When the World is Upside Down, Watch the Fools
"It's entirely possible..."
The comedy special, Talking Monkeys in Space, changed my life.
But, that is a topic for another post.
Joe Rogan is an interesting figure in the modern fabric of society. In his own words:
Stand up comic/mixed martial arts fanatic/psychedelic adventurer
Host of the Joe Rogan Experience #FreakParty
In the final weeks before the election, he has brought on a series of guests that are all controversial in some way or another.
JRE #1554 Kanye West
JRE #1555 Alex Jones & Tim Dillon
JRE #1556 Glenn Greenwald
JRE #1557 Gad Saad
JRE #1558 Tristan Harris
In total, this is approximately fifteen and a half hours of long-form podcast format conversation. Who has the time?
We collectively have the time to spend hours studying statistics for fantasy sports, watching The Bachelor(ette), keeping up with the Kardasians, binging Netflix, playing video games, and endlessly scrolling through social media feeds. Who doesn’t have the time?
This episode of the 90s TV Show, News Radio, is a spooky premonition of Joe’s ability as a podcast host. The Joe Rogan Experience is a cultural phenomenon. It was started in December 2009 as an experiment where he began recording himself on the couch being a manchild with his friends. It was juvenile, crass, raw, and real. Politically incorrect. Foolish.
In the post-truth world, Joe Rogan is now one of the most powerful media brands in the world. At time of publishing this blog post, he has 10 million subscribers on YouTube with over 2.77 billion views, 6.9 million Twitter followers, 11.4 million Instagram followers, and is regularly one of the most popular podcasts on Apple iTunes.
In May 2020, Rogan signed a multi-year licensing deal with Spotify for The Joe Rogan Experience reported to be over $100 million. The podcast launched with video on Spotify on September 1st, and will be exclusive around the “end of the year.” Rogan has publicly revealed that he gets over 200 million podcast downloads per month, over 100 million views on YouTube per month, and that his listenership has grown on all channels after the Spotify deal was announced.
He built a talent stack that utilizes his observational ability to imagine that it’s entirely possible that the nature of reality is far more complex, nuanced, and mysterious than we know. Rogan and his video producer, young Jamie Vernon, produce content at a prolific pace, bringing other comedians, scientists, mixed martial arts fighters, visionaries, and conspiracy theorists onto the show, several times a week.
It’s entirely possible that Rogan is the most influential journalist… well, ever.
How is it that a standup comedian, recording long form dialogue, oftentimes with other comedians, has more audience reach than all of the cable news shows in America?
When the world is upside down, Watch the Fools.
“What happens when the system is upside down?
What does the clown do when the whole world is a carnival?
How do you make someone laugh when the whole world is a joke?
That is the world we are living in.” -Jonathan Pageau
Psychology, philosophy and religion use archetypes and to understand society, culture, the human condition, and civilization. Archetypes are an essential tool to understand reality, because the human brain operates through stories and symbols.
We have an upside down world. Donald Trump is the biggest media star in history, who is at the same time loved by millions of Americans and reviled by other millions of Americans. Watching politics feels like watching a reality TV show of people LARPing a caricature of an epic battle between two factions for the fate of America.
As Joe Rogan’s platform grows, so does the media and liberal backlash. Rogan says offensive things… he’s a comedian. That’s what comedians do. They tell jokes. The best comedians observe the world and reveals uncomfortable insights through humor. Rogan is willing and able to explore subjects and speak with guests that are untouchable by the mainstream media.
His content is an important long-form signal in a noisy world of 140/280 characters, out of context sound bytes, conspiracy theories, and disinformation. We get to earnestly get a glimpse of who people are, and learn, with a beginner’s mind what value they have to share.
“If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the Universe.” -Joe Rogan
Maybe Rogan isn’t your flavor of Fool. Ultimately, we don’t need to love or hate Fools.
But, we definitely need to watch them.