Psychedelic Heroes: Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan (born Joseph James Rogan) is an American podcast host, UFC colour commentator, and stand-up comedian. He is today’s top celebrity advocate for DMT, LSD, and psilocybin. Psychonauts even dub Rogan as the ‘21st Century Timothy Leary

Brief, Violent Flashes

Joe Rogan was born on August 11, 1967 in Newark, New Jersey. Five years later, his parents divorced. He doesn’t recall much of his dad — a former cop who abandoned him when he was seven. As a result, growing up was a road trip. His mother first took him to San Francisco, then to Florida, and finally to Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts, where they took a breath of fresh air. 

“All I remember of my dad are these brief, violent flashes of domestic violence… But I don’t want to complain about my childhood. Nothing bad ever really happened to me… I don’t hate the guy. It was just confusing, you know? He was just a very violent, scary guy. After the split, we moved to San Francisco and that was it. Never heard from him again.” — from a Rolling Stone interview.

Teenage Joe Rogan. (Photo courtesy: Newton High School) 

As a teenager, Rogan took to martial arts, such as karate and taekwondo, partially to avoid getting picked on by bullies in the locker room. At 19, Rogan won the US Taekwondo Open, and was the state champion for 4 consecutive years. He even taught Taekwondo for a while, and dabbled in kickboxing. Sadly, after a string of headaches at age 21, Rogan had to give up his dreams as a fighter… 

Joe Rogan, the kickboxer. (Photo courtesy: Scrap Digest)

“I was terrified of being a loser. Superterrified of being someone who people just go, ‘Oh, look at that fucking loser.’ You know? Always thinking that the other kids were going to turn on me at any moment. I was weird. I just fucking drifted.”

As for college? Rogan found it was not his natural habitat. He did go to the University of Massachusetts Boston, but dropped out early. Turns out, Joe’s future was not set in books… It was in the bright lights of stand-up comedy!

The Art of War (and Comedy)

Before his big break in stand-up, Joe Rogan taught martial arts at Boston University and Revere, MA for a living. (Photo courtesy: Black Belt Mag) 

Contrary to popular belief, Rogan’s true passion lies in kickboxing, not comedy. There was a legit career path as an MMA fighter waiting for him — if not for the chronic migraines. As a way of coping, he cracked jokes for his friends at the gym and Taekwondo school. And what do ya know? Rogan was a HUGE hit. “Those jokes are hilarious! You should do stand-up comedy.” 

Hmm, why not? And so he did. On August 27, 1988, Joe went onstage at Stitches comedy club’s open-mic night — his first stand-up gig ever. It was a laugh riot in Boston. He did odd jobs to support his early stand-up career. Such as teaching martial arts, construction, delivering newspapers, and driving for a private detective with a DUI (on the sly)

Fortune smiled upon him. In 1990, Joe Rogan decided to move to New York City as a full-time comedian. The rest is history, or so they say… 

All the World’s A Stage

Joe Rogan on MTV’s Half-Hour Comedy Hour. (Courtesy: MTV)

New York opened a lot of doors for Joe Rogan. In 1994, after moving to Los Angeles, the City of Dreams, he got his first TV appearance on MTV’s Half-Hour Comedy Hour. Rogan’s set went viral (well, as viral in the 90s as you can be). This led to Fox casting him as Frank Valente in the 9-episode sitcom, Hardball. Rogan also did regular shows at The Comedy Store in Hollywood — all of which were jam-packed. He was movin’ up!

His next big role was electrician “Joe Garrelli” in the NBC sitcom NewsRadio, which ran from 1995 to 1999. Joe Rogan played his real-world self in the show, only “dumbed-down and censored” for audiences. It was also in NewsRadio that Joe met his close friend, co-star Phil Hartman. Phil found Joe to be a good listener, with a rare sort of empathy, so he confided his secret troubles in him.  

Joe Rogan with co-star Phil Hartman in the NBC sitcom NewsRadio. (Photo courtesy: Creative Commons)

Chief among these “secret troubles” was Phil’s wife, former model Brynn Omdahl. She was jealous of her husband’s TV career and was often abusive. Rogan tried to warn his friend to divorce his wife — to no avail. In May of 1988, Phil Hartman was shot dead by his wife. The death of his friend broke Joe deeply. He cancelled his comedy shows, and soon grew tired of the sitcom life, of playing the “same character every week”. The glamour of acting on TV faded quickly. 

“Reality really is a theatre. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s all so nonsensical, ridiculous, and chaotic.”

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble…

Joe Rogan’s broad knowledge of martial arts (and comedic flair) is PERFECT for colour commentary.

Rogan’s stint as an MMA (mixed martial arts) commentator is legendary. He started as a backstage and post-fight interviewer in 1997, and quit after two years due to out-of-pocket travel costs. In 2002, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) president Dana White convinced Rogan to come back. Not with a salary, but with free tickets for him and his friends! 

The “deal” lasted only 15 free matches, though. Rogan got his pay: both in cash, and in the fierce adoration of sports fans all over. Joe Rogan’s colour commentary is beloved for its expertise (as well as its comedic flair). Just ask any hardcore UFC fan! 

The Joe Rogan Experience

During a brief spell as the host for NBC’s Fear Factor, Rogan’s popularity rose in America. As a result, tickets to his comedy shows sold out rapidly. “Joe Rogan” became a household name for edgy, daring stand-up routines. So with the money he earned from six seasons of Fear Factor, Rogan took on two videographers to film his life on tour — later uploaded as the JoeShow web series. 

Logo for Joe Rogan’s podcast reveals an open ‘third eye’: a sign of spiritual awakening. 


With his gift of the gab, it was only a matter of time before Rogan started his own podcast. What began as a casual, silly episode in 2009 (with buddy Brian Redban) morphed into one of the Top 100 podcasts on iTunes. In 2011, The Joe Rogan Experience was licensed to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Rogan’s DMT-powered rants had gone truly international. 

JRE episodes typically host a buffet of expert guests. These include boxing legend Mike Tyson, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, cycling icon Lance Armstrong, and tech magnate Elon Musk, among others. As of 2020, Rogan enjoys a multi-year licensing deal with Spotify, priced at $100 million. This makes The Joe Rogan Experience one of the highest-paid podcasts — ever. 

Birth of a Meme: Joe Rogan with Elon Musk on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. (Courtesy: JRE on YouTube)

One of Rogan’s favorite topics is the link between psychedelic drugs and spirituality. He strongly believes in legalizing natural psychedelics, such as DMT, magic mushrooms, and truffles. Not just for leisure, but also for exploring consciousness… and the inner workings of the soul. 

“I think psilocybin should be looked upon as a nootropic vitamin. 

“There is not a therapy in the fucking world that will get a crazy, sociopathic, egomaniacal person to really look at themselves like a bag of mushrooms will.”

The best Magic Mushrooms are the ones you grow yourself. Amazing deals on GROW KITS… Click the shrooms to learn more!! 

DMT, Shrooms, Sensory Deprivation

A sensory deprivation tank, also known as “float tank” or “isolation tank”. (Photo courtesy: SportTechie)

As one of the most popular “psychedelic heroes” alive, Rogan works hard to spread the gospel of LSD, DMT, and magic mushrooms and truffles. In 2010, he spoke out in the documentary, DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Rogan believes that psychedelic-based treatments should be part of universal healthcare. Especially for those who suffer from mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and the like. 

Have you heard of sensory deprivation tanks? Joe Rogan has one in his basement. A big stainless steel box, entirely soundproof, filled with darkness and a foot of salt water. Just take LSD, DMT, or psilocybin, and enter the tank naked. And as your brain is cut off from all sound, sight, and gravity, a “portal” opens… causing hallucinations and increased creativity. In Rogan’s own words: 

“It can be brutal and unflinching in its portrayal of you and your reality. It can be uncomfortable in the sense that you really can’t run away from any of the things that are subconsciously troubling you. 

“I’ve definitely had some dark moments in there.”

A Billion Roller Coasters, Plus Aliens

Joe Rogan artwork by Ulysses Gonzales.

Despite recent wins for psychedelics in America, there’s a long way to go when it comes to “free experimentation”. Crazy, right? Believe it or not, federal laws are still caught up with the questionable War on Drugs from the 1970s. Rogan thinks it’s a waste of potential knowledge:

“A chemical gateway to another dimension? A portal of souls you can tap into? I don’t see any negatives to it. And it’s so fucked up that we don’t have the freedom to experiment with it legally, because there are lessons to be learned that are just not getting learned.”

These days, Joe Rogan lives happily in Lake Austin, Texas with his wife, Jessica Ditzel, their two daughters, and his step-daughter. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is bigger than ever… and Rogan is still eager to talk about kickboxing, comedy, aliens, and the hidden wonders of psychedelics

“The experience is so overwhelming and so alien. It’s just hard for anyone to describe. You’re just boom! Shot to the middle of everything for 15 minutes. Constantly changing geometric patterns. Jokers with jesters’ hats on, all giving me the finger. I’ve had psychedelic trips where my own sanity was slippery. 

“It’s so titanic that any words I use to describe it are just noise. It’s a f***ing billion roller coasters, plus aliens. It is whatever it is. I don’t know what it is.”

*Check out the latest episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience on Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Podcasts. 😉

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