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Joe Rogan & Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Joe Rogan is a jack-of-all-entertainers. Among his diehard fans – and unconverted skeptics – there aren’t many guys who would give up a chance to hang out in Rogan’s man cave for a few hours. And millions do throughout the week when they listen to The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE), one of the most successful podcasts in the world.

Stand-up comedian, martial arts practitioner, actor, podcast host, and above all, inquisitive listener, Joe Rogan reminds us all of a good buddy, and the relaxed manner in which he interviews his guests has made The Joe Rogan Experience immensely popular and immensely lucrative. JRE averages over 11 million listeners per episode, while Rogan’s contract with Spotify is worth over $200 million.

And, Rogan frequently smokes cigars and sips whiskey with his guests. A driving force behind the show’s popularity is Rogan’s palpable lack of pretension. It’s easy for listeners to relate and imagine they’re part of the conversation. Let’s look closer at a guy who is arguably the most famous cigar smoker in the world right now.

From Rags to Rogan

Joe Rogan was born on August 11, 1967, in Newark, New Jersey. Rogan doesn’t whine about his past but points out rough early patches at the hands of an abusive father whom his mother left when Rogan was around four or five. After the split, his mother remarried, and the family moved across the country to California, Florida, and Massachusetts, where Rogan would graduate from high school outside of Boston in 1985.

Moving around and often being the new kid in school led to instances of Rogan getting bullied, due in part to his small stature, which fueled a fixation with martial arts in his early teens. He immersed himself in karate, kickboxing, and tae kwon do, becoming a state champion. He is also skilled in Brazilian jiujitsu and Muay Thai. Before intense matches, Rogan often put his martial arts pals at ease by cracking jokes, and they encouraged him to pursue comedy.

At 21, Rogan began doing stand-up in the late ‘80s while holding down a variety of odd jobs. As a young fan of Richard Pryor’s film Live on the Sunset Strip, Rogan never saw himself as a comedian, but performing had a profound impact and comedy stood out as a career he could not only tolerate but love. Following a breakout appearance on MTV’s 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour in 1994, Rogan secured acting gigs on sitcoms, including a starring role in NBC’s NewsRadio. Although acting wasn’t his forte, it paid the bills and increased his exposure. His television presence led to work as a color commentator for the emerging Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2002.

Concurrently, Rogan was hired to host the reality show, Fear Factor, on NBC, which he did from 2001 to 2006. Though Rogan tired of the show, its shocking antics drew a sizable audience for a time, and he became a household name.

When Rogan launched his podcast in December of 2009, the broadcasts were free. He officially named it The Joe Rogan Experience in 2010 as it gained popularity on iTunes. SiriusXM picked up the show in 2011. Listenership exploded. In 2020, Rogan signed a multiyear deal with Spotify worth hundreds of millions – on par with the kind of dough fellow A-lister and competitor Howard Stern earns.

Superstar Conversations

What began as informal, back-and-forth banter over the microphone with UFC fighters and close friends, JRE has grown into a household phenomenon. Rogan bucks the trends of formulaic talk shows and late-night television by getting more intimate with his guests over the course of hours in a less-structured setting, where drinking and smoking are within immediate reach. 

Rogan’s mind-blowing roster of celebrity guests includes world leaders, intellectuals, musicians, authors, artists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, scientists, activists, and comedians. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Oliver Stone, Mike Tyson, Bernie Sanders, Dave Chapelle, Edward Snowden, Miley Cyrus, Anthony Bourdain, James Hetfield, Kanye West, and Quentin Tarantino make up a tiny fraction of over 2,000 JRE episodes.   

A Warrior for Truth

Rogan espouses views that are at times considered controversial because he is unafraid to question establishment consensus. Placating mainstream opinion is not on his agenda, and nothing is off the table or too fringe for Rogan to discuss, provided he’s got a captivating guest he can bounce questions off. Gun control, health, cancel culture, racism, world history, fixing homelessness, Big Pharma, and Covid-19 protocols are found in the mix with bigfoot, weed, alien abductions, and conspiracy theories. Rogan strives to provide balance in his broadcast by asking straightforward questions on his listeners’ minds.  

Joe Rogan & Cigars

During one of his recurring “sober Octobers,” the month when Rogan dispenses with alcohol, he picked up premium cigars, and they’ve become a fixture on his podcast. He’s smoked with Bill Burr, Aaron Rodgers, Phil Demers, Rob Lowe, and Ron White. The show’s casual atmosphere naturally encourages cigar smoking.

A wide variety of cigars are smoked, too. Rogan has called out Foundation Cigars on numerous occasions to thank the brand for making a special blend, called the JRE (Joe Rogan Experience) CT Broadleaf, with his face on the cigar bands and boxes. In an era where smoking in public has become taboo, especially for famous folks whose every move is scrutinized, it’s refreshing to watch Joe Rogan sharing cigars with his friends over a long and sometimes meandering conversation – the way it was meant to be.

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