Joe Rogan is probably best known for making people who are desperate for money eat animal parts and jump off buildings. You may also recognize Rogan from his younger days on NewsRadio or more recent days providing commentary at UFC fights. For his stand-up and podcast, however, he is known for crafting jokes and stories around heady, introspective ideas or philosophies that cover topics such as the perception of reality and atom colliders. It’s a formula he follows through with in his latest stand-up special, Live from the Tabernacle.
Rogan sticks to what works for most of Live from the Tabernacle. He goes into rants about heavy-headed, borderline intellectual topics then follows them up with a little bit of self-deprecation as a way of calling out his own lack of expertise. It is a formula of joke-telling that works, though Rogan does tend to overdo it on the pseudo-philosophy and understate the self-deprecation.
Rogan is well aware of who he is and what kind of celebrity he has generated from things like the UFC and Fear Factor. However, his self-awareness teeters between refreshing and annoying. When he refers to himself as the Fear Factor guy or the guy who made people eat animal penises on TV for a living, there is a great laugh to be had at something about his fame and previous work that would otherwise likely distract the audience from the material at hand anyway. As if he did not address the fact that he is the Fear Factor guy, someone else would.
Along the same line of thought, however, a long bit about the Fleshlight almost feels at times like an extended plug for the product. Though it is a bit with a few good beats — and Rogan’s impression of the sadness that comes with cleaning fake genitalia is funny — ultimately it feels like he is trying to sell you something. With that in mind, it makes me wonder if Rogan mentioning the best-known fake vagina makers sponsoring his podcast reveals integrity by way of a twisted sort of full-disclosure or if he really is just making a sale.
Or maybe I am just trying to justify my recent purchase of the famed adult toy. I did not purchase a Fleshlight after reviewing this set.
Live from the Tabernacle is comedy for a very particular crowd. Rogan has garnered a big following from his podcast and TV appearances. Brimming with masculinity and a feeling that someone is going to end up getting kicked in the face, Rogan’s Live from the Tabernacle definitely targets a Mixed-Martial-Arts-enjoying, illegal-substance-consuming, “The Joe Rogan Experience”-listening group of people. For everyone else, there still are some great bits to be had here, but anyone who is not already a big fan of Rogan’s style might be alienated from the “experience.”
Final Rating: 2 rubber vaginas with UFC stickers plastered on their sides out of however many whatevers you think they should be out of (that’s me interacting with my audience)
Here is a clip from Live from the Tabernacle where Rogan talks about what he means by having a “gay” marriage: