Joe Rogan’s Best Podcast Episodes That Fans and Haters Need to Listen To

Joe Rogan launched his eponymous podcast — the Joe Rogan Experience, a name inspired by The Jimi Hendrix Experience — way back in 2009. This year brought Rogan’s voice into millions of more homes thanks to an exclusive $100-million Spotify deal

Over the years, Rogan has interviewed everyone from major political figures (e.g. Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, etc.) to Hollywood celebrities (e.g. Kevin Hart, Guy Ritchie, etc.). As of November 2020, he’s amassed more than 1,500 episodes.

Working through this backlog would take you countless hours, but audiences and critics have highlighted some of the best podcast episodes to start with whether you want to be entertained, inspired, or even outraged.  

Joe Rogan’s journey from comedy to podcasting

Joe Rogan at a UFC event.
Joe Rogan | Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

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Rogan’s first foray into national media was in the mid-1990s on MTV’s Half-Hour Comedy Hour, reports Blackbelt Magazine. Throughout the ’90s and early ’00s, Rogan took on various comedy roles in TV and radio before landing a major promotional gig with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

This elevated role in national media garnered a lot of public attention. Rogan leveraged his increasing popularity and landed prominent TV roles, including being the host of NBC’s Fear Factor.

Never one to hold back his opinion, Rogan decided to create a podcast. In December 2009, Rogan recorded his first episode, and told Rolling Stone that recording the podcast has been a part of his own personal evolution.

In less than a year, Highbeam reported that Rogan’s podcast had hit the top 100 in Apple iTunes’ podcast charts. And Rogan’s podcasting success has only grown since then.

‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ and its $100-million controversies 

Joe Rogan at The Ice House Comedy Club on November 1, 2017 in Pasadena, California.
Joe Rogan | Michael Schwartz/WireImage

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The Joe Rogan Experience was originally released as a streaming broadcast on Ustream. While the general format hasn’t changed  — today, Rogan still sits down with a guest and invites the audience into an unfiltered, rambling conversation about the day’s big topics  — the platform and Rogan’s reach has evolved considerably.

Back in 2015, the Inquisitr found that more than 11 million people listened to The Joe Rogan Experience regularly. By 2019, Forbes was reporting that the podcast was downloaded more than 190 million times a month.

That considerable clout and audience impact led Spotify to give Rogan a $100-million deal where The Joe Rogan Experience was made available exclusively on the streaming giant’s apps and website.

As Rogan and his podcast grew, so did the controversies surrounding his podcast. Some of his most controversial episodes have highlighted conspiracy theorists or people who hold what some might call extreme political views. Such past guests include individuals like Alex Jones and David Seaman.

But it’s not just the guests who’ve proven controversial. For example, according to Entertainment Weekly, a recently resurfaced episode included content that made light of non-consensual sex. CNN reports that some of Rogan’s content has proven so controversial that Spotify pulled down some of Rogan’s episodes, and Spotify’s own employees are calling for a change.

The three best ‘Joe Rogan Experience’ episodes for new fans to explore

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According to JRE Library, it would take you 182 days of listening to The Joe Rogan Experience 24/7 before you got caught up with everything that Rogan has produced.

If you’re new to the Joe Rogan universe, three specific episodes give you a taste of what to expect.

1. Gary Vaynerchuk (Episode 910)

Forbes named this one of the greatest episodes in any podcast on the market. Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur and business expert. In this episode, he talks about the future of technology, but also dives into the importance of self-awareness, gratitude and positive thinking.

2. Elon Musk (Episode 1169)

Cultr ranks this episode as Rogan’s #1 hit (based specifically on viewer popularity). Musk, the business magnate behind Tesla and SpaceX, discusses artificial intelligence and simulation. During the recording, Musk also smokes cannabis. According to Green Entrepreneur, Musk’s actions on Rogan’s podcast caused the value of Tesla stock to plummet by 9%.

3. Kanye West (Episode 1154)

Rogan first invited West onto his podcast in 2018, but the rapper-cum-presidential candidate didn’t appear until October 2020. Esquire lists this as the ultimate episode of The Joe Rogan Experience due to its eye-opening peek into West’s health and political aspirations.