be able to devote to this. I don't know how I can do it. Between doing the UFC, doing my podcast, doing stand-up comedy and then this, and also having a life... It's very hard. It's very hard to find the time. This was sort of a mad dash, too. We just brought the show to Syfy a few months ago, and it was pretty much right away they said, ‘yeah, let's do it.'
We were pitching the show, and we didn't really have a timeline as far as when we wanted to do it, or when it would start production, it was just sort of an idea that I had. I had an idea, and just thought it would be interesting to approach a lot of these subjects from an open minded perspective. Instead of trying to debunk them or approach them from a point of view where I think everything is BS, or from a point of where I believe everything. I decided, let me just see what they can show me. I'll completely open my mind, show me what you've got, and Syfy jumped on it immediately. They didn't even do a pilot, they just said we'll take it. We'll do six episodes. We started filming it within about two months.
I don't know how much longer we're going to do it, quite honestly. I don't know how many more questions I can ask, too. After you get past a certain amount of subjects, then what are you going to do? Go into the JFK assassination? Go into 9/11? That's not the kind of show I wanted to do. Even the chemtrails and HAARP thing? All those conspiracy theorists is exactly what I wanted to avoid. All these whacko dudes calling me a government agent, and that's what's been going on. All these cuckoo heads that think I've been paid off by the government to discredit chemtrails. It's been quite fascinating.
Steph: You're a disinfo agent, we all know this.
Joe: [Laughs] Yeah, all that cage fighting commentator, comedian stuff is really just a ruse to get out my disinformation about chemtrails. People don't want to accept that their ideas are not good. People don't want to accept that there are scientific explanations for things that they have been espousing for a long time.
This chemtrail idea is a really weird one, because people look up in the sky and they see these clouds that are coming out of the back of jets, and their automatic thought is, ‘ok, they're spraying something out of these jets.' Once you start saying that, and you've been saying it for a while, it's really hard to take those words back. It's really hard to step back and go, ‘Ok, I might have been wrong. Okay, I am wrong. Okay, there is proof that I'm wrong.' That's really what's going on with the whole chemtrail thing.
The idea behind the show was, we were just going to look at what it is these people believe in, and why they believe in it, but along the way we got real scientific explanations for why those clouds exist. There are conditions that happen, NASA actually has a website you can go to and see when these conditions are going to take place, and it depends entirely on the weather. It depends entirely on how much condensation is in the atmosphere. Sometimes there is nothing, so a jet passes through and there's no effect. Other times, under the right atmospheric conditions, the jet engine itself actually creates clouds.
The jet engine goes through the atmosphere, and it changes the temperature of the atmosphere around it with the engines, and actually adds moisture to the atmosphere because of the burning of the jet fuel. It literally creates a cloud. It doesn't mean people are spraying things on you. That's the idea that people have in their heads when they see these artificial clouds, that they are government planes spraying things on you. When they see these criss-cross patterns that turn into cloud cover they go, ‘oh this is geo-engineering.' No. It's actually flight patterns. It's just normal flight patterns. They go, ‘But I've seen planes turn around.' Well, planes have to do that sometimes. It's called holding patterns. Sometimes air traffic controllers have to hold flights because they can't have everybody land all at once.
There are a lot of simple explanations for a lot of these things, but when trying to explain this on the show, it's kind of difficult to explain everything completely scientifically, because people would get really bored, and you only have 44 minutes. That 44 minutes gets chopped up into these small chunks when you have to break for commercials. It's not as easy as everyone thinks it is to get that kind of information and distribute it in an entertaining way. The other problem is that people don't want to hear the truth. They don't want to hear it. They have this idea in their head and they're kind of stuck on it.
I should point out too, when it comes to the chemtrail thing, what I'm saying is not that there's no geo-engineering. It's not that the government has not sprayed things out of airplanes before, because the most certainly have. In fact, there was a recent story, I forget where it took place, but it was in the United States, where in the 1950's, the government was spraying radioactive particles out of planes to measure their effects. There have been really evil things that people in power have done, because they could. There's no denying that, and I'm not trying to deny any of that. What I'm trying to do is separate fact from fiction, just as simply and clearly as possible.
One of those separations is this idea that people are spraying things out of jets. They may very well be. There may very well be some geo-engineering going on, but that's not what you're seeing when you look up at the sky and see these clouds formed out the back of jets. In fact, if they were spraying things like aluminium and barium, which is what the claim is, what scientists with no dog in the game say is if you were spraying aluminium out of an airplane, it wouldn't hang like a cloud. It wouldn't be the same color, it wouldn't linger in the sky like a cloud. It would look more like smoke writing; it would last a little while then dissipate quickly. That's not what you see when you see contrails.
The United States Army wrote a paper about contrails in the 1940's. They were trying to figure out what was going on, and whether or not it was dangerous when planes would leave these clouds in the air. Back then they called them persistent condensation trails. People went into great detail about the various lengths of time that these things stay in the air, and whether or not they would be dangerous. This isn't something that's a new phenomenon like people seem to think it is.
Steph: Well, you know, it's much easier for people to think these aluminium particles are radioactive and making people grow tails and stuff. That's better than your explanation, obviously.
Joe: Well, it's more fun. It's way more fun to think the government is spraying things. The government is filled with a bunch of evil fucks. There's no doubt about it. So, it's fun. It's fun to point at these evil fucks and think they probably did that.
Steph: If you get out to Scotland, I'd like to know about the Loch Ness monster.
Joe: [Laughs] I would like to know about the Loch Ness monster too. I think it's most likely BS, but it's interesting. One of the reasons I think it's BS is the best footage they ever got turned out to be a hoax, the best photograph they ever got also turned out to be a hoax.
Steph: Will there be an episode on Area-51?
Joe: I don't know. Not this season, but we did go to Bigelow Ranch, which is this place owned by a guy named Robert Bigelow, who is some super billionaire investor character who is fascinated by UFOs. The government actually uses him now to research UFOs. Now that they don't have project blue book anymore, whenever there are legitimate sightings or things to be investigated, they go to this guy.
We couldn't find anything. We actually went to Bigelow Ranch to try to find UFOs. It's very difficult to try to conjure up a UFO. It doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means when you're looking for evidence of flying saucers or aliens, good luck... Good luck in finding it.
Part 2 of this awesome interview will be up tomorrow, so make sure you look for it.
You can follow Joe via his Twitter account, @JoeRogan