Good to see comedian Joe Rogan becoming a bit more prolific. After a brilliant debut in 2000 (I’m Gonna Be Dead Someday) and an under-the-radar followup (Live From The Belly Of The Beast) the next Spring, almost seven years passed before new material was released. Talking Monkeys In Space makes three releases in the past four years, and I’m hoping he keeps punching – while not classics, there’s enough solid material to recommend them, and Rogan’s style is engagingly honest and approachable.
Joe’s material isn’t going to break any new barriers; the bulk of it here deals with getting off, getting high and the magnificence of daily life when those two urges are properly satisfied. As a new father, he’s also seeing the circle of life come full circle, which leads to some funny revelations but also some uninspired bits about breast milk. I found his bits on evolution and psychedelics to be the (ahem) high point of the show; some of my favorite comics (Doug Stanhope, Bill Hicks) are psychic explorers and their material is so much better for it.
The length of the actual set is alarmingly short, but he does follow up by placing a couple of mikes in the audience for a Q&A session. Must admit that I cringed at the thought, dreading a series of ridiculous questions about Fear Factor and the UFC, two things I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about. But Joe rips into each audience member in clever and playful ways, both mocking their (mostly) inane questions and yet answering them with great appreciation. It’s obvious that the crowd has great affection and loyalty to him, and when an audience has your back no matter what, you can be free to do anything.
What’s endearing about Rogan is that he has no delusions about being a “star”. He readily admits that his exposure on television has given him the opportunity to have a career in comedy, whether a good experience like NewsRadio or a ridiculous paycheck like Fear Factor. There’s a great moment when someone asks him about getting started in the business and he discusses the long and painful road of failing miserably to learn from your mistakes. It’s no wonder that comics who rip others off get under his skin so much.
Listen to clips at Amazon
Joe Rogan podcast