Q&A with the Denver Post
Today I’m going to take the cheap and easy way out with my blog of the day, and make it a question and answer that I had to do anyway for the Denver post.
I thought about it after I decided to post it as a blog and thought that asking you guys for questions would make for an interesting feature here.
I set up an email for it, so please send any questions you have for me to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll pick the ones I think are interesting and I’ll answer them here. I think that would be a cool feature to add to the site, and maybe after I’m done with this daily blog thing I’ll start answering questions one night a week.
JOE ROGAN QUESTIONS:
1. Last time we talked (July 2008) you and your girlfriend had recently welcomed your first child, a little girl. A lot of comedians resist doing marriage- and kid-related material, but eventually seem to find it’s an organic part of their act once that’s their life. How have those experiences affected your act? What’s that material like?
I don’t resist talking about anything that I find funny, but I don’t try to make things funny that aren’t interesting to me either. Having a baby is a fascinating, almost indescribably beautiful new saga in my life, and of course there’s going to be things about it that I’m going to want to talk about onstage.
The real challenge is to explain having a child to someone young and single and not have them automatically get turned off because it’s “baby comedy.”
Especially when you’re a young man often times the last things you want to hear about at a comedy club are jokes about the baby. The only thing less inviting might be female comedians complaining about their periods. What I try to do is make everything I do just be about life and what I see walking through it. The world through my eyes, and onstage it all comes together; life, death, birth, sex, lies, space, religion – it’s all just “what is fascinating to me in this life.” What do I see that I want to bring to the audience, and what’s the best method of getting it to them? How do I structure the idea for maximum impact with the correct amount of words? That’s the craft of it, but what’s important is that whatever I’m saying is actually interesting to me. Of course having a baby is very interesting to me, so of course that’s something I’m going to talk about.
2. You also mentioned last time how a lot of your TV experiences have been “boring” and “mindless.” I’m going to guess that your new show, “Game Show in My Head,” is different? Is the show still airing and if so, do you know for how long?
Game Show in My Head was a really fun show to do. I thought some of the moments on that show were really hilarious. I think there’s a few things about it that we could improve, but it’s a great idea for a show and the contestants we got were awesome. With good guests you could do that show for a long time, and I think now that it’s aired it’s going to be even easier to find people that want to sign up for it.
For me it was the first project that was offered to me in a long time that I was actually excited about. I think there’s some parts of it that need to be fixed, but overall it was an entertaining show. Ultimately though, I do shows like this for the money.
It’s fun to do and I appreciate the job, but it can’t really compare to how much I enjoy stand up comedy or working for the UFC.
3. Have you noticed a change at all in audiences due to the economic crisis the past few months? Have you changed your material at all?
I think it’s scary to a lot of people how fast this crisis hit, and how deep it’s ripples go. It’s the first time in my life where I’ve actually considered that it might actually be possible for this economy to fail and collapse in a huge disaster. Not just a recession, but an implosion. It’s affected a lot of people coming to the clubs because it’s affected everyone in every walk of life. You can definitely feel it when you talk to people, and I always make time to give the crowd an extra thank you in appreciation of them paying to see me in this most shitty of economic times.
If it’s done any good thing though it’s made the people with good jobs truly appreciate their good fortune, especially the thoughtful ones. The crowds I’ve performed for over the last year or so have been the best crowds I’ve ever played for in my career despite the hard times. I’ve been very fortunate with my timing that in the last couple years many more people have been made aware of my stand up comedy so I’ve been getting crowds that know what I do and are coming out because they’re fans rather than in the past I got a lot of people that just wanted to see me because I was on “fear factor.”
So I’ve been very fortunate that I’m still getting great crowds.
As far as changing my material, it’s always changing. I look at stand up like it’s a living thing, like it’s gigantic cluster of ideas that are fed by attention and nourished by curiousity. If you don’t change your material often you’re going to get bored of it, and the energy that keeps it alive is going to wane.
I’m constantly writing. Most of the time I write for my blog, and out of those writings I get ideas that I can transfer to stand up.
Then it becomes a matter of getting those ideas to the proper form, polishing them until I’m satisfied with it’s form, and then putting it in a CD or a DVD and starting over.
The week I’m at the Comedy Works in Denver is the last week before I film my next special, a one hour stand up show I’m doing for Spike TV, so I’ll be in the home stretch. I’m really excited about that part of my preparation being in Denver, because it’s one of my favorite places to perform on the planet. I always have a good time there, so for me it was the perfect place to put the final touches on some of the material before I film it the following week.
4. What’s your joke-writing process like? Do you sit down with a pen and piece of paper and work on it or allow it come to you more fluidly?
I write bits a few different ways. Sometimes I say something in a conversation and it’s funny so I write it down or send myself a text or a voicemail so that I can remember, and then from there I’ll either fuck around with it onstage or take it to my computer and write it out and work on where I’m going with it. It depends entirely on how well formed the idea is. Sometimes I’ll get an idea and it comes in a form of a finished joke. It would seem as if it was written out with a lot of thought and planning, but it actually just popped into my head fully formed. Those are the most rare.
Most of the time if I get an idea it’s an idea to write about, and then eventually out of that writing I’ll get a solid bit. Usually I’ll have a bunch of different ways I try to deliver it, and a bunch of different bits and angles that I segue into it too.
As I said before though, much of my writing comes from writing my blog at www.joerogan.net. I find that when I’m writing blogs I don’t have to be confined to the limits that performing stand up comedy imposes on you. I don’t have to make sure everything is funny, and that all my ideas hit hard and fast. I can relax. I can go into great detail about how I feel about every single aspect of what I’m writing about. All I have to do is make it interesting. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s the opposite of funny, but it’s always what I’m thinking off, and when I do them often enough there’s always ideas in those blogs that I can absorb into my act.
For me it’s a much more productive way to create material. Plus the frequent blogs keep me in contact with all my fans by giving them a lot of content to enjoy on my site.
5. Random question: What’s the best cure for a hangover on the road?
Water and marijuana, and not necessarily in that order. Vitamins help too. Eat a healthy meal, and try to get some fruit into your body. Electrolyte drinks like Gatorade help too. The key is to re-hydrate your body and flush as much of the vile remnants of the booze out as you can. If you’re not peeing so often that it’s annoying than you’re not drinking enough water. When you’ve got all your fluids replaced and your body is starting to normalize, then often times a hit of the good is the best thing to set your mind at ease and kill whatever remains of your headache.