If you’ve been an MMA fan for the past decade, then there’s a good chance you know who Joe Rogan is. Even if you’re not, there’s still a good chance that you know who Joe Rogan is. The controversial 55-year-old podcaster has recently been a hot news topic with his recent Covid diagnosis and questionable perspectives on the pandemic. You may also remember him as the scruffy host from NBC’s hit show Fear Factor back in the early 2000s. If we’re being honest, the man is easily one of the most famous commentators and hosts of all time, but just in case you don’t know who is Rogan is, we’ll go through a quick rundown of his life and his infamous legacy in entertainment.
Born on August 11, 1967, Joe Rogan became interested in martial arts as an early teen and took up karate at 14. Realizing he had potential, Rogan later pursued his studies in Tae Kwon Do at 15. After four years of study, he was good enough to compete as a lightweight in the U.S. Open Championship Tae Kwon Do tournament. Not only was he good enough to compete with some of the best in the world, but he actually managed to win. The victory inspired Rogan to pursue a brief amateur kickboxing career before retiring at age 21 due to frequent headaches. After his brief stint, he became a Tae Kwon Do instructor for three years until he decided to find his calling in New York at age 24.
Before he retired from competing in the martial arts world, Rogan stumbled upon another talent he never knew he had: the ability to make people laugh. After many of his friends at the gym and the Tae Kwon Do school raved about his jokes and stand-up impressions, Rogan started doing stand-up comedy around local clubs until he found a manager who convinced him that there were other options available to him. After moving to New York to do stand-up in the city, Rogan gained enough traction to move to Los Angeles and take his career to the next level.
In 1994, Rogan managed to book his first national television spot on the MTV comedy show Half-Hour Comedy Hour and turned heads with his performance. Several television networks approached him, and soon after he booked his first major acting role in the Fox sitcom Hardball as the young and egocentric Frank Valente, a star player on a professional baseball team. The show only lasted for nine episodes, but Rogan’s performance was good enough to nab him another network role a year later as electrician and handyman Joe Garelli on the hit NBC sitcom News Radio.
During his time on the show, which ran from 1995 to 1999, Rogan continued to do stand-up on the side. His acting work, comedy performances, and love for contact sports soon drew the attention of the then-budding MMA organization the Ultimate Fighting Championship League⏤also known as the UFC⏤where Rogan began working as a backstage and post-fight interviewer.
It was around this time that things started to pick up even more for Rogan. Around 2001, NBC offered him the chance to host the hit stunt/dare game show Fear Factor, where Rogan soon gained national notoriety for putting the show’s contestants through the most graphic and repulsive dares on television. The series ran from 2001 to 2006 before returning for its final season in 2011.
Rogan didn’t stop there. In 2002, he finally became a full-time color commentator in the UFC and increased his exposure to a wider audience. His expert knowledge and background in mixed martial arts soon made him a popular face among fans of the sport. Coupled with his consistent presence as the host of Fear Factor, Rogan quickly cemented himself as a media personality.
Aside from the now-concluded Fear Factor and his current position as a UFC commentator, Rogan managed to land a major character role in the 2011 movie Zookeeper. He’s also authored four books and has been successfully running his free podcast The Joe Rogan Experience on YouTube with fellow comedian and friend Brian Redband since 2009.
In 2020, Rogan signed a multi-year licensing deal with Spotify to stream The Joe Rogan Experience exclusively. According to Dexerto, the popular and often controversial podcast has remained the top show on the music streaming platform every month and has brought Spotify 3 million new listeners since its debut last year.
Rogan’s many income streams have made him some major dough. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he is currently reported to have a net worth of $100 million. Considering the man has been consistently working for over 20 years and has found a way to expand his brand even at 55, it’s not all that surprising. It just goes to show what hard work will get you if you’re patient enough.