I, like millions of other people around the world, am a big fan of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Now edging ever closer to its 700th episode the podcast is one of the examples of the medium that has brought podcasting into the wider public consciousness through its popularity.
Its ability to go from absurd, boyish humour to sly philosophising on criminal justice and metaphysics makes it an ever-engaging listen. The sheer variety of guests on the podcasts, ranging from UFC fighters to astrophysicists to ex-felons to Lance Armstrong, ensures that it caters for a wide variety of different interests. Although I’ve stopped listening to each new episode with a slavish devotion, it certainly has been a strange journey from my thoughts at the beginning: “Wait, the guy from ‘Fear Factor’ did a podcast with Neil deGrasse Tyson?”
Naturally being the fan that I am, I occasionally drop by the JRE subreddit to get a sense of what’s going on with the community. It’s been a good resource, helping me to pick and choose new episodes based on my interests as well as making me aware of other podcasts I might enjoy based on certain guests.
But the other day, my hand slipped on my keyboard and all of a sudden I was transported into the strange, bizarre community that exists alongside the fan community of one of the world’s most popular podcasts. It’s simply entitled “JoeRogan2” and it seems like some parallel universe configured out of a collective hatred for a semi-famous stand-up comedian and podcast host. Where the ordinary Joe Rogan subreddit posts links to the latest episodes and discusses work by the guests who frequent the show, JoeRogan2 has a very different set of interests. Top links include:
“The moment a PhD scientist realizes Joe Rogan is a talking ape with a high-school diploma.”
“Joe Rogan Contradicts Himself Mindlessly, Obliviously, Hilariously.”
“Unlike his uncaring and enabling fans, /r/joerogan2 and Rogan Watch 2 are actively treating Joe Rogan’s disorders with ever-increasing dosages of reality”.
The subreddit records close to 3,000 subscribers and sees a regular stream of posts each day decrying Joe Rogan, his podcast and his associates. While many of the subreddit’s criticisms relate to the validity of Rogan’s barstool philosophising about subjects from quantum mechanics to evolutionary psychology (criticism which certainly have a degree of validity) it has also has its two bizarre obsessions: Joe Rogan’s height and his (apparently) latent homosexuality.
“5’9″ barefoot Conor McGregor towers over 5’8″ Joe Rogan who is wearing shoes”
“Redban claims to be 5’8″. Rich Vos is 5’7″. How tall is Rogan?”
Yeah it doesn’t get much more schoolboy than that. The site was once accompanied by a youtube channel, entitled ‘RoganWatch’, which posted excerpts from the Rogan podcast where the comedian supposedly revealed his miniscule stature or his homoerotic desires. The community in the comment section appear to see themselves as some brave critics of a towering media figure, and see the Rogan fans in the primary podcast subreddit as being some army of mindless drones, relentlessly and slavishly obsessed with Joe Rogan to the point of delusion and fanaticism. The interesting thing about this bizarre hate community is that it occasionally levels valid criticism against Rogan.
Greatest post fight line ever “I’m not surprised motherfuckers”
It questions the authenticity of claims that Alpha Brain, an intellect-enhancing nootropic promoted by Rogan-backed company Onnit, really works anywhere near as well as suspect studies seem to claim. It also lashes out against the quality of Joe Rogan’s discourse, such as the interview with renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, where Rogan spent much of a valuable interview spouting conspiracy theories about the moon landing. But although the community’s inherent rage occasionally hits the mark, its level of delusion and obsession with a minor celebrity makes it truly one of the strangest places on the internet.
For their part those in the primary Joe Rogan subject deride the place, claiming it to be the work of a disgruntled former Rogan fan that goes under the name “Steal__from_asprey_” and supposedly uses multiple different aliases to maintain the forum of hatred. The origin stories proffered for this figure are numerous, with many saying he was an uber-fan that got to meet Rogan and his hero cracked a few light-hearted jokes at the young man’s expense, transfiguring him into the engine of hatred he is today.
Regardless of whatever the truth is, ‘JoeRogan2’ offers an unusual window into our modern age of fandom and subcultures, and the ways in which a fanatical love of pop-culture figures can rapidly change into something utterly inexplicable and bizarre.