A Conversation with Joe Rogan – The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast (Part 2)

Check out The Jordan B. Peterson Episode Page & Show Notes

Check out the Podcast Notes for Part I

Key Takeaways

  • A great mindset to have:
    • “I want to talk to all kinds of different people. Even if I don’t agree with them, I want to find out why they think the way they think.”
  • A common theme in Joe’s life:
    • Do something for fun, get good at the craft, and then make a living from it
  • Joe took his obsession and passion for martial arts and put it all into comedy
    • Joe would sometimes drive an hour to a comedy club just to do 5 minutes of stand-up
    • “I knew from martial arts that if I worked really hard at something I could get good at it”
  • If you love something and are truly good enough, there’s a way to make a living doing it

Intro

  • Joe Rogan (@joerogan) is a stand-up comedian, mixed martial arts (MMA) color commentator, and host of The Joe Rogan Experience (check out the Podcast Notes)

MMA

  • Joe describes himself as someone with ADD who couldn’t wait to get out of school
    • However, he did excel at the few things he was interested in
  • Around 14-years old, Joe became obsessed with mixed martial arts (MMA) once he came to realize he was quite good at it – how did he discover the sport?
    • Joe actually stumbled into a martial arts gym by accident one day and was amazed by the incredible force a person could administer when kicking a heavy bag
      • “Completely by luck, I wandered into one of the best schools in the world for Taekwondo”
    • Joe went back to the gym the next day and kept coming back nearly every day after (give or take a few days off due to injuries) until he was 22-years-old
      • He was given keys to the gym and spent hours on hours training (Joe actually ended up teaching classes at the gym since he couldn’t afford to pay the membership)
        • By teaching others, Joe was able to truly master the skill of martial arts
  • Joe had his black belt by 17 and won the Massachusetts state championship when he was 18 (he won it the following 4 years as well)
  • Since Joe was always focused on training, he mostly avoided partying and alcohol because he didn’t want to lose his competitive edge
  • MMA Tips:
    • If you master one martial art and then become a jack of all trades, you will have a huge advantage over your opponents – this will allow you to bring the fight into your realm of expertise and dominate the competition
    • Become a specialist, then understand the other fighting styles so you can at least avoid entering the opponent’s domain of expertise

Moving on From MMA To Comedy

  • Joe started to get worried about getting brain damage from MMA as he aged into his high teens
    • As he became more aware of the negative health consequences of fighting, Joe started to lost his hunger for the sport
    • At one tournament, Joe recalls kicking a guy in the head causing him to go unconscious for 30 minutes, sending him to the hospital
      • This made Joe realize how easy it was to get brain damage from the sport (and the other guy was a black belt, so it wasn’t like he wasn’t highly skilled)
  • At tournaments and training sessions, Joe was always cracking jokes to loosen up the tension and nervousness before a fight
    • A friend of Joe’s suggested he try stand-up comedy and convinced him to go to an open mic night
      • “One of the things you realize when going to an open mic night is that most open mic comedians are so terrible that it encourages you to at least try it out”
      • To add – “I knew from martial arts that if I worked really hard at something I could get good at it”

Joe’s Comedy Career

  • At open mic nights, people usually get 5 minutes to share their act which is judged by a professional comedian
  • Joe loves the art form of comedy both as a consumer and creator of it
  • Back in the day, comedians weren’t very supportive of each other because there were fewer venues and the internet didn’t exist
    • Today though, there are many more channels for comedians to reach an audience, lessening the role of competition
  • Joe took his obsession and passion for martial arts and put it all into comedy
    • He would sometimes drive an hour to a comedy club just to do 5 minutes of stand-up
    • It took a TON of work and time to become good at comedy (Joe used to bomb all the time)
  • One of the best ways to develop your comedy skills is to have good social interactions
    • If you’re an aspiring comedian, try to put yourself in lots of different social situations so you can gather material for jokes
  • Stand-up was way harder for Joe than MMA
    • It took him about 3 years to get confident on stage and even then he could still bomb on any given night
      • It wasn’t until Joe was 26-years old that he was able to start paying his bills through comedy gigs

Joe’s TV Career

  • When Joe was in his late 20s, he did a comedy show for MTV that went well, allowing him to receive several offers to act in a few television shows
    • Joe moved to California from Boston and was briefly featured on a sitcom show before it got canceled
  • At the time, Joe says he he actually hated the acting industry because it was “full of weird and fake people”
    • “Everything was fake and everybody knew it was fake but they all accepted it… it was very, very strange”
  • Joe was drawn to hosting Fear Factor because it didn’t have actors and it allowed him to coach people/get them fired up to do something scary
    • He hosted Fear Factor for 6 years and made a good living doing it, but didn’t really see the show as as his true passion
      • Eventually, Joe moved on from Fear Factor and went back into stand-up comedy
  • Joe later got back into the TV business when he started to do commentary for the UFC in exchange for free tickets for him and his friends

Podcasting Career

  • Joe started podcasting back in 2009 just for fun
    • It took YEARS before it was profitable
      • This is a common theme in Joe’s life – do something for fun, get good at the craft, and then make a living from it
  • Originally, Joe used the podcast as an excuse to to talk with/interview comedians, but he soon expanded his guest list to include people from all different backgrounds
  • A great mindset to have:
    • “I want to talk to all kinds of different people. Even if I don’t agree with them, I want to find out why they think the way they think.”

Additional Notes

  • If gender is a social construct, what are hormones needed for?
  • Joe worked several jobs as a young adult:
    • He taught MMA, delivered newspapers, worked as a private investigator’s assistant, and worked construction
  • What allows Joe to become obsessed with certain activities?
    • He had a rough childhood so whenever he found something that gave him joy, he tended to concentrate heavily on that one thing
      • “I was a psychopath, I mean I was 100% committed to doing nothing but that” – Joe on his passion for martial arts
  • In his MMA days, Joe was so dialed in on the craft that he didn’t have time for dating
    • To have a successful relationship, you have to make that person a priority (Joe made fighting his priority)
    • But this one time….
      • Back in high school, Joe went to his MMA gym with a girl he was dating because he needed to get a workout in. While they were there, she wanted to have sex, but Joe told her no because he respected the gym too much (keep in mind Joe was 17/18 at the time and was “super horny,” but thought of his gym as a sacred church).
  • Joe isn’t interested in sad movies – he likes success and seeing people triumph
  • Jordan is launching a new Patreon-like service called ThinkSpot –  the platform is an intellectual playground for censorship-free discourse
    • It will allow people to post videos, podcasts, and other forms of content and discuss them in an intelligent manner
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