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UFC announcer Joe Rogan is seen at the weigh in before a UFC on FOX 5 event in Seattle, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Joe Rogan is outta here.  He hasn’t left the building yet, but the car is warmed up and running at the rear exit of the arena.

“When you look at the traffic, when you look at the economic despair, when you look at the homelessness problem that’s accelerated radically over the last six, seven, ten years, I think there’s too many people here.”

“I think it’s not tenable, I don’t think that it’s manageable. And every mayor does a s**t job of doing it because I don’t think anybody could do a great job of it. I think there’s certain things you’re gonna have to deal with when you have a population of whatever the f**k L.A. is, it’s like twenty million plus people,” Rogan said.

Rogan is a unique American success story, and his soaring popularity is based on a few key features of his persona in my opinion:

  1. He’s never anyone other than who he appears to be.  His demeanor never changes regardless of the environment he finds himself in or the people he’s with.
  2. He has a sense of humor — he started out as a stand-up comedian and had an underappreciated presence in the 1990s sitcom NewsRadio.
  3. He was an “anything goes” host of the weirdly popular “Fear Factor” on NBC from 2001 to 2006, during which time he was doing regular stand up comedy routines around the country.  He signed to do “Fear Factor” because he thought it would provide him material for his stand-up routine.
  4. From approximately 1994 to 2007 he performed for free at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles.
  5. He developed an interest in martial arts as a teenager, becoming a skilled practitioner of karate and kickboxing as a young adult, including a brief professional career as a kickboxer prior to turning to comedy.  He has trained in the sport of Brazilian jujitsu since 1996.
  6. His passion for martial arts led him to be hired as a backstage post-fight interviewer in the very early days of mixed-martial arts in 1997, long before it developed into the sport it is today.  He quit his original job with an MMA promoter because the pay was not enough to cover the travel expenses to the locations where the events were staged in the pre-Las Vegas heyday of the UFC.
  7. After the UFC was taken over by Dana White and the Fertitta brothers of Las Vegas, Rogan attended some of the early events and became friends with White.  Learning of Rogan’s background, White offered him a job as color commentator for the television broadcasts which at that time were all Pay-Per-View.  Rogan says he initially said no to the offer, wanting only to watch the fights and drink.  But White eventually convinced him to take the job, and it changed forever Rogan’s celebrity status as MMA grew in popularity over the past 15 years.
  8. Rogan is middle-America’s 21st-century “everyman” who says what he thinks without fear of being called out.  He has a daily podcast that has become “the” place to go if you want to reach an audience of males from 18-40.  YouTube videos of the podcast attract over a million viewers every day, with some attracting multiples of that number depending on the guest.
  9. His politics are very different to categorize because they fit into no category.  More than anything he seems to value “truth-telling” above political philosophy.  He has had positive comments about Pres. Trump depending on the subject, but six months ago he suggested on his show that he was going to support Bernie Sanders in 2020 because Sanders has been consistent on his positions on a range of subjects throughout his entire political career.

Rogan has publicly stated an intention to leave California in the past.  In May of this year he cited the lock-down policies of California Governor Gavin Newsom as a reason to leave.

“If California continues to be this restrictive, I don’t know if this is a good place to live,” said Rogan. “I might jet. I’m not kidding. I’m not kidding, this is silly. I don’t need to be here.”

During his podcast yesterday, he announced his destination:

“I’m outta here,” said Rogan when De Sana asked him about moving. “I’m gonna go to Texas.”

Picking the GOP stronghold of Texas as his destination is an indication of Rogan’s politics, which are probably best described as “libertarian” more accurately than anything else.  He favors a lot of causes that emphasize getting government out of the decision-making of individuals, such as gay marriage, marijuana legalization, and the Second Amendment.  But he also favors some strictly progressive policies like universal healthcare and universal basic income.

If he does pack up and head to Texas between now and the election, it will be interesting to see how much he talks about his decision in political terms.

Below is the video of his discussion with his podcast guest about leaving California.