Joe Rogan has had a varied career, to say the least. After all, he’s been a stand-up comic, martial arts teacher, sitcom actor, UFC commentator, and host of the ’00s grossest game show. But it’s as a podcaster that the Newark native has become a media sensation.
As well as attracting millions of listeners across the globe, “The Joe Rogan Experience” appears to pride itself on causing as much controversy as possible. Indeed, barely a week goes by without Rogan sticking his oar into matters that don’t concern him, stoking celebrity feuds, and on occasion even spreading dangerous misinformation.
But if you keep dishing it out, you have to be prepared to take it. And plenty of stars have been more than willing to play Rogan at his own game over the years. Here’s a look at 14 who have made their feelings about the cancel culture fighter crystal clear.
Carlos Mencia claims Joe Rogan sabotaged his career
It’s one of the most famous moments in The Comedy Store history. In 2007, Joe Rogan humiliated fellow comic Carlos Mencia live on stage in Los Angeles by labeling him a plagiarist. He then uploaded a video of the confrontation online alongside footage of a particular joke told by the Honduras-born star interspersed with clips of other stand-ups delivering a similar version.
Mencia claims that he was advised by the likes of Comedy Central not to respond to the allegations at the time. But he’s since discussed the matter on several occasions. In 2011, the comedian revealed that he’d undergone therapy to deal with the damage to his career, and then eight years later, he explained to The Checkitow Podcast why he hadn’t reached out to Rogan since the incident.
“A really good friend of mine said ‘you should call Joe and apologize [because] he has got a really good podcast’ … I said, ‘What am I supposed to say to somebody who accused me of stealing jokes, but not his, and he’s the one who’s tried to ruin my career?’ I never tried to ruin his career … I don’t know how to address that.” Although Mencia still appears to hold a grudge, Rogan told listeners on his own podcast in 2020, “I don’t have any hate for that dude … And I hope he’s doing great, I really do.”
Trisha Paytas accused Joe Rogan of body shaming
Not for the first and almost certainly not the last time, Joe Rogan was accused of sexism in 2021 with his unflattering response to a popular online personality. While guesting on The Joe Rogan Experience in 2021, Ali Macofsky happened to mention that she’d signed up to Trisha Paytas’ OnlyFans account. After requesting a naked snap of the star, the host took one look at a bikini-clad pic and dismissively responded, “Yeah, you can keep that.”
As you can imagine, Paytas wasn’t going to take this lying down. After being alerted to the comment, the YouTuber uploaded an eight-minute clip to their channel with the title, “Dear Joe Rogan.” After admitting that they’d only previously been aware of the podcaster through “Fear Factor,” Paytas directly addressed Rogan.
“Not every woman is here to be pleasure for your eyeballs … Just for future reference, for people — attention trolls like myself that aren’t me — you don’t have to ‘ugh’ at somebody. Because chances are, even if they are the most beautiful person, maybe they already ‘ugh’ at themselves.”
Stephen A. Smith felt patronized by Joe Rogan
When he’s not being silenced for his very straight white male perspective on his self-titled podcast, Joe Rogan can also be heard giving his opinion on all things Ultimate Fighting Championship as a color commentator. But it’s not just the men in the ring that the comic enjoys mouthing off about.
In 2020, Rogan called out ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith for claiming that Donald Cerrone had essentially thrown in the towel during his first-round defeat to Conor McGregor. He told “The Joe Rogan Experience” listeners, “It’s a bad look for ESPN, it’s a bad look for him, it’s a bad look for the sport. There’s other people that can do this … We have plenty of people out there who understand the sport.” The host did acknowledge that Smith was a natural entertainer but that his style had no place in MMA.
Understandably, Smith wasn’t too happy about being patronized live on air. In a video posted on Twitter, he told Rogan, “You have your right, just like I have my right to respond, as I’m doing right now. But any time you want to talk to me about this fight, or you want to talk to me about my credentials to discuss something in the world of sports, name the time and place, Joe Rogan, and I’ll show up. It’s not a problem. It’s not a problem at all.”
Alyssa Milano is baffled by Joe Rogan's popularity
Alyssa Milano sure appeared to be in a venting mood when she logged onto Twitter one day in July 2020. The “Charmed” actress took aim at everything from Donald Trump to Instagram trends to the Washington Redskins’ name in a series of tweets. But it was the shade she threw at a certain comic that drew the most attention.
“We live in a world where Joe Rogan’s podcast has triple the listeners as mine. Dear God,” Milano wrote. The actress’ disbelief wasn’t shared by everyone, with some arguing that “The Joe Rogan Experience” addresses a wider range of subjects than her socially conscious “Sorry Not Sorry,” and others believing that she’d overestimated her own listenership by quite some distance.
Rogan waited a few weeks to respond but made sure he stuck the knife in when he eventually did. Speaking to comedian Tim Dillon on his eponymous podcast about the issue of political commentary, the host quipped, “I think we should leave it all to Alyssa Milano, I’m looking forward to her tweets in November, I’m just going to follow all of that … That shift where you go from actor to activist, all in, as soon as the f***ing calls stop coming in, you’re like, ‘all right, I’m an activist.'”
Prince Harry tells Joe Rogan to stay out of COVID-19 talk
Joe Rogan even managed to get on the wrong side of a member of the royal family in 2021 when he waded in on the issue of the COVID-19 vaccine. On his self-titled podcast, the host controversially, and wrongly told listeners that healthy young adults were perfectly safe if they didn’t bother getting jabbed — in a pandemic that had already killed millions of people across the globe.
Although it’s unlikely that anyone would take medical advice from a man once best-known for encouraging game show contestants to eat blended rodents, Rogan still suffered a major backlash for his comments. And the most high-profile name to speak out was undoubtedly Prince Harry. Yes, while appearing on Dax Shepard’s podcast, “Armchair Expert,” the Duke of Sussex took the opportunity to call out the stand-up for spreading alternative facts.
He said, “The issue is in today’s world with misinformation endemic, you’ve got to be careful about what comes out of your mouth when it comes to that because news doesn’t exist in just news anymore.” The royal then offered some wise words to Rogan: “Just stay out of it … If you have a platform, with a platform comes responsibility.”
Don Lemon blasted Joe Rogan's claims about cancel culture
Joe Rogan was deservedly mocked in 2021 when he put forward the theory that straight white men are in danger of being silenced by the “woke movement.” On his own podcast regularly listened to by 11 million people. And one that’s broadcast on a streaming service paying him $100 million to talk about whatever he likes.
Don Lemon was just one of several names to call out Rogan, telling viewers of his imaginatively-titled CNN show “Don Lemon Tonight” (via Yahoo! Entertainment), “There is an important debate right now about cancel culture and wokeness, questions about what either term even means and what happens if it goes too far. There are legitimate questions about that. But acknowledging the oppression, discrimination or differences of others does not silence anyone else.”
Lemon, who co-hosts a podcast of his own, “The Handoff,” with colleague Chris Cuomo, then added, “Joe Rogan is part of the conversation. There’s a lot I can go on about, especially about straight white men. You’re aggrieved now? OK. No one is stopping Joe Rogan or any other straight white man from expressing themselves, period.”
Fallon Fox called out Joe Rogan's transphobia
There’s certainly no love lost between Joe Rogan and transgender MMA athlete Fallon Fox. The pair first clashed in 2013 when the former protested against the approval of the latter’s fighting license on his podcast. According to Vice, he said, “First of all, she’s not really a she. She’s a transgender, post-op person. The operation doesn’t shave down your bone density. It doesn’t change.”
Fox soon fought back, drawing the similarities between Rogan’s comments and the discrimination that one particular baseball legend faced in the early 1940s in a piece for Bloody Elbow: “Remember when commentators said Jackie Robinson had an unfair advantage because black people had ‘larger heel bones’ than the white men he was competing with? Are we repeating history yet again with bogus bone claims?”
Rogan incurred Fox’s wrath again in 2021 when the podcaster bizarrely claimed that “generally dumb people” now have an easy way to improve their reputation: change gender. The former featherweight tweeted in response, “Joe Rogan is being transphobic yet again. He’s had more transphobic episodes than you can shake a stick at. Spotify needs to cancel his show already.”
John Oliver agreed that Joe Rogan is a 'moron'
Prince Harry wasn’t the only famous face to call out Joe Rogan for his dangerous misinformation on the COVID-19 vaccine. In the same week he criticized Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for a similar thing, John Oliver couldn’t resist tearing the podcaster a new one on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight.”
Addressing Rogan’s claim on his eponymous podcast that healthy young adults don’t need to get jabbed, the Brit responded, “If you’re thinking, ‘Yeah, I’m not sure I’ll need it. Joe Rogan says I’m probably fine.’ Look, it is true: You might not get seriously sick from COVID — or indeed sick at all — but you could still inadvertently pass it to someone who could then die. And before you say, ‘Well, vulnerable people should just get vaccinated then,’ the vaccines are only 95 percent effective … so they’ll probably be ok, but maybe not.” He concluded, “Stop listening to what Joe Rogan tells you, he’s a ‘f***ing moron’ — and those are his words, not mine.”
If you’re wondering what that last line is about, well, Rogan did indeed describe himself as a “f***ing moron” following the backlash to his vaccination comments. In a rare display of self-awareness on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the provocateur also said, “I’m a cage-fighting commentator who’s a dirty stand-up comedian … I’m not a respected source of information, even for me.”
Steve Albini described Joe Rogan as 'trash garbage'
You probably shouldn’t expect Steve Albini to pop up on “The Joe Rogan Experience” any time soon. In a 2021 interview with Eugene Robinson for the Oxbow frontman’s newsletter, the music producer unleashed a volley of abuse toward the podcast host and his fellow “anti-woke” comedians. “Trash garbage” was one of the more polite terms used to describe the likes of Rogan and controversial website Barstool Sports.
Albini explained, “What if all the stupid s*** your racist neighbor you can’t stand said was typed up and put on a blog? Nope, still trash, still f*** it. I want them all out looking for work. Into the chipper with all of it … The older I get the less certain I am of some things, the more obvious others seem. One that has become clear over time is that nobody deserves your attention, you dole it out and you can decide who deserves it.”
Best-known for his work on Nirvana’s final album “In Utero,” Albini also took aim at Vice, describing the media company as a “parade of gawkers reveling in whatever misery they can observe from an ironic distance. F*** that s*** completely.”
Chelsea Peretti confronted Joe Rogan about sexist behavior
“The Joe Rogan Experience” fully leaned into its boys’ club mentality in 2011 when regular guest Joey Diaz joked about procuring sexual favors from female comedians in return for stage time at The Comedy Store’s The Belly Room. The host appeared to find this rip-roaringly hilarious but it’s fair to say that Chelsea Peretti did not.
Following the clip’s resurfacing in 2020, the former “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star vented on Twitter about how sexism is rife within the comedic world. She posted, “If you’re a male comedian one thing you can do is tell men to shut the f*** up when they are saying hateful s*** about women and not go on podcasts that are racist and sexist. You can also speak up for women getting attacked online for sticking up for themselves. Or … total silence.”
Far from apologizing for their problematic banter, Diaz and Rogan instead fanned the flames even more. Firstly, the former tweeted, “If that video hurt your feelings watch this c***sniffers” accompanied by a video titled “Joey Diaz Sleeps With One Legged Woman.” And then the latter, according to Showbiz Cheat Sheet, retweeted it.
Caitlyn Jenner lambasted Joe Rogan for yet more transphobia
“I just feel like Joe Rogan has a lot to learn.” Whether or not you’re a fan of Caitlyn Jenner, it’s hard to disagree with the remark she made in 2020 on TMZ Live. The one-time Olympian was speaking out after the comic had managed to offend not only herself but her daughters and the entire trans community in one fell swoop.
While talking to Tim Kennedy on his self-titled podcast, Rogan put forward the theory that transgender individuals may have only gone through such a transition because of their environment. And he used Jenner, who he also deadnamed, and her famous family as an example: “Maybe if you live with crazy b****** long enough they f***ing turn you into one. Maybe you go crazy. Maybe that too. Especially those ones.”
Jenner subsequently fought back, describing Rogan as a “homophobic, transphobic a**” before defending her nearest and dearest: “He does this all the time … My daughters have obviously done extremely well … He’s gotten his fame by putting other people down and making jokes about it. My family has done it through hard work.” She also refuted the claim that the Kardashian-Jenners had anything to do with her transition, adding, “I’ve been gender dysphoric my entire life … Once I got to the point in life where my kids were raised, and they’re all doing well, [I said] maybe I could live the remainder of my life authentically.”
Sunny Hostin berated Joe Rogan's presidential debate plans
Considering all the craziness that surrounded the 2020 presidential election, it wouldn’t have been too surprising to see Joe Rogan host a debate between the two main candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The comic actually proposed the idea on his podcast while chatting to Tim Kennedy (via New York Post), stating, “First of all, I want no one else in the room, just the three of us. And you’d have to stream it live so no one can edit it, and I would want them in there for hours.”
According to Fox News, Trump gave his blessing to the idea after Kennedy suggested the concept on Twitter. Sunny Hostin, however, certainly didn’t. During a discussion about the subject on “The View,” the co-host explained why Rogan would be the worst possible candidate for such a role: “I mean, I think given his use of the N-word, I think given his, comparing a Black neighborhood to “Planet of the Apes,” given the fact that he has called a transgender woman a man, I think all of that disqualifies him to be the host of a presidential debate.”
Hostin also stuck the knife into Trump, arguing that he’d “debased the office of the presidency,” before adding, “I think as a country we have lost a sense of decorum, and I don’t think a host like that should be someone who is given the honor … I think that journalists should be hosting these debates.”
Ebro questioned Joe Rogan's racist remark
Joe Rogan once again faced accusations of racism in 2019 when DJ Ebro reminded everyone of a problematic remark the UFC commentator made on another hugely controversial podcast, Alex Jones’ “InfoWars.” “Y’all good with Joe Rogan?,” the Apple Music 1 host tweeted alongside the offending clip, adding, “I’m sure he’ll apologize, right?”
The video in question saw Rogan recall a trip to the cinema in a neighborhood he was unfamiliar with: “We get out and we’re giggling, ‘Oh we’re going to see ‘Planet of the Apes.’ We walk into Planet of the Apes … We walked into Africa, dude. We walked in the door and there was no white people.”
One fan came to Rogan’s defense by arguing that he’d later acknowledged that the joke was out of line. But Ebro was having none of it, responding, “Just because someone clarifies they are being a racist doesn’t now remove responsibility … Joe Rogan is a pro and made his joke with his buddies and turned it on himself to soften the blow. FOH!” According to Complex, the co-presenter of Hot 97 show “Ebro in the Morning” then provided evidence of the comic’s lack of remorse by linking to another vid featuring Rogan uttering the N-word on numerous occasions.
Tito Ortiz shames Joe Rogan for leaving California
After 17 years living in the Californian city of Bell Canyon, Joe Rogan and his family decided to leave the Golden State for Texas. On his eponymous podcast [0.15] in 2020, the star explained, “I just want to go somewhere in the center of the country, somewhere it’s easier to travel to both places and somewhere where you have a little bit more freedom.”
Rogan also referenced the levels of homelessness, financial hardship, and traffic within the city to validate his argument that the state had simply become too overcrowded. This perhaps explains why a former Ultimate Fighting Champion running for City Council in Huntington Beach took such offense at the comic’s relocation.
While appearing at a Donald Trump presidential campaign rally later that same year, Tito Ortiz told the crowd, “It’s important that we protect this city. This city is powerful to me and I’m not leaving. Joe Rogan, a bunch of other Hollywood guys, they left. I can’t say the word because my children are here, but they’re quitters! I refuse to be a quitter!” Locals appeared to appreciate Ortiz’s loyalty as the UFC Hall of Famer was sworn in with the highest number of votes in Huntington Beach history.
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