With an estimated net worth of $25 million, Joe Rogan, a well-known American standup comedian, hosts and produces one of the most popular podcasts in the world. In 2009, Rogan, along with another comedian by the name of Brian Redban, launched a weekly online current events talk show called The Joe Rogan Experience. The show has since evolved into an almost daily show with distribution on iTunes and Youtube. It reportedly receives more than 300 million downloads and streams each month. The list of influential guests who have made appearances on the show over the years include retired professional boxer Mike Tyson, controversial conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, the bestselling author of “The 4-Hour Work Week” Tim Ferris, and Tesla founder Elon Musk.
Rogan was well-known before he started his online podcast. He had been a highly sought-after standup comedian and also had successful roles in a number of television programmes, including NBC’s stunt show Fear Factor. Here is an overview of how Joe Rogan built his career and became such a wealthy media personality
Born August 1967, one could say that Rogan did not have the best of childhoods. During his early years he grew up in Newark, New Jersey and was raised in a household with an aggressive father who was a police officer. The violence between his mother and father had gotten to such a bad point that his parents decided to divorce when Rogan was just 5 years old. At 7 years, he and his mother moved across the country to San Francisco to restart their lives. He has not had any communication with his father since the move. In an October 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Rogan noted, “All I remember of my dad are these brief, violent flashes of domestic violence.” (See also, Kylie Jenner Net Worth – Life as the World’s Youngest Billionaire.)
As a child, Rogan often found himself alone, playing by himself. Although he says that he had a good relationship with his mother and stepfather when growing up, he has commented that they were hardly around because of their busy work schedules. In one of his episodes, Rogan noted that the absence of people in his life, “…made [him] realize that you can’t count on people.” He said that his childhood gave rise to him developing trust issues and having a desire to become someone that others can count on.
During his childhood, he struggled with being bullied so he became very interested in practicing various martial arts, including karate and taekwondo. Rogan was so good at martial arts that he had won numerous tournaments. He enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Boston but eventually dropped out before graduation due to lack of interest. (For related reading see, How Aaron Levie Turned Box from a College Product into a Billion Dollar Business.)
Rogan’s interest in comedy actually came from his time in martial arts. In one of his shows, he once explained that he and his friends often found traveling and waiting backstage at fighting tournaments to be extremely nerve wracking. In an effort to lighten up the mood with his friends, he would make jokes. “They thought I was very good and encouraged me to do stand-up comedy,” recalls Joe.
In an interview from the year 2000, Rogan candidly shared, “I really never had any ambitions to be a standup comic. I was talked into it by guys that I used to work out with. I was always cracking them up in the locker room doing impressions of our friends, or talking about a girl I was dating that was a huge feminist. (She’s actually in my act now.) And my buddy Ed was always telling me to do standup. I really never thought people would think that I was funny, I thought (my friends) thought I was funny because I was their friend, but other people would just think I was an asshole. I was at least partly right. That’s actually one of the keys to my act, my act is so completely and totally uncensored that the only way I could really pull it off is if I treat the audience like they’re my best friends and I talk to them completely honestly.”
His first performance was at an open mic session. He continued to perform at similar events and with the passage of time grew a reputation as a funny entertainer. His crude jokes also helped him to get booked for bachelorette parties. During this time, Rogan took on a number of different jobs to pay the bills. These included teaching martial arts at Boston University, running a newspaper delivery route and even putting in hours as a construction worker.
In 1990, Rogan became a full-time comedian and managed to make an appearance on national television in 1994 on MTV’s Half-Hour Comedy Hour. Rogan began to get acting gigs soon after and worked as a post-fight interviewer for Ultimate Fighting Championship shows. From 2001 to 2006 and then again between 2011 and 2012, Rogan hosted seven seasons on the popular dare show Fear Factor on NBC. During the first six seasons, the show averaged 11.5 million viewers.
Although he pursued television roles, comedy has always been his passion. He explained that, from a financial standpoint, acting was more lucrative than his comedy gigs. “Acting is just a part time job for me that allows me to buy expensive shit. If I could make the same amount of money doing [stand-up] it would be no contest. The problem is that if you do make that kind of money doing standup, it’s not in clubs, it’s in big auditoriums and large venues, and I really think something is lost when you do [stand-up] for a big crowd. It’s sort of that diffusion-of-responsibility thing where the audience isn’t totally connected to the show. It’s no longer intimate, it’s a “show” and you’re not really “one” with the crowd for the most part.” (You might also enjoy reading, How Much Money Do Youtubers Make, Actually?)
As previously mentioned, Rogan is the host of his own podcast. Today, The Joe Rogan Experience serves as his primary source of income. Although it is hard to find concrete information on Rogan’s earnings from the show, some estimate that he earns approximately $100,000 for every episode of the podcast.
In 2010, Aubrey Marcus had reached out to Rogan about the possibility of developing a supplements brand. The two men previously had a working relationship when Aubrey was working for his stepfather’s male sex toy company, Fleshlight, when it had just started. (See also, How to Grow Your Business and Yourself With Aubrey Marcus.)
Aubrey described their first encounter, “We set up a podcast advertising deal with him when I went out to lunch. What was supposed to be a 30-minute meeting turned into a four-hour discussion on super volcanoes, psychedelics, and all the mutual interests we share.” The first meeting went so well that Fleshlight actually became the first paid sponsor of Rogan’s podcast.
When Aubrey approached Rogan in 2010 to discuss his interest in entering the competitive supplements industry, Rogan suggested to him that he create a cognitive enhancer brand. Aubrey agreed and shortly after the two men partnered to launch Onnit. Rogan was able to use his large audience to promote the company and its range of products. Since its founding, the company has grown to do more than $28 million in gross annual sales.