Podcasting giant Joe Rogan has another career that hasn’t been highlighted nearly enough: actor.
Rogan covers a variety of topics on his podcast, from comedy to feathered dinosaurs to Bigfoot. The man has never met a subject he couldn’t make interesting. That’s part of what makes his podcast so massively popular — although apparently not that popular with sensitive Spotify employees.
One subject he never dives too far into, however, is his acting career.
Yes, Rogan is an actor. Besides his commentator work with the UFC and hosting duties on the pop culture phenomenon “Fear Factor,” Rogan has also dabbled into acting, a profession he has openly said he finds little interest in.
Mainly known for his run on the beloved ‘90s sitcom “NewsRadio,” Rogan has been convinced on occasion to turn his talents to scripted material. He’s managed to shine there nearly as much as he does behind a mic or encouraging people to eat stomach-churning animal parts to win big prizes.
Here’s a look at a few performances every Rogan fan should check out in between four hour interviews with everyone from Alex Jones to Kevin Smith.
The Kevin James comedy is an oddity in Rogan’s filmography. It’s really the only time he took on a significant role in a major studio release. He was likely convinced by James, whom he’s said is a friend.
“Zookeeper” doesn’t reinvent the wheel and is aimed at Happy Madison enthusiasts (you found an unapologetic one right here, bub). Even people who can’t get behind the film’s talking animals storyline, there’s plenty of laughs to be found in Rogan’s performance as the douchey, fitness-obsessed Gale. He’s the foil battling it out with James’ zookeeper for the affection of Stephanie (Leslie Bibb).
Rogan’s Gale is likely what most people who write 1,000 word takedowns of him, but have never actually listened to his podcast, think he is. Highlights include a violent bike race between the two and a dance-off that includes Gale bragging about being an expert at ballroom dancing not because of lessons or practice, but because “I’m wicked athletic.”
His work here makes one wish he gave acting a shot more often because his comic timing is perfect, and he has great chemistry with James.
“The world of the actor is very difficult, and a lot of people accuse actors of being fake…I think one of the reasons for accusing them of being fake is they always have to put on the best show, like as far as their behavior and the way they act and think and their opinions because they’re constantly trying to get cast in things. It’s all about getting people to like you and politicking…and you kind of have to have liberal sensibilities.” — Rogan on acting
‘Here Comes the Boom’
Rogan plays yet another supporting role in a James film here, this time taking on a character much closer to the persona fans of his podcast and UFC work will recognize.
He’s even named Joe Rogan!
“Here Comes the Boom” is an underrated film with James playing a teacher who takes up mixed martial arts to help get funding for his failing school. The district wants to cut back on a music program run by the reliably lovable Henry Winkler.
Rogan plays a version of himself who gives James’ Mr. Voss a shot at the big time. He’s completely comfortable here, and he and other UFC regulars bring an authenticity to one of the few scripted films to take on the MMA craze.
“With actors, it’s all about getting that person in the room who is the casting agent or the producer to like them. That’s all it is. So you have to be super left-wing, super liberal, you have to talk like they talk, you have to say things that [are] going to ingratiate you with them. You got to fit in. So everybody’s scared to do anything that’s not inside the political norm…the boundaries that have been set up. You got to stay inside those boundaries.” — Rogan on Actors Getting Political
‘Venus & Vegas’
‘Venus & Vegas’ is … not great. It’s a forgotten Vegas-set comedy about a trio of low-level criminals looking for a big score in both cash and love. Blah, blah blah. It’s a formula that’s been done and, aside from a few charming moments, this film is brought down by a cheap, taped-together look.
With that being said, Rogan’s small role as Richie, a happily married man who cannot stop pontificating on the downfalls of marriage and why everyone except him should avoid it, is hilarious. It feels like Rogan is just being allowed to riff here. The role is a hidden gem for fans who just can’t get enough of the bow-hunting conspiracy theorist.
It’s anyone’s guess why Rogan thought the film was worth his time, but he shines as its best, and arguably only, asset.
Zachary Leeman is the author of the novel Nigh and has covered art and culture for Breitbart, LifeZette, BizPac Review, and others.