An illustration of Joe Rogan
Michelle Rohn

Why Is Joe Rogan So Popular?

He understands men in America better than most people do. The rest of the country should start paying attention.

Every morning of my Joe Rogan experience began the same way Joe Rogan begins his: with the mushroom coffee.

It’s a pour-and-stir powder made from lion’s mane and chaga—“two rock-star mushrooms,” according to Joe—and it’s made by a company called Four Sigmatic, a regular advertiser on Joe Rogan’s wildly popular podcast. As a coffee lover, the mere existence of mushroom coffee offends me. (“I’ll have your most delicious thing, made from your least delicious things, please,” a friend said, scornfully.) But it tastes fine, and even better after another cup of actual coffee.

Next, I took several vitamin supplements from a company called Onnit, whose core philosophy is “total human optimization” and whose website sells all kinds of wicked-cool fitness gear—a Darth Vader kettlebell ($199.95); a 50-foot roll of two-and-a-half-inch-thick battle rope ($249.95); a 25-pound quad mace ($147.95), which according to one fitness-equipment site is a weapon dating back to 11th-century Persia. I stuck to the health products, though, because you know how it goes—you buy one quad mace and soon your apartment is filled with them. I stirred a packet of Onnit Gut Health powder into my mushroom coffee, then downed an enormous pair of Alpha Brain pills, filled with nootropics to help with “memory and focus.”

For my breakfast on the go, I would eat an Onnit Oatmega brownie crisp protein bar, “crisp” being less a description and more a warning. After that, I brushed my teeth with the only toothpaste Joe Rogan will let near his teeth, Onnit’s MCT Oil toothpaste, which is made of “bentonite clay and a touch of theobromine.” It promises “a completely new approach to oral care,” which I can confirm. It tastes like wet sand and looks like loose stool, and it’s hard to think of anything worse you might deliberately put in your mouth at 7 a.m.

Then I would go to the gym and crush it for about 18 to 20 minutes. Joe Rogan used to be a tae kwon do state champion. He enjoys grilling elk that he shot with a bow, and he works out with the maniacal zeal you’d expect from someone who has favorite mushrooms. Aside from weed, which he very much enjoys and whose legalization he supports, and whiskey, which he enjoys maybe even more, and that awful brown toothpaste, Joe Rogan’s body is a temple.

Few men in America are as popular among American men as Joe Rogan. It’s a massive group congregating in plain sight, and it’s made up of people you know from high school, guys who work three cubicles down, who are still paying off student loans, who forward jealous-girlfriend memes, who spot you at the gym. Single guys. Married guys. White guys, black guys, Dominican guys. Two South Asian friends of mine swear by him. My college roommate. My little brother. Normal guys. American guys.

[ Read: It’s Foreign Policy That Distinguishes Bernie This Time ]

The Joe Rogan Experience has been the No. 2 most-downloaded podcast on iTunes for two years running. Rogan’s second Netflix comedy special, Strange Times, dropped last year. His interview last fall with Elon Musk has been viewed more than 24 million times on YouTube, and his YouTube channel, PowerfulJRE, has 6 million subscribers. An indifferently received episode will tend to get somewhere around 1 million views. So many people in the content business right now are trying, and failing, to get the attention of these men, and yet somehow Joe Rogan has managed to recruit a following the size of Florida.

Rogan’s podcast gushes like a mighty river of content—approximately three episodes a week, usually more than two hours per episode, consisting of one marathon conversation with a subject of his choosing. Over the course of about 1,400 episodes and counting, his roster of guests can be divided roughly three ways: (1) comedians, (2) fighters, and (3) “thinkers,” which requires air quotes because it encompasses everyone from Oxford scholars and MIT bioengineers to culture drivers such as the marketing entrepreneur Hotep Jesus and the rapper turned radio co-host Charlamagne tha God all the way across the known intellectual galaxy to conspiracy theorists like Rogan’s longtime buddy and Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones. Also Dr. Phil. And David Lee Roth. And B-Real from Cypress Hill.

It’s impossible to be a Joe Rogan completist, so most of his fans pick a few tributaries. The rest may as well not exist. Who can keep track? Rogan is a key figure in the rise of MMA—Dana White once called him “the best fight announcer who has ever called a fight in the history of fighting”—but I don’t care about fighting, so I didn’t listen to any of Joe’s podcasts with fighters. I also didn’t listen to Dr. Phil, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who skipped it, which is just another way of saying there’s no real way to describe “Joe Rogan fans.” They’re not aligned around any narrow set of curiosities or politics. They’re aligned around Joe.

The podcast is where Joe Rogan graduates from the guy you think you know (Fear Factor, UFC, comedy clubs) to someone who makes you think, “Wait—Joe Rogan?” Yes, Joe Rogan. The guy you forgot was on NewsRadio 20 years ago—he played a conspiracy theorist!—has somehow become a generational voice for men, and I couldn’t fathom why, and that bothered me. Why is he connecting so deeply with so many men, for such long stretches of time, at a moment when no one else can seem to hold anyone’s attention for more than two minutes?

As popular as he seems to be with quote-unquote regular guys, that’s how unpopular Joe Rogan is with the quote-unquote prestige wing of popular culture—Emmy voters, HBO subscribers, comedy nerds. Thought leaders. Thought followers. There are plenty of Joe Rogan fans among them, too, but they tend not to bring it up. In this corner of the cultural discourse, Joe is seen as a pop intellectual with some fringe-y views and a platform big enough to spread them. There is valid evidence to support this belief, in particular Joe’s habit of granting an audience to cruel opportunists like Jones, who’s been on the show twice, most recently a much-hyped “return” to the podcast in February after the two had fallen out over Jones’s Sandy Hook lies—the ones that prompted some of his listeners to harass the parents of murdered first graders, according to some of these parents.

The bedrock issue, though, is Rogan’s courting of a middle-bro audience that the cultural elite hold in particular contempt—guys who get barbed-wire tattoos and fill their fridge with Monster energy drinks and preordered their tickets to see Hobbs & Shaw. Joe loves these guys, and his affection has none of the condescension and ironic distance many people fall back on in order to get comfortable with them. He shares their passions and enthusiasms at a moment when the public dialogue has branded them childish or problematic or a slippery slope to Trumpism. Like many of these men, Joe grumbles a lot about “political correctness.” He knows that he is privileged by virtue of his gender and his skin color, but in his heart he is sick of being reminded about it. Like lots of other white men in America, he is grappling with a growing sense that the term white man has become an epithet. And like lots of other men in America, not just the white ones, he’s reckoning out loud with a fear that the word masculinity has become, by definition, toxic.

[ Read: Why Bernie Sanders is no Jeremy Corbyn ]

Most of Rogan’s critics don’t really grasp the breadth and depth of the community he has built, and they act as though trying is pointless. If they decide they want to write off his podcast as a parade of alt-right idiots and incels (as opposed to a handful of cretins out of about 1,400 guests) they will turn up sufficient evidence. And his podcast is a parade of men. So many men. Talking so (so, so, so) much about the things men talk about in 2019 when they think no one’s listening.

Rogan declined my multiple interview requests—he does not lack for places to speak unfiltered—so instead I attempted to live like him, trying on parts of his life, the ones that seem to engage and motivate his core listeners. It seemed like the next best way to get into the head of a type of man who is very different from me, but whose concept of masculinity is far more prevailing than mine. The podcast was my gateway drug. It’s how I learned about the mushroom coffee, and the memory pills, and the toothpaste, and also the Onnit Academy in Austin, Texas, an actual school where men put their entire lives on hold in order to focus on fitness and being more productive, and an online “master class” platform called Skillshare, where I used my Rogan-supplied discount code to get two months of unlimited free classes on stuff like improving my workflow, my social-media branding, and my ink drawing.

I experienced Joe Rogan, in some form or fashion, every day for six weeks. Let’s call it six weeks. I did it for as long as I could.

If you’ve only listened to one episode of The Joe Rogan Experience—if you’ve only heard about one episode—it’s probably his interview in September with Elon Musk, during which the Tesla baron graciously accepted Rogan’s offer to join him in smoking a spliff. Pandemonium ensued. Even though this is all perfectly legal and borderline encouraged in California, it was seen as further evidence that Musk had gone wobbly. He’d already been musing on Twitter about taking Tesla private at $420 (heh) per share, and now he was getting high on camera with Joe Rogan and musing about what happens when AI takes over. Nevermind that Musk was careful to note, post-spliff, that marijuana is lousy for productivity, and that nothing, nothing, nothing matters more to Elon Musk than productivity. You could feel corporate America freaking out.

It was awesome.

The Musk interview was the first stop on my Joe Rogan experience, and I was so riveted that I listened to it once and then watched parts of it again on YouTube. By any standard it was a revelatory interview—the longest, most guilelessly human glimpse we might ever get of a visionary inventor in full awkward flower. Instead, many journalists and pundits pounced on the episode, accusing Musk of being an icy weirdo and shredding Rogan for declining to confront Musk about his reckless behavior.

“Rather than use the nearly three-hour interview to challenge Musk on anything of substance, Rogan let him use the podcast to burnish the myth of his own implacable brilliance,” one journalist wrote. “If traditional media were pissed about anything relevant to the Musk-Rogan interview, it was the extent to which Rogan got played.”

Played! Imagine writing that about one of the most discussed and downloaded podcasts of 2018. Rogan, the one who handed Elon Musk a spliff, on camera, and got him to smoke it, thus earning national headlines for himself and millions of listens for his advertisers, got played. In order to reach such a conclusion, you have to begin with the presumption that interviews must always be a form of combat, with winners and losers. There was also much sneering at the episode’s faux intellectualism—the way Rogan and Musk often sounded like a couple of freshmen ripping bong hits in a college dorm room at 2 a.m. Which would be a fair analogy, if the other person in the dorm room was Elon Musk, and after everyone passed out he went to the engineering lab and built a rocket.

The hard truth for some of Rogan’s critics in the media is that he is much better at captivating audiences than most of us, because he has the patience and the generosity to let his interviews be an experience rather than an inquisition. And, go figure, his approach has the virtue of putting his subjects at ease and letting the conversation go to poignant places, like the moment when Musk reflected on what it was like to be Elon Musk as a child—his brain a set of bagpipes that blared all day and all night. He assumed he would wind up in a mental institution. “It may sound great if it’s turned on,” he said in his blunt mechanical way, “but what if it doesn’t turn off?”

Rogan’s podcast with Kevin Hart began with a riveting seminar on the one subject I’d actually like to hear about from Kevin Hart: how on Earth he seems to get even more done than Joe Rogan. I didn’t laugh much, but I took a lot of notes. The two did discuss the awkward subject of Hart stepping down from his Oscar-hosting gig over his past homophobic comments, and it would’ve been nice if Rogan had challenged his pal about the incident, instead of helping Hart defend himself. But it is not unreasonable for Rogan to consider that line of questioning someone else’s job.

By the time I got around to Joe’s podcast with the Harvard Medical School professor David Sinclair, an expert on the biology of aging and emerging research on treating it like a disease, I started to feel foolish. In part because I’d never heard of nootropics, or Sinclair, or the idea of treating aging like a disease, but mostly because I never would’ve if it hadn’t been for Joe Rogan. After all, how many mainstream entertainers routinely expose their audiences to Harvard biologists? Or climate-change experts? (The Uninhabitable Earth author David Wallace-Wells, episode No. 1259.) Or biosocial scientists? (The Yale professor Nicholas Christakis, episode No. 1274.) Or ethical-leadership lecturers? (The NYU Stern business-school professor Jonathan Haidt, episode No. 1221.)

“Learn, learn, learn, ladies and gentlemen,” Joe said at the start of one podcast episode this winter, wrapping up an ad read for the online education platform Skillshare. “That’s what I’m getting out of this. I think it’s very important to continue to challenge your mind.”

He’s right! It is! And don’t we want men thirsting for knowledge? Don’t we want them striving, setting goals, learning, learning, learning? Don’t we want more Joes?

Before you answer, consider the alternatives.

This moment in American history is not rich with role models for men. Plenty of the role models that men choose for themselves draw eye rolls from everyone else, or dire warnings, or #cancel tweets. Men have spent centuries earning this degree of suspicion, but if we’re all going to make it through this era alive, men do need alternatives to look up to. So many of the skills and professions from which men have derived self-worth for centuries, and still do, are going obsolete in a hurry. Even Toy Story 4 is about an aging white man struggling to find purpose in a world that seems to have no use for him.

[ Read: Bernie Sanders Is the Democratic Front-Runner ]

In the more progressive corners of culture, it’s become a familiar rallying cry to wonder out loud, “What are men even for now?” That’s an excellent question, but you can maybe understand why it rings a bit more ambivalently in the ears of men trying to find their footing in this new world. A brighter and more virtuous future? Wonderful! If you need anything from us, we’ll just be over here peering into the void. Meanwhile, the irony is that so many of the men who demonstrate a level of intelligence and empathy worth aspiring to—they’ve pretty much all been on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

There’s a tendency right now to make every single thing about Donald Trump, but if you don’t see the dotted line connecting the president to a wave of men who feel thwarted and besieged and sentenced to an endless apology tour, then you’re not paying attention. Lots of these panicked men, as it happens, despise Trump every bit as much as they love Joe Rogan. But that’s just a healthier response to the same core stimulus: a plunging sense of self-worth caused by a rapidly changing society. In 2019, men feeling thwarted and besieged is a bipartisan experience. This is the era of the Angry White Man, and it’s not just the MAGA army. It’s a description that also matches your garden-variety “Bernie bro,” the Biden guy who just wants to change the subject, and that walking man bun who charged the stage at a Kamala Harris campaign event and showed his “profound respect” for all the women present—for a conversation about equal pay—by grabbing the microphone to lecture her about animal rights. All kinds of men out there are pissed off and looking for someone to blame.

If all you know about Joe Rogan is his Wikipedia entry—Fear Factor, UFC, stand-up, podcasts with Elon Musk and Alex Jones—and if you make no effort to learn more, he might seem like this gang’s pied piper. And he does give them a platform with a massive audience, which is not just a programming choice but a moral one. So you can see why some might view Joe Rogan as Tyler Durden from Fight Club, a movie you just know Joe Rogan loves, based on a novel by a writer you just know Joe Rogan has had on his podcast (Chuck Palahniuk, episode No. 1158).

But that’s not why people are obsessed with him. In reality, it’s because Joe Rogan is a tireless optimist, a grab-life-by-the-throat-and-bite-out-its-esophagus kind of guy, and many, many men respond to that. I respond to that. The competitive energy, the drive to succeed, the search for purpose, for self-respect. Get better every day. Master your domain. Total human optimization. A goal so hazy and unreachable that you never stop trying, until you realize with a kind of enviable Zen clarity that the trying is the whole point. If the world isn’t giving you much in the way of positive feedback, create your own. It’s a tough message for a very rich guy like Joe Rogan to sell, but he pulls it off because he has never stopped coming across as stubbornly normal. He’s from a middle-class Boston suburb, he’s bald, and for God’s sake, his name is Joe.

Rogan’s father was a cop in Newark, New Jersey, and Joe was born on August 11, 1967, less than a month after the city burned for five days of riots that killed 26 people, including one police officer, and injured more than 700. “All I remember of my dad,” Joe told Rolling Stone in 2015, “are these brief, violent flashes of domestic violence.” According to the Rolling Stone article, Rogan’s father didn’t comment on the allegations when reached, but said, “I don’t talk about people the way they talk about me. That’s not in my DNA. What’s gone is gone.” (My attempts to locate and contact Rogan’s father were unsuccessful.)  The family moved around a lot, from Newark to San Francisco, then Gainesville, Florida, before finally settling down in suburban Boston. He was a pissed-off kid. Also, he was short. Eventually he found two outlets: fighting and telling jokes, which just so happen to be two things that can thrill some people at the same time as they’re really hurting others.

Rogan seems like a regular Joe, but he’s not. He is driven, inexhaustible, and an honest-to-goodness autodidact. I used to think of myself as pretty pan-curious—it comes with the job—but my Joe Rogan experience was humbling. His brain is wicked absorbent, like Neo in The Matrix, uploading knowledge through a hot spear jammed into the back of his skull. He’s a freak of nature, and most of his fans cannot, in fact, be just like him.

One of the downsides of total human optimization is that you’re always coming up short, and in the wrong stew of testosterone and serotonin, it can turn into a poison of self-loathing and trigger-cocked rage. And a key thing Joe and his fans tend to have in common is a deficit of empathy. He seems unable to process how his tolerance for monsters like Alex Jones plays a role in the wounding of people who don’t deserve it. Jones’s recent appearance on the podcast came after he was sued by families of children and educators murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre—a mass shooting that Jones falsely claimed was a hoax, which families of the victims say prompted his gang of fans to harass them. (Jones has since acknowledged that the Sandy Hook massacre occurred.) So is Joe really nurturing a generation of smarter, healthier, more worldly men, or an army of conspiracy theorists and alt-right super soldiers? At the very least, he shows too much compassion for bad actors, and not enough for people on the receiving end of their attacks.

In order to get at the truth of Joe’s beliefs, you have to ignore what he says and watch what he does. Rogan likes to say that he’s voted for a Democrat in every presidential election—aside from a brief ill-advised fling with Gary Johnson—and that he despises Trump. During a podcast episode in March, he described himself as “fucking left wing” and “almost a socialist,” then ticked off a list of progressive issues he backs, including universal basic income and free college. In early August, Bernie Sanders came on for a pithy hour-long episode. He tends to assert his progressive credentials, though, only when he gets accused of being a far-right mouthpiece, and it always has a ring of “Some of my best friends voted for Hillary.” More revealing is who he invites onto his podcast, and what subjects he chooses to feast on in his stand-up specials. And if you cast a wide enough net, clear patterns emerge. If there’s a woman or a person of color (or both) on Joe’s podcast, the odds are high that person is a fighter or an entertainer, and not a public intellectual.

Rogan’s most recent Netflix special is often funny because Joe Rogan is a professional stand-up comedian, but if you look past the jokes themselves and focus on the targets he’s choosing, the same patterns emerge. Hillary, the #MeToo movement, why it sucks that he can’t call things “gay,” vegan bullies, sexism. Of all the things in the world for a comedian to joke about right now, why these? “I say shit I don’t mean because it’s funny,” he says during the special, which is something all comedians say, and is sort of true but also sort of not. People reveal their deepest selves in the subjects they keep revisiting, and the hills they choose to die on. With Rogan, you can often see and hear the tension between what he knows he’s supposed to believe and what he really thinks. Joe Rogan may be all about love, but beneath the surface he’s seething.

Onstage, Rogan tends to wear the familiar uniform of chiseled men everywhere enjoying a night on the town: jeans, shiny button-down shirt, untucked, with a spread collar and unbuttoned cuffs, like his torso is a wine that needs to breathe. He stomps around as he performs, and his voice often rises to a shout, like Sam Kinison. In Strange Times, he complained that his critics believe he “hates gays and cats,” but he also seems ambivalent about women, especially Clinton, whom he described as “a lying old lady who faints a lot.”

And speaking of a lot: He uses the word lady a lot. “Ladies,” he went on, “you make people. You make all the people. And you want to be president, too, you fucking greedy bitches? What else do you want? You want bigger dicks than us?” “Ladies,” he went on some more, “I love you … but let’s be honest, you don’t invent a lot of shit.”

Joe’s choice of profession is a key to understanding why The Joe Rogan Experience can seem like a safe space for retrograde assholes: Among comics, radical free speech is a first principle. Every comedian believes that all people should be able to say pretty much whatever they want, whenever they want. This is partly because their careers depend on it, and not in some theoretical way. Just ask comics how nervous they get trying out new material in front of a live audience now versus a decade ago.

All the same, because of their core DNA and their comfort with getting booed, comedians still tend to be at the forefront of so many of these debates over language and identity, touching those electrical wires in ways other people wouldn’t dare. Joe touches them all the time. You just don’t hear about it because it’s buried under 300,000 hours of conversation with Anthony Jeselnik. Many of these episodes are a mixed bag. If you don’t think it’s possible to be insightful and obtuse at the same time, just listen to an hour of his podcast with the author and neuroscientist Sam Harris, who raised some fraught but worthwhile questions about how forgiveness works in the age of the #MeToo movement and MAGA.

“We need to think through the whole process of redemption for people in our society,” Harris argued. “What are the criteria for successful apologies and for forgiveness?” Rogan agreed, hard, and they discussed the case of Liam Neeson, who may have done lasting damage to his career by confessing to racist thoughts in his youth that he is ashamed of now. “They just wanna see him burned alive,” Harris said with real alarm. “And yet … these same people on the left are people who have as a genuine ethical norm the rehabilitation of murderers … There’s no way to square those two things.” These are both good, if imperfect, points to raise, but neither of them seems to grasp that a good point coming out of the wrong mouth doesn’t count for squat.

Free speech and its consequences, particularly the deplatforming of right-wing political provocateurs, is a push-button subject for Rogan, and it’s where he gets himself into the most trouble. Especially when he talks about Twitter, a company that brings together Joe’s two biggest blind spots: his basic misunderstanding of the concept of censorship and his tendency to see the world through a thick cloud of Axe Body Spray. (No, Joe, Twitter banning white nationalists from its privately held publishing platform is not censorship—it might be a risky corporate policy, but it is not censorship.)

Last winter, Rogan had the Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on his show and the episode was a bust, resulting in a kind of blowback from fans that he’d never experienced before. It wasn’t that Joe was insufficiently hard-assed; it was simply that he failed at the most basic task of a host: forcing his guest to say something, anything, meaningful. A few of Joe’s more conspiracy-minded fans, meanwhile—the Joe Rogan experience is a deeply paranoid one—accused him of letting Dorsey off easy because Dorsey’s Cash app sponsors the podcast. But I don’t think that was the issue. I think that’s just how Dorsey talks, and Rogan couldn’t crack it. He’s not the first person Dorsey has bullshitted to death, and he won’t be the last.

What happened next, though, was a demonstration of one of Joe’s strengths, and something folks in traditional journalism could learn from: He fessed up. He began an episode the following week by apologizing for how lousy the Dorsey interview had gone, and though he insisted he wasn’t covering for a buddy, he acknowledged the bad optics. He sounded beat up about it. He vowed to make it right. During my entire Joe Rogan experience, I never liked him more.

But then he immediately went out and bungled the “making it right” part, inviting on a journalist named Tim Pool, a frequent commentator on social-media issues, who seemed to know less about Twitter, and in particular the details of notable not-censorship incidents, than Joe himself—two men talking unironically about what constitutes abuse on a social-media platform. Then he brought back Dorsey and Pool, and Dorsey brought along Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety, Vijaya Gadde, for a four-way deep dive that was so circular and confusing it reminded me of Twitter itself.

Joe likes Jack. He likes Milo Yiannopoulos. He likes Alex Jones. He wants you to know that he doesn’t agree with much of what they say, but he also wants you to know that off camera they’re the nicest guys. If we all have fatal flaws, this is Joe’s: his insistence on seeing value in people even when he shouldn’t, even when they’ve forfeited any right to it, even when the harm outweighs the good. It comes from a generous place, but it amounts to careless cruelty. He just won’t write people off, and then he compounds the sin by throwing them a lifeline at the moment when they least deserve it.

I put off listening to what Joe billed as “Alex Jones Returns!” (episode No. 1255) for three weeks, and then another week once I saw the running time: nearly five hours. Two windbags gusting for so long they could’ve powered a desert of turbines. Rogan and Jones have been offline friends for years and share a fondness for conspiracy theories, though Jones takes them somewhat more seriously. Jones’s first appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience was two years ago (episode No. 911), but this one was fraught because he and Joe had recently fallen out over Jones’s insistence that the Sandy Hook massacre had been a hoax. For Rogan, this was a banishment-worthy sin. Until it wasn’t.

His invitation to Jones was indefensible, and his defense was even worse. I had assumed going in that Rogan would explain himself at the top, similar to what he’d done after booting the Jack Dorsey interview. But he didn’t. He went the other way. He promised a “fun” interview with Jones, as if it was a joyful, long-awaited reunion rather than offensive for even existing, and he assured his listeners that “you’re gonna love it.”

Even before Jones sat down, Rogan seemed unpierced by the genuine anguish that Jones had caused the parents of murdered first graders. I won’t quote anything Alex Jones said on the podcast, so just picture a walrus with a persecution complex, or a talking pile of gravel. They got the Sandy Hook stuff out of the way first—Jones evaded responsibility, Joe grumbled about the media—and then they got into what Jones was really there to talk about: aliens, suicidal grasshoppers, Chinese robot workers, that kind of thing. My breaking point was at the 21-minute mark, when Jones apologized for “ranting” and Rogan replied, “It’s okay—I want you to rant.”

My Joe Rogan experience ended because he wore me out. He never shuts up. He talks and talks and talks. He doesn’t seem to grasp that not every thought inside his brain needs to be said out loud. It doesn’t occur to him to consider whether his contributions have value. He just speaks his mind. He just whips it out and drops it on the table.

And yet I came away more comfortable with Joe’s vision of manhood—and more determined to do the exact opposite. We’re just different. Joe Rogan lives every day like it’s his last. I live every day like I’m going to have to do most of this crap again tomorrow. I like naps. I can’t seem to get in the habit of taking vitamins and I just need to accept that I never will. I’m glad, though, that the men of America have Joe Rogan to motivate and inspire and educate them in limitless ways, including how to recognize a moron. Whatever gets the job done. It might unsettle some of us that we must rely on his fans to separate the good stuff from the bad, but that’s the hard work of being a responsible adult in the modern era—knowing what you should consume and what you shouldn’t. We all need to decide for ourselves, but trust me on this one: You can skip the mushroom coffee.