Brandon Shamy / ONE37pm
By: Bo Templin
Published Nov 24, 2020
You wanna go on a trip? Check out some of the first few episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience. One of the top comments you will see when you watch his first episode with Brian Redban is, “this feels like watching cavemen discover fire.” And it is so true. Rogan couldn’t have known what the show would become. In a sincere moment early in the show, Rogan makes an endearing comment about how they had over 100 live viewers and felt pressure to be entertaining.
There’s a lesson to be learned there: the idea of creating, over and over, and simply improving with reps. But that isn’t what this article is about. This article is about what the Joe Rogan Experience has become. So we put together the definitive guide to Joe Rogan's best podcast episodes. Enjoy.
1. Episode #1411-Robert Downey Jr.-
No one gets RDJ to do an hour long sit down. I think the combination of the platform and the duo’s shared experiences with martial arts led to them doing the podcast. What made this episode so fun was the period during which it was recorded in each of the two rockstars’ lives. RDJ had just finished Avengers Endgame and it was a time in his career where there seemed to be uncertainty. He went into great detail about the movie making process for those larger budget projects. Rogan’s show was already the number one podcast in the world, and it seemed as if he was nearing a deal with one of the major platforms, which turned out to be Spotify. The two of them had both reached the peak of the mountain and to hear their stories about the journey to the top was outstanding.
2. Episode #1315-Bob Lazar
Space, aliens, and conspiracy theories.
It’s no secret that Joe is a sucker for a good UFO sighting story. I think with a lot of Joe’s conspiracy theory friends/guests, you’re forced to ask the question: “just how legit is this guy?”
Rogan’s episode with Lazar is no different. The stories of UFO sightings captured the imagination of millions, but also warranted questioning.
What makes this episode so fantastic is that, even if you are a skeptic, Lazar speaks with so much conviction, it’s hard not to believe him. The details are so specific and he doesn’t skip a beat when asked a question regarding the validity of his story. The episode aired right before the craze of his documentary, Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers.
3. Episode #990-Jamie Foxx
Something I really enjoy about the Joe Rogan Experience is deciphering how well he knows a guest and their past. One of the reasons I enjoyed the Jamie Foxx episode is that the two of them both rose from the concrete of the Los Angeles comedy scene. They’re around the same age and the audience can clearly tell that the two shared similar experiences back in the day.
The two have also both survived 20 plus years in the industry. They break down how things have changed since when they started. Foxx tells a great story about meeting Chris Brown for the first time. He recalls how he initially questioned Brown’s dancing skills, before quickly being silenced by a backflip in the middle of the dance floor.
One of the best parts of the episode is when the two of them discuss the film, Tropic Thunder. They ask the question, “could this movie be made today?” The answer is no. However, the two of them explain why the film worked at the time it was released. They survived the evolving nature of the comedy industry, so to hear their perspectives on the changes they had seen was immensely interesting.
4. Episode #1306-Wiz Khalifa
For the few people who do not listen to Rogan’s podcast, they assume that it’s Rogan and a guest getting high and talking about their love for marijuana. Throw in some MMA, conspiracy theories, and well… yeah that’s the jist. But that’s also why fans love the show so much. It isn’t drowning in the glamour that you see in a lot of late night television.
The episode with Wiz is the perfect example of this phenomenon. Very rarely do we get to see these entertainers in this unfiltered, more genuine setting. Many of the episodes on the show can cover intense topics or difficult conversations; listening to Wiz and Joe get high and laugh will bring a smile to anyone’s face.
5. Episode #1488-Andrew Schulz & Charlamagne tha God
Despite having two different styles and very little content overlap, Joe Rogan and Charlamagne Tha God are two juggernauts in the radio/podcasting industry. Charlamagne Tha God’s The Breakfast Club is known for asking brash or insensitive questions.
The other guest on this episode is Charlamagne’s podcast co-host, Andrew Schulz. The proud New Yorker has proven himself to be one of the best contributors in comedy today. And Joe took notice.
Schulz originally started on MTV’s Guy Code before transitioning to podcasting. A few years ago, Schulz pitched a comedy special to all the major networks. The project was his baby. And they all turned him down.
Instead of crying, making excuses, or stalling, he carved his own path. He listened to the audience. In his experiences, people were losing interest in full hour long specials. Instead, they were looking for easy, short and consumable content.
This led to Schulz posting a lot of his comedy clips on youtube. What he found was that people would watch one two-minute video, but then have a desire to continue watching more. In doing so, he has completely reshaped the content landscape for up and coming comedians.
6. Episode #1470-Elon Musk
Ok. Full transparency? I didn’t want to include this one. Yeah, I know, I know. “But it’s Elon Musk!” For a guests list, he’s a worthy inclusion. However, Musk can be difficult to listen to. His thoughts can be unclear and while he’s a brilliant mind, listening to him explain his thoughts can be a mission.
I had to be rational, however. Joe got Elon to hit a blunt. It is one of the greatest memes in the history of the internet. Those two minutes alone justify placing Musk’s first appearance on the show in this list.
Perhaps the second best moment of the discussion is when Musk explains that people would not like to be him. He hints that he views his intelligence as a curse and not as the gift that Rogan—and others—seem to think it is.
7. Episode #1474-Dr. Rhonda Patrick
Most of the entries on this list are somewhat expected. They are big names with big stories. That’s what has caught the attention of so many JRE fans.
However, Rogan’s podcast is rooted in great conversation from insightful guests. And you will be hard-pressed to find a guest that is more informational and educational than Dr. Rhonda Patrick.
Patrick has been a guest on numerous occasions, going all the way back to 2014.
Dr. Patrick works in biomedical science and is an expert on nutritional health. Listeners will learn more from her appearances on Rogan’s show than they might in a text book. She is able to explain complex matter in a simple, digestible way.
In this specific episode, her and Rogan look at the health benefits of using the sauna, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. Since then, Rogan has been a devout believer in the benefits of the sauna.
This episode is delightful, but really every one of her appearances is. You can’t go wrong with any one of them.
8. Episode #1532-Mike Tyson
It would be difficult to provide a list of must-listen episodes of Rogan’s show without mentioning a combat sports guest.
Who better than “Iron” Mike Tyson? This episode is more than the token “fighting” episode. The legend of Tyson’s life seems to grow by the day, and his time with Rogan helped to answer some questions surrounding what is and isn’t real.
Tyson dishes it all out. He even provides details on acquiring the tigers.
His story about handing a stranger a Bentley is one of the most outrageous things you will ever hear. This episode is absolutely flooded with moments when you think: “only Tyson.”
Tyson appeared on the show less than a year later and there was a pretty evident change in demeanor. In his first appearance, he seemed to have let go of his fighting days. It felt as if he had moved on from that life, which brought him so many ups and downs. When he returned to the show, he was promoting his exhibition bout with Roy Jones Jr. and you could hear the fire in his voice.
Another fun dynamic of this episode is Tyson’s new business venture, Tyson Ranch. In the last few years, Tyson has built a cannabis empire and promoted the business on JRE. The two of them discuss how marijuana has benefits in each of their lives, with Tyson saying that he doesn’t like the aggressive nature of his sober self. The two of them agreed to be nicer human beings while under the influence of cannabis.
This episode also gets bonus points for featuring Tom Segura, even if it is a brief appearance.
9. Episode #1491-Bill Burr
Since the very beginning, Bill Burr has been there for fans of Rogan. He’s been a guest of the show over five times, twice in the first 100 episodes. The two comics are both from Boston and built from the rugged, tough cloth.
As is the case with many of the comics that appear on JRE, don’t let Burr’s jokes fool you. He is an incredibly intelligent individual who is very self-aware about his place in the world.
Although the episode may feature outdated takes on covid-19, the entertainment value is still sky high.
The prime example of this is when Joe questions Burr’s stance on mandating masks.
“Let’s not start this Joe.”
“Let’s start it.”
“Let’s not start this bullshit. I’m not gonna sit here with no medical degree, talk to you who has no medical degree. Smoking this cigar and an American flag in the background, acting like we know what is up better than the CDC… All I do is I watch the news once every two weeks, mask or no mask. Oh, masks?”
With Rogan’s platform being so outrageously popular, some of the guests are unwilling to question or debate with him. That is not the case with Burr. Burr is Burr, unapologetically. He is one of the best guests for that reason.
10. Episode #1554-Kanye West
Alright fine. We’ll put it on the list.
In a similar sense to the Musk episodes, listening to Kanye West converse can be incredibly difficult. He takes time, a lot of pauses, and will every so often go on a tangent that can be hard to follow.
Ultimately though, this episode had received so much attention prior to the release. People were begging for this to happen. In recent years, discussion around West has often been unrelated to music.
To be fair, the podcast does not include much from Rogan. West takes up so much time to create and distribute his thoughts, Rogan has very little time to add anything before they need to move on in the conversation.
Some credit needs to be given to both Rogan and West for tackling the topics that they do. West explains his thoughts on the status of the music industry and record labels. He questions their morality and intentions. By the end of the conversation, Rogan is asking West about his potential as a political player. All in all, if you enjoy Kanye’s music, then you will more than likely enjoy his appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience.
11. Episode #717-Steve-O
12. Episode #1529-Whitney Cummings
13. Episode #1527-David Blaine
14. Episode #1567-Donnell Rawlings & Dave Chappelle
15. Episode #78-Bernie Sanders
16. Sober October 1 Recap: Ari Shaffir, Bert Kreischer & Tom Segura
17. Episode #1536-Edward Snowden
18. Episode #39-Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
19. Episode #692-Jay Leno
20. Episode #919-Neil deGrasse Tyson
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