Lex Fridman Podcast - #300 - Joe Rogan: Comedy, Controversy, Aliens, UFOs, Putin, CIA, and Freedom

The following is a conversation with Joe Rogan,

his second time on this podcast.

He has inspired me for many years with his conversations

to be a better and kinder person

and has now been doing so as a friend.

There’s no one I would rather talk to

on this 300th episode of this podcast on the 4th of July,

both the anniversary of this country’s

declaration of independence

and the anniversary of my immigrating here

to the United States.

A silly kid who couldn’t speak English

and could never imagine that he will be so damn lucky

as to live the life I’ve lived

and to feel the love I felt

from the amazing people along the way.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I love you all.

This is the Lex Friedman podcast.

To support it, please check out our sponsors

in the description.

And now, dear friends, here’s Joe Rogan.

Charles Bukowski said something in a poem called Style

about art.

He defined art saying style is the answer to everything,

a fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing.

To do a dull thing with style is preferable

to doing a dangerous thing without it.

To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.

What do you think he meant by that?

Do you agree with this?

A dangerous thing with style is art.

He said bullfighting can be art, boxing can be art,

loving can be art.

Have you ever made love and it was art?

No, okay, I’m not asking.

Every time, bro.

Opening a can of sardines can be art.

I think there’s something to that.

Yeah, I think, I call the way people live life art.

Like I wrote a foreword to my friend,

Cameron Haynes’s book, which is right now

the number one selling audio book in the world.

And one of the things that I said was that

he practices an art that very few people appreciate

and it’s the art of the maximized life.

And that the discipline that he displays in his life

and through his practices and all the things that he does,

it’s so difficult to live the way he lives

that for someone like me who understands it

and knows what he’s doing and appreciates it

and appreciates how insanely difficult it is

to have a full time job and run ultra marathons,

get up at four o clock in the morning,

run a full marathon before work.

Like that’s the kind of shit that he does

when he’s training for these 240 mile runs,

at the same time being like a father, a husband,

having this full time job,

also being the best bow hunter on earth, lifting weights.

It’s like, how does a person do this?

So in a way, discipline is art too.

Yes, discipline is art.

Yeah, I think it is, because it’s beautiful for me to see.

When I see someone who’s really truly disciplined,

who like a David Goggins,

someone who just like truly maximizes the grind,

I feel like there’s an art to that.

And there’s an art to kindness.

Like there’s people that are really kind and really sweet

and when I’m around them, it’s beautiful.

It’s like there’s an art to them.

No matter what.


They still, they got,

the world can throw a bunch of shit at you,

but through all of that.

Yeah, some people are just great at it.

And it’s a thing that you learn how to do.

And it’s pleasing for other people to see.

And that I think is where the art is.

Well, I think Bukowski also said,

and I’m just a Bukowski quote generator today.

I love him.

I love him very much too.

He’s a dark and troubled and fascinating and a weird person,

like Hunter S. Thompson.

He said, what matters most

is how you walk through the fire, I think.

So there’s a bit of the Ken Haines in that too,

David Goggins in that too.

What do you think he meant by that?

Well, how you walk through the fire.

I mean, you can walk through the fire

complaining along the way,

or you can walk through the fire

and create an example for everyone else

so that the trials and tribulations of their own lives

seem trivial because they’re comparing themselves

to the way you handle things,

or the way you handle things with grace and dignity

and discipline can show other people

that they can handle their own life this way.

And there’s beauty in that, there really is.

And there’s so much inspiration

to be gathered from other people

if you’re a charitable person,

if you’re charitable and compassionate

and you can look at people,

even people that I don’t like,

I try to look at the best aspects

of how they live their life

and recognize those aspects, admire them,

give them credit for it.

There’s something that we can all get out of

watching the way other people live their lives.

So I got a chance to see you walk through the fire

a little bit privately and publicly this year in January.

I gotta ask you about that.

So there’s like generic conversations

about sort of cancel culture and all those kinds of things.

But as a human being, this to me is fascinating.

Sort of there’s the N word highlight video,

there’s the criticism of the different guests,

whatever the side is on the COVID pandemic.

And you, I mean, there’s a mass amount of attack on you.

Outside of being a public persona,

outside of being a comedian, podcaster,

you’re also a human being.

So how did you survive that?

How did you sort of walk through that fire?

Because you seem to do it with grace.

I used mushrooms.

That was one way I did it.


What’s your, as Andrew Huberman would say,

what was your protocol?

I took, it was probably less than a gram every day.

Every day?


And I did a lot of like really hard working out.

But also, I mean, there’s a great benefit

to going through anything difficult.

And if you’re aware, like in advance and during,

like anything that’s gonna happen

that’s very difficult and troubling,

the great benefit is it gives you an opportunity to grow,

gives you an opportunity to express yourself

under pressure, to show your character,

to show who you truly are.

And it gives you an opportunity to see

how you handle a very difficult situation.

It also was fascinating as a person

that’s involved in media, right?

Because what we’re doing right now is media,

even though it seems, like podcasts seem

like we’re just having a conversation, right?

And they are, and in that sense,

it’s kind of the purest form of media

because what you’re doing is you’re doing it

without any fanfare, you’re doing it without any,

there’s no executives looming over your head

or network or big meetings about ratings

or any of that stuff, but it is media.

But what I got to see is the wiring under the machine

of how the rest of media would try to take me out.

And like when CNN would just be playing things

over and over and back and forth, it was wild to watch.

What was also wild to watch was people’s responses

because I gained two million subscribers during that time.

Like the podcast never got bigger.

It just kept growing, it had never been bigger

than it had been at the end of all of it.

It just made it bigger.

And ultimately, if you’ve fucked up in the past

or made mistakes or done something wrong,

that gives you an opportunity to discuss those things

and to say, to apologize if you feel the need to apologize

and also to just address it.

And so people under that kind of pressure,

it’s an opportunity for them to understand

how you think about things honestly,

how you actually honestly think about things.

And there’s no more honesty that you get out of a person

than when that person is under extreme duress.

So I think in that sense, I mean, it’s horrible to say

that it’s a benefit, that it’s a good thing

that it happened, but it was a benefit.

Can you see how it can break a person?


I’ve gotten the chance to experience small attacks

here and there, ones that get to the core of things.

Like even just talking about Russia and Ukraine,

to Stephen Calkin or Oliver Stone,

looking at different perspectives,

you gain, for me, feeling like a sizable number of people

who really don’t like you and say things about you

that may be cut deep for a reason I don’t understand why.

It’s just my own psychology.

Well, it’s also because you can’t defend yourself

because they’re saying it and you’re not there

and you don’t have any opportunity for a rebuttal.

And if you do have a rebuttal, you’re doing it publicly

and you’re opening it up to the whole world to chime in.

And there’s a general tendency that people have

towards negativity when they’re interacting

with strangers online,

especially about controversial subjects.

And even if it’s only 10% of the people, it’s one out of 10.

That’s a lot.

That’s a lot of negativity when you’re dealing

with thousands and thousands of tweets.

Yeah, and I think,

maybe I’m just a very self critical person,

but I hear their words and I probably,

somewhere deep inside, see the truth in the criticism,

in some aspect of the criticism, and that’s why it hurts.

But it’s in one aspect of you.


But when you’re reading it, it’s so,

it’s boiled down to this one thing,

as if that one thing defines you totally.

Like if you’ve made a mistake,

if you’ve said something that you shouldn’t have said,

or if you said something and maybe you should have

considered it more carefully,

given the gravity of the situation,

that’s just a part of being a person.

And it’s also part of being a person where you’re

communicating with things publicly in real time,

thinking out loud, which is what we do.

It’s complex and most people don’t do it.

And you’re gonna have these,

you’re gonna have genuine hot takes

where people just see what you said

and go, why did he say that?

Fuck him.

He doesn’t know anything about, he doesn’t live in Ukraine.

It’s like, there’s people that are gonna have takes

on that in that way.

And then there’s also gonna be these disingenuous people

who just use any kind of controversial topic or subject

as an opportunity for them to get clicks or views.

But the number of those people can be quite large.

Quite large.

And so, going back to,

do you think it can destroy a person?

Because I kind of worry about this.

And you’re, in many ways, but in this way, an inspiration

that it didn’t seem to have destroyed you.

But is that?

I kept doing shows, I kept doing standup.

I ignored everything.

I didn’t read any of it.

So it is possible to just?

100%, yes.


I ignored it all.

But you have like.

I knew it was there.

Like your family didn’t bring it up.

My family was very aware of it.

My wife was aware of it.

What was the conversation like?

If your wife is aware of it, is there like a rule?

Pretend it’s not happening.


Just like.

Well, I tell her, don’t ever read.

Past the green beans.


I don’t ever let her like read negative articles to me.

You know, I don’t want them.

I don’t, he care.

I go, that’s a person’s opinion.

You take a person’s opinion, you write it down.

Doesn’t give it any more relevance.

Like that person, you know, could have had that opinion in silence.

They could have had it with some friends at dinner.

They don’t like me, whatever.

I don’t want to read it.

I don’t want to absorb it.

I don’t even know them, especially if I’m not there.

And especially if it’s some biased and it’s it’s not an objective opinion of me.

It’s this, you know, they have a narrative and they want to stick to that narrative

and they want to write an article and they piece it all together, make you a piece of shit.

And that’s their prerogative.

They’re completely out to do that.

But I know I shouldn’t absorb that.

I shouldn’t take that in.

You’re not supposed to be taking in the opinion of the world.

You’re supposed to be taking in the opinion of small groups of people that you encounter so that you get an understanding of how you make them feel.

And then maybe you say to yourself, maybe I come across too rude or maybe I come across too insensitive or maybe maybe I could do better in this way or that way.

That’s how we sort of shape our personalities and it’s how we we develop our social skills.

But when the people don’t know you and they have this like distorted narrative of you and, you know, there’s fucking millions of people.

There’s so many people.

You can’t be saying, you know, actually, I mean, millions of people that are like communicating about something like during the height of the, you know, the attempt to cancel me or whatever that is.

I don’t know how many people were involved in that.

People take this kind of stuff seriously.

But the problem is the false narratives take hold and then you have meetings, you have groups, you have it builds on top of each other and there’s this outrage and then it reaches you at some point and it can just have these destructive effects.

It can, but it also sometimes doesn’t.

And in my case, it didn’t.

It didn’t work.

What lessons did you draw from that?

Mushrooms, exercise.

Mushrooms and exercise, exercise is critical.

So I don’t think the mushrooms by themselves would have worked.

But that’s the thing that I use for everything is the brutal exercise.

Like my exercise routines are horrible.

And because of that, everything else is easier.

I create my own bullshit and my own bullshit is so much harder.

And it’s not just that.

It’s also sauna and cold plunge and these torture sessions.

They in enduring those when you endure those, it makes enduring other things much easier.

And it’s also an understanding of what’s happening.

Like you have to know, like media, you have to understand, like what the hot take, you know, YouTube, social media, podcast, ecosphere is doing.

Like if they’re talking about, you know, Lex Friedman said this and we have to comment on that and, you know, Lex gets canceled in all capital letters on a YouTube clip.

And if you you watch that, you’re fucking crazy.

What are you doing, absorbing all this negativity?

It’s not good for you.

You are you, you know, you and you know, generally, if you’ve made a mistake, you know, generally, if people are upset with you.

You posted this awesome video on your Instagram of a woman who was being interviewed in 19, late 1920s, maybe.

Yes. Yeah.

And she’s close to 100 years old.

So she’s lived through the Civil War, through World War One.

She was at the time living through the early days of the Great Depression.

So I was just looking back, you know, what have we as a human civilization in recent times survived, especially in the United States?

You’re talking about the two world wars in the 20th century, the Great Depression, the Spanish food, the pandemic at the beginning of the 20th century.

Yeah. What do we do in the United States?

9 11. If you think of what are the traumatic events that shook our world, it’s 9 11.

It made us rethink our place in the world.

The pandemic pandemic is a huge one is one of the bigger ones, because it also accelerated and exacerbated

our anxiety, which people have a certain level of anxiety already, especially sedentary people.

They have a very high level of anxiety already because I don’t think they’re they’re giving their body what it what it needs.

I don’t think they’re you know, your body has certain requirements in terms of movement.

And when you deny your body those requirements, I think there’s like a general level of anxiety that exists in almost everyone.

And then you have people obviously that have mental health issues and that also exacerbates the anxiety.

The lockdown exacerbated the anxiety, losing loved ones to the pandemic, exacerbated anxiety.

And then there was the the division that the different schools of thought, the people that were never going to get vaccinated no matter what.

I ain’t trusting it. People thought there was microchips in there.

People that thought that, you know, Fauci’s the demon and there’s there was a lot.

And there’s also like political leanings.

The right wing people tended to not want to be vaccinated, whereas the left wing people, for whatever reason, all of a sudden are trusting pharmaceutical companies like explicitly.

It was weird. It was a weird time.

And I think over time, as it’s going to as it gets analyzed and we break it down, it’s going to be one of the weirder moments for shaping human culture.

And unfortunately for throwing gasoline on this already burning fire of, you know, of conflict between the various factions of of thought in this country.

Just it’s already a weird time, you know, post Trump, like the Trump era is also going to be one of the weirder times.

When when people look back historically about the division in this country, he’s such a polarizing figure that so many people felt like.

They could abandon their own ethics and morals and principles just to attack him and anybody who supports him because he is an existential threat to democracy itself.

But don’t you think it’s not a cause, but maybe like a symptom, like it’s going to get you said it got real weird.

Maybe it’s going to get weirder. Yeah, I think it’s going to get weirder.

He’s going to run again. You think he wins? Well, he’s running against a dead man.

You know, I mean, Biden shakes hands with people that aren’t even there when he gets off stage.

I think he’s seeing ghosts. Yeah. You see him on Jimmy Kimmel the other day? No. Well, he was just rambling.

I mean, he’s if he was anyone else, if he was a Republican, if that was Donald Trump doing that, every fucking talk show would be screaming for him to be off the air.

And by the way, I’m not a Trump supporter in any way, shape or form.

I’ve had the opportunity to have him on my show more than once. I’ve said no every time.

I don’t want to help him. I’m not interested in helping. The night is still young.

We’ll see if I have him on the night is still young. I think I’ll have him on. I think you’ll have him on. Really?

Why do you think that? Because you’ll have Putin on. And you’re competitive as fuck.

No, I think ultimately, I mean, you had you’ve had a lot of people that I think you might you may otherwise be skeptical.

Would I have a good conversation, which I think is your metric. You don’t care about politics.

So can I have a good conversation? And I think you had like people like Kanye on, for example, and you had a great conversation with him.

I think you I think he is an artist, but Kanye doing well or not doing well doesn’t change the course of our country.

Yeah, but, you know, do you really bear the responsibility of the course of our country based on a conversation?

I think you can revitalize and rehabilitate someone’s image in a way that is pretty shocking.

Look at the way people look at Alex Jones now, because Alex Jones has been on my podcast a few times.

Yeah. How do they which direction?

The people that have watched those podcasts think he’s hilarious.

And they think that he definitely fucked up with that whole Sandy Hook thing.

But he’s right more than he’s wrong. And he’s not an evil guy.

He’s just a guy who’s had some psychotic breaks in his life. He’s had some genuine mental health issues that he’s addressed.

He’s had some serious bouts of alcoholism, some serious bouts of substance abuse, and they’ve contributed to some very poor thinking.

But if you know the guy, if you get to know him like I have, I’ve known him for more than 20 years.

And if you know him on podcasts, you realize like he is genuinely trying to unearth some things that are genuinely disturbing for most people.

Like this is a guy that was telling me about Epstein’s Island fucking decade ago.

At least he was telling me about I was like, what you’re telling me?

There’s a place where they bring elites to compromise them with underage girls and they film them.

Really? Like what? Cut the fuck out here.

Like, no, President Clinton’s been there. Everyone’s been there.

Like, but it sounds like nonsense.

And not only is it true, but people keep getting fucking murdered for it. Did you see that latest Clinton adviser that got murdered about it?

Yep. Yeah.

Hung with an extension cord, shot himself in the chest 30 miles from his house, and they’re calling it a suicide.

And now even Elon Musk is asking, where’s the clientele list?

Yeah, we should we should probably see who’s been to that island.

Yeah, we should probably see who’s been to that island.

And there’s probably more of those kind of things out there that haven’t been exposed.

Yeah, but sort of to push back in you, you had those conversations with Alex Jones.

Wouldn’t you be able to have the same kind of conversation with Donald Trump?

That’s the problem.

Reveal. No, it’s not the problem.

You revealed that Alex Jones is a human being.

Yeah, he’s fucked up. He has demons in his head.

He’s obviously chaotic all over the place, but there’s some wisdom to the perspective he takes on the world.

Even though he is often full of shit, he is able to predict certain things that very few people are willing to bring up.

So isn’t Trump the same way?

Fucked up person, egomaniac, whatever personality things you can talk about.

Isn’t it worthwhile to lay it out?

Like, who’s going to, if you listen to interviews of Trump, who has the balls to call him out on this bullshit?

Chris Wallace did.

No, calling out somebody on their bullshit is easy when you’re just being adversarial.

But as a person who is genuinely and pathetically trying to understand, I think you’re really good at that.

Like, you pull them in.

I don’t know if he would genuinely be there.

You know what I’m saying?

Like, I think he would be putting on a performance.

You don’t think he can break through that in like 30 minutes?

I’d need more time than that.

And he doesn’t do any drugs.

That’s the thing about Alex.

You can get Alex high, get him drunk, and he’ll start talking about interdimensional child molesters.


You know, and then you get the real Alex.

Or maybe you have somebody else on as well to introduce chaos, like Alex.

No, no, no, no.

You have to be one of them.

I would have to be just me and him.

I would have to, that would be a focused thing.

I would have to, like, really take time with Trump.

But also, I’m not well versed enough politically to know all of the corruption that’s been alleged

and to understand what the whole Russiagate stuff, what’s real.

Like, how much of it, it’s clear that there is more than one organization that’s involved

in communicating with Russia before the 2016 election.

So it’s pretty clear that the Clinton administration was involved.

It’s pretty clear that the Trump administration had some communication with some people in Russia.

It’s pretty clear that Hunter Biden had some very suspicious dealings in Ukraine.

And there’s a lot going on there, man.

And it’s hard for anybody to parse.

It’s really hard for anybody, and especially to have an objective assessment of exactly what’s going on.

And then to be able to do that and broadcast it publicly.

That’s quite a project.

And I think if you really want to do that correctly, it’s something that I would have to research for a long time.

And to really, really, and I don’t have that kind of time.

Not for, maybe for certain people that you’re really curious about.

Like, you have that kind of time for Bob Lazar.

Yes, yes.

But maybe not for Donald Trump.

No, that’s different.

Because Bob Lazar, what he’s talking about, I wanted to know, with the Bob Lazar thing,

I wanted to know, first of all, I want to be around him and see if I could smell bullshit.

Did you?



No, I didn’t, man.

That was what’s weird about it.

Not only did I not smell bullshit, I went over all of his interviews.

He hasn’t done a lot, but he’s done enough.

And he’s done them over the course of 30 plus years.

And it’s alarming how consistent his story is, which is really weird when you think about,

you’re talking about back engineering alien crafts and working on a top secret government

test site that’s carved into the side of a mountain to camouflage it from satellites.

It’s such a wacky story.

But the guy really did work at Los Alamos Labs.

He really is a propulsions expert.

He really is a scientist.

Did he really work on back engineering UFOs?

I don’t know.

But the way he described their motion is exactly like what’s been observed by some of these pilots

that have these videos that they’ve captured.

And I just love that, like, NASA, I’ve been hearing from a bunch of folks who are there

legitimately funding research.

And there’s people really taking this seriously of UFO sightings, investigating them.


Like, adding more and more sensors to collect data from just observing at higher and higher definitions.

It’s cool to finally see that.

And he was one of the early people, whether he’s full of shit or not, that kind of forced

people to start taking these topics seriously.

Or at least forced people to have conversations about them and maybe attempt to debunk them

because it seems so preposterous, but then get sucked down the rabbit hole and start going,

hmm, maybe.

We’ll fucking.

The thing is, like the Fermi paradox, like, where are they, right?

And when you take into account just the sheer raw numbers, the vast majority of people objectively

assume that there is life out there, the vast majority.

Well, if you really take into account what we understand about the universe itself, what we

understand about the concept of infinity, and the way Neil deGrasse Tyson has explained it to me,

is that not only are there life forms out there, but there’s you.

You are out there.

Infinity is so large that Lex Friedman exists, and doesn’t just exist, but exists an infinite

number of times, like the amount of interactions at cells and molecules.

The same exact interactions that have happened here on Earth have happened in the exact same

order an infinite number of times in the cosmos.

Well, first of all, it’s not certain that that’s true.

It’s possible.

Like Sean Carroll, you know, especially with quantum mechanics, based on a certain interpretation

of quantum mechanics, that’s very possible.

But the question is, can you access those universes?


How far away are they?

The more sort of specific, practical question is, this local pocket of the universe,

our galaxy, or our neighboring galaxies, are there aliens there?

What do they look like?

Are they, so you can have this panspermia idea, where a much larger, like daddy civilization,

like rolled by and just planted a few aliens at a similar time.

Like Prometheus.

Yes, a different, you know, throughout the galaxy.

And those are the ones we might be interacting with.

They’re all kind of dumb as we are relatively, you know, maybe a few million years apart.

And then those are the ones we’re interacting with.

And then we have a chance to actually connect with them and communicate with them.

Or it could be like much more wide open.

And you have these gigantic alien civilizations that are expanding very, very quickly.

And the interesting thing is when you look up at the sky and you see the stars, that’s

light from those stars.

We might not be seeing the alien civilizations until they’re already here, meaning like you

start expanding, once you get really good at expanding, you’re going to be expanding

very close to the speed of light.

So right now we don’t see much in the sky, but there could be one day we wake up and

it’s just like everywhere and they’re here.


Because the amount of time the light takes to reach us.

Yeah, and then the thing that I’ve been really fascinated by is these, you know,

these alternative forms of transportation that they’re discussing, like the ability

to harness wormholes and the ability to do things that a type three civilization is capable


I had Michio Kaku on my podcast recently.


Love that guy.

He’s so good at taking extremely complex concepts and boiling them down for digestion.

And, you know, and saying them in a way that other people can appreciate and not being

hesitant about saying wild, crazy shit that’s out there, but grounded in what’s actually


Yeah, he’s all in on this UFO phenomenon.

Now he’s like, now the burden of proof is to people for people to come up with some

sort of a conventional explanation for these things.

He goes, because these things are defying all the concepts of physics that we currently

know in terms of what our capabilities are and propulsion systems and so many other things

that, you know, what we know about what current science is capable of reproducing.

As far as what we know, the problem is like these military projects that are top secret,

like how much money do they have?

They have a lot of money.

Like, but is it possible?

And maybe you could speak to this.

Is it possible that there could be some propulsion systems that have been developed and implemented

that are far beyond just the simple burning of rocket fuel, pushing the fire out the back,

which forces the rocket at extreme speeds forward.

That’s something that does harness gravity, something that can distort space and time

and can make travel from one point to another like preposterously fast.

Well, not only is it possible, I think it’s likely that that kind of stuff would be kept

a secret.


It’s just everything you see about these, about the way either if it’s contractors

like Lockheed Martin or if it’s DOD, the actual departments of defense, they operate

in complete secrecy.

Just even looking at the history of the stealth fighter, just even stealth technology was

kept a secret for a very, very long time and not until you’re ready to use it and need

to use it, does it become public and not officially public.

It just is being detected out in the wild.

So there’s going to be a process where you’re secretly testing it and that might creep up,

which is maybe what we’re seeing.

And then it’s waiting for the next big war, the next big reason to use the thing.


And so, yeah, there’s definitely technologies in that.

There might not be propulsion technologies.

There could be AI surveillance technologies.

There could be different kinds of stealth drones.

It could be also in cyberspace like cyber war weapons, all that kind of stuff.

They’re obviously going to be kept secret.

Yeah, I’m very skeptical lately.

And the reason why I’m skeptical is the government keeps talking about it.

The Pentagon keeps talking about it.

NASA keeps talking about it.

In which direction are you skeptical?

I’m skeptical that they’re aliens.

I think most likely it’s a smoke screen.

And most likely these are some sort of like incredibly advanced drones that they’ve developed

that they want to pretend don’t exist.

That seems the more likely scenario.

Because otherwise, my take is like, what’s the benefit of them discussing these things?

What’s the benefit of them discussing these things openly?

These are, the way they described it, off world crafts, not made from this earth.


Why would they tell us that?

Unless there’s an imminent danger of us being invaded and they want to prepare people so

they don’t freak out as much.

You know, like maybe freak them out a little bit.

Say that publicly.

The New York Times article, the Pentagon discussing it, all these different things.

Test the waters.

Yeah, well, let people know that this is a thing or my take is like that.

I don’t think they do that.

I don’t think they tell us.

I think the government has a lot of contempt for the citizens.

I really do.

I think they have contempt for our intelligence.

They have contempt for our need to know things.

And I also think they think that they are running us.

It’s not we’re all in this together.

And the government works for the people.

And the government is of the people.

I don’t think they think that way.

Yeah, the basic idea is you can’t trust the populace, the government itself, because we’re

a bunch of idiots.

I think that’s accurate.

Well, they’re not wrong, but they’re also idiots, power hungry idiots.

Yeah, I don’t think everyone’s an idiot, but I think there are enough idiots that it becomes

a real problem if you’re completely honest about everything you do.

And you don’t want to let everybody weigh in about things that are incredibly complex

and that most people are ignorant of.

And on top of that, there’s this machine of intelligence that I’ve recently been reading

a lot about the KGB, about the FSB.

So several things sparked my curiosity.

So one, I’m traveling to Ukraine and to Moscow.

And because of that, I started to sort of ask practical questions of myself, just travel

and all those kinds of things.

So I started reading a lot about the KGB.

Jack Barsky has a book on this.

I talked to him.

And you start to realize, you probably looked into some of this, but you start to realize

the scale of surveillance, manipulation.

Now, a lot of them also talk about the incompetence of those organizations, the usual

bureaucracy creeps in.

But the point is, it seems like there’s no line they’re not willing to cross for the

purpose of gathering intelligence, for the purpose of controlling people in order to

gather intelligence.

Now, this is MI6, FSB.

There’s not much information about the FSB or the GRU, but the KGB.

So we’re always like 20 years behind or more on the actual information.

And so I started to wonder.

So I have not officially been contacted by any intelligence agency, but I started to

wonder, well, is there somebody I know that’s doing that, undercover CIA or undercover

FSB, undercover anything?

You probably do.

Have you asked yourself this question?

Yeah, for sure.

Yeah, people that have been on my podcast.

Yeah, for sure.

Do you think there was actually a guess that may have been?


Oh, man.

I would imagine.

Would you know?

I have suspicions.

Do you care?

Is this?

I mean, it depends on what they’re attempting to do, right?

Like if I felt like there was some deception involved and they were trying to use the podcast

to manipulate a narrative in a deceptive way to trick people into things, yeah, I would


But this is exactly what, those are the kind of things they do.

They do plant narratives.


I mean, I would imagine if you have the number one podcast in the world that people would

want to infiltrate that.

Yeah, there’s probably meetings in all major intelligence agencies about, okay, what are

the large platforms?

How do we spread the message?


Well, I mean, that’s the thing that really emerged when we’re talking about during my

cancellation, that there’s a clear, there’s no objective analysis of this in mainstream


There’s clear narratives that they’re trying to push forward to, whether it’s to promote

certain ideas or to diminish the power and reach of people who are mavericks or people

who aren’t connected to a system that you can’t compromise.

That’s where it gets dangerous, right?

Where it gets dangerous is when someone has the largest reach, but is also completely

detached and clearly is independent in the sense of independent thinking, has on whoever

he wants.

But your mind can still be manipulated.

I guess I can.

I mean, I guess everybody can be manipulated a certain way.

I manipulate my own mind, I’m sure too.

But I also spend a lot of time thinking about what I think.

You know, I don’t just accept things like the UFO thing, like I was all in for a while

and now I’m like, man, something smells fishy.

And then I’m thinking like, here’s my problem with the UFO thing.

I want it to be real so bad.

That’s my problem with it.

I’m such a sucker.

I want it to be real so bad, you know, and that’s a problem for me because I’m aware

of it.

And so then I stop and think about like, what is my desire for UFO truth to be exposed?

Well, it’s because it’s fun, you know, that’s what it is.

So I have a desire for it to be real.

I mean, I’ve talked to a bunch of folks about this.

So those with connection with DoD, and they do draw lines between people that are full

of shit and people who are not.

There’s a lot of people in the public sphere that they say are full of shit.

Yeah, for sure.

And then you have to kind of tell the difference.

Yeah, CNN, watch them talk.

Well, I mean, on the UFO topic, there’s certain individuals that are like, okay, they’re

just like using this.

In fact, like people who are not full of shit are often very quiet, which is why, you know,

even Bob Lazar is an interesting story because he was trying to be quiet for the longest


Well, he was worried about his own life, according to Bob, and that’s why he went public with


And initially, the first videos he did with George Knapp, they hit his identity.

Yeah, yeah.

And then he felt like that wasn’t enough.

And he really needed to expose his own identity just to protect his life, which is a great


You know, so you got to go, well, that seems so juicy.

I want to buy into it.

And that’s where I get nervous.

You don’t know.

You don’t know who to trust in this world.


How do you figure that out?

How do you figure out who to trust in your life?

You’re Joe Rogan.

A lot of people want to be close to you.

CIA agents, FSB agents, people that want to.

I’m friends with a former CIA agent, Mike Baker, who’s been on my podcast a bunch of


Allegedly former.


Think about that.

He’s air quotes, former.


Yeah, I don’t believe he’s former.

I’m sure he has some connection to him.

I also believe he’s a good guy, but I gain a lot of very intelligent and well informed

insights from him as to how things work.

And, you know, I think, yeah, I’m sure he doesn’t tell me everything about everything,

but he’s told me enough where I think I can understand things better from talking to him

about how the way, you know, the elves work under the machine.

What about friends?

How do you know if you can trust?

Well, most of my friends are old friends.


So time is the thing.


Like just going through shit together.


And also people that, you know, first of all, comics.

You can trust comics?


Comics are pretty trustworthy.

The good ones, the really good ones.

There’s not that many of us.

If there’s a thousand professional comics on earth, I’d be stunned.

I’d be stunned.

I don’t even think there’s a thousand like real professionals who you get booked all

the time, headline weekends at clubs and theaters and arenas.

And then there’s levels to that, right?

There’s like the guys who are middle acts who kind of like barely scraped by and then

like how many headliners are there?

How many like really funny headliners that I would say, you know, if you Lex, you tell

me you’re going to be in Cincinnati.

Hey, this person’s playing at this club.

Should I go see them?

I’d be like, you know, like how many people would I give the recommendation to?

And then how many people sell out theaters?

How many people sell out arenas?

How many people?

There’s not that fucking many.

So those people like at the levels of comedy where you do, you know, you’ve been doing

stand up for 20 years.

There’s a certain amount of honesty and a certain amount of understanding of each other

that we all have.

Oh, so that process of becoming a great comic is like humbling in a way.

Like Jiu Jitsu is humbling.

Very similar.

Like you’ve eaten so much shit that that somehow, even if you’re insane, even if you’re chaotic,

even in the way, even if you’re full of shit, you lie a lot, all those kinds of things,

underneath it, there’s a good human.

You could be surface bullshitter, but on important things, you’re trustworthy.


I mean, if you’re not, then people shy away from you.

And there are people like that, too, that are really successful, but that are what I

call islands.

I’ve talked to other comics about that, like you don’t want to be an island because there’s

these people that aren’t attached to the rest of the community and they’re doing well on

their own.

And usually they have like one opening act they bring with them on the road they’ve worked

with forever and they don’t have comedy friends.

And those people are miserable because they can’t relate.

Sometimes fame in itself is isolating.

So you have to actually do a lot of work and make sure you don’t, it doesn’t isolate you.

Because if you become successful, people start wanting stuff from you.

And then sometimes you want to push them away because of that, as opposed to connect with


Yeah, I don’t enjoy it when people want things from me.

It’s not fun.

You just ignore it.

Yeah, it’s fucking too heavy.

They want too much.

And it’s too much of a disproportionate relationship.

It’s too unbalanced.

Because there are people where you could tell that they’re working toward something.

They’re working towards an angle and they want to be close to you because you will benefit


And then there’s other people that are just, there’s not that many of us.

And so we all want to hang out together.

Like when I, one of the podcasts I love the most is this podcast I do called Protect Our


It’s a thing I do with Ari Shaffir, Shane Gillis and Mark Nolen.

It’s great.

It’s so fun because we just get obliterated and we talk so much shit.

Like there’s conversations after that podcast where I go, hey man, we got to cut that part

out because like Shane will go too far or go too crazy.

But we’re just making each other laugh and it’s just fun.

And it’s like that kind of camaraderie between real comics is very precious to me.

My favorite part of that is like the non sequitur stuff from Mark Norman.

And you guys get so trashed that you don’t even understand what the hell he’s talking


But it’s funny to the listener because he’s still on point.

That guy is sharp.

He’s so good.

Mitch Hedberg quality.


Well, he’s such a dedicated comic.

He loves comedy so much.

That’s one of the things I love about him.

He’s like comedy.

He gets excited.

He loves it.

As does Shane and as does Ari.

They really love it.

So there’s that.

Like I have friends in that way and I have martial arts friends who are some of the also

the thing about being humbled, how things like Jiu Jitsu will humble you.

Martial arts friends, they know who’s been through it.

They know who really has gone through the gauntlet and emerged on the other end a better


Well, you said there’s very few of us.

Let’s have the goat discussion.

You’re not going to pick anybody, but who are the greats of comedy?

Who’s the greatest comic of all time?

I don’t think there is a greatest comic of all time.

Is it Norm Macdonald?

Norm Macdonald was one of the greats for sure.

Well, by the way, actually on that topic, what do you think about is I think as a person

who is fascinated by the fear of death and death, I think it was a truly genius thing

to release a special after you’re dead.

I don’t know how that works.

I haven’t seen the special of you.

Yeah, it’s called I think nothing special.

Which sounds like something Norm would say.

And it’s basically him in front of…

I mean, I imagine he wouldn’t have wanted it edited that way because it’s made to look

nicer than I think he probably would have preferred it.

But it’s him in front of the screen like in a Zoom call doing jokes without cold.



And somehow given his like dry, dark humor, it works.

Because it’s almost making fun of itself.

Almost making fun of that hole that we were stuck alone inside.

And because he’s still acting as if he’s in front of the audience and is almost making

fun of the fact that this is what we’re forced to do.

I mean, it’s quite genius.

It’s really well…

And the jokes are really good.

But it also makes you realize how important laughter is from the audience, the energy

from the audience.

But there’s also an intimacy because it’s just you and him because you’re listening

into it, there’s no audience.

So that’s, I don’t know, I think it’s quite genius.

And he is, of course, there’s certain comics that are like, not only are they funny, but

they’re truly unique.

And they’re not in terms of friendship and all that kind of stuff, but in terms of comedy,

they’re an island.

It’s like they, you know, Mitch Hedberg probably is that.

Of course, a lot of people then start to imitate them and so on.

Stephen Wright.

I mean, there’s like people who are like, you know, Dave Chappelle, who’s like probably

one of the greats, but he’s just like raw funny.

I don’t know if he’s an island.

He’s just raw.

Yeah, I know what you’re saying.

An outlier, a unique individual.

Yeah, he’s just great.

Norm was definitely unique in his greatness.

There’s only one Norm, you know, who’s got a very specific style.

Is there a reason you guys weren’t, it doesn’t seem like he was, you guys were close.

I mean, I loved him.

He was great.

I always enjoyed talking to him.

We just didn’t work together that often.

We weren’t around each other that often.

That’s all it was, but it wasn’t like, it was, I loved him though.

He was a great guy.

I had a funny story about it, Norm.

Twice, just randomly, I was on airplanes next to him.

Seated right next to him.

Just totally random.

Yeah, and one time we’re on this airplane and we’re having this talk and I was like,

yeah, I quit smoking.

I was smoking a lot and I just had terrible, terrible smoke.

It’s terrible for you.

And we have this great conversation.

We get off the plane and he sprints towards a store and buys cigarettes like in the airport

and is lighting it on the way out the door.

And I go, I thought you quit smoking.

It was, yeah, I did.

But all that talking about smoking made me want to smoke again.

So before he’s getting through the door of the airport, he’s lighting it up.

I can’t wait.

He can’t wait to get that cigarette in him.

It was, he was just so crazy and impulsive and loved to gamble.

He loved gambling.

And in that way, he embodied the joke.

You can’t even tell that certain people just live in a non sequitur, ridiculous, absurd,

funny way.

Yeah, that was him.


There was nothing artificial about Norm.

That was who he was.

His brilliance was his essence.

That was who he was.

But in terms of the greats, the godfather of it all is Lenny Bruce.

I mean, I have a bunch of Lenny Bruce concert posters at my house and photos that I have

framed and Whitney Cummings actually gave me this brilliant photo of him when he got

arrested for one of the times when he got arrested for saying obscene jokes.

He was the most important figure in the early days of comedy because he essentially gave

birth to the modern art form of standup comedy.

Before that, it was a bunch of guys that were like hosting shows and they would tell jokes.

They were just like, you know, two guys walking to a bar, that kind of stuff.

And he would talk about social issues.

You know, he would talk about life.

He would talk about language.

He would talk about laws.

And it was just he was the very first guy who did modern standup.

And what’s fascinating is if you go and you try to watch it, if you try to watch Lenny

Bruce today, it doesn’t work because society has evolved.

Like in many ways, art is a window, especially like pop culture or modern, you know, at the

time, culture, art, art that discusses culture is a window into that time period.

It’s a little bit of a time machine.

So you get to like, you have to put yourself like, what was it like to be in 1963?

Like, what was he in 1963?

What was this like to hear him say this?

And the civilization that existed in 1963, although it looked pretty similar, they’re

all driving cars and they’re all wearing suits and they’re all it seems normal.

That’s a it’s a different world.

And the things that he was saying that are so taboo are so normal today that they’re

not shocking.

And it’s not not that good.

It’s not that funny.

Yeah, you have to do the same kind of stuff for like there’s a D.H. Lawrence has a book

called Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

And I know it sounds ridiculous, but it was one of the early books, I believe, at the

over a century ago that was very controversial for its sexual content.

It’s sort of one of the great books because it dared to actually talk about a woman cheating

on her husband and like and do so in the highest form.

And the same thing with Gulag Archipelago talking about talking about some of the darkest

aspects of human history right when all of that stuff is forbidden, when it’s banned.

Because now it’s like not, you know, yes, we all know this history.

But when in the middle of it, when you’re risking your own life, when you’re risking

your book being banned or burned or you being in prison, that’s when it matters, like taking

that risk.


And no one took that risk more than Lenny Bruce.

Lenny Bruce was arrested many, many times.

And ultimately, it wound up costing him his life.

I mean, he died on the bathroom floor shooting heroin and trying to cope with all the lawsuits

that he was going through.

This guy was constantly being arrested and constantly going through lawsuits.

And then his comedy deteriorated horribly.

There’s some footage of him towards the end of his career where he’s essentially would

go on stage with legal papers and read from the legal papers about his case.

From then, it’s Richard Pryor.

From him, then the next great is Richard Pryor.

And he had the most profound impact on me when I was a kid.

When I was 15 years old, my parents took me to see Live at the Sunset Strip, which is

Richard Pryor’s concert film.

And I remember very distinctly being in that audience and laughing and looking around at

all the people in the audience who were like falling out of their chairs, just dying, laughing,

just swaying back and forth.

And I was laughing hard, too.

And I was like, my God, this guy is doing this just by talking.

And I thought of all the great movies that I’d seen that I love that were hilarious comedy


And I was like, nothing that I’ve ever seen is as funny as this.

And all he’s doing is talking.

And that planted a seed in my head for my love of stand up comedy and my curiosity about

the art form.

And that’s what got me interested in watching it on television and then ultimately going

to open mic nights and then eventually doing it.

I’ve actually been going to open mics a lot recently, just listening.

For psychological examinations of people.

No, it’s actually really inspiring to me to see people that somewhere in the world

some are funny, some are not so funny, unapologetically trying, putting it all out there night after

night, like eating shit.

My favorite is when you’re talking about five people in the audience and the jokes are just

not landing.

And they still, I don’t know, it feels like even just empathetically, there’s few things

as difficult as that.

It’s hard.

I still remember those days, many comics will say this, and I think Dane Cook was the first

person I heard say it publicly, that if he ever had to go back and do it again, like

from scratch, doesn’t think he could do it.

Doesn’t think he could endure the struggle of open mic to ultimately to success.

And the numbers of people that try it and fail versus try and succeed are off the charts.

I don’t know if there’s any other art form that has such a low rate of success.

Because it’s psychological, it’s torture.

It is torture, and it’s also not something you can learn.

Like, here’s the thing, like, if you play guitar, you can learn to play guitar.

Someone can teach you the chords, and if you do it, you could do all along the watchtower,

you could play it.

You can’t teach someone how to do comedy.

You think it’s you’re funny or not?

You think it’s you’re funny or not, or can you still figure it out?

Like, can you still learn?

You can figure it out, yeah.

Can you start being unfunny and become funny?

Yes, it’s possible.

It’s not easy, though.

You’re gonna have to eat a lot of shit.

You’re gonna have to eat a lot of shit, and you’re gonna have to examine why you’re not

funny, and you’re gonna have to spend a lot of time with uncomfortable thoughts and try

to figure out what it is.

Like, what’s missing?

Like, you know, could you edit your stuff and make it better?

Maybe you need to do drugs.

Maybe you need to get involved in psychedelic drugs and rethink the way you interface with

reality itself.

Maybe you need your heart broken.

Maybe you need to be in love.

Maybe there’s a lot of maybes there.

Like, maybe you just need more life experience.

But, you know, when I started comedy, I was 21, and I was a moron.

I had no information, you know?

I could do impressions of people, and I could talk about sex.

Those are the things that I was interested in back then.

I mean, if I was talking philosophically, I didn’t have a philosophy.

I didn’t have a unique perspective on life.

I hadn’t experienced much.

So, every time you bomb, it forces you to introspect, to ask questions of yourself,

and then that’s how you actually develop a philosophy of what you actually believe.

You learn through doing, and I think you could say that about podcasting, too.

You know, I’m certainly way better at having conversations than I ever was when I first

started doing comedy.

Or, excuse me, when I first started doing podcasts.

You learn through it.

You should stick with it, kid.

Because one day, you’ll be able to interview Donald Trump.

You’d be mad enough to handle that conversation.

How hard is it to do?

Because I’ve been really curious.

It’s been on my bucket list because I’m terrified.

I want to do everything I’m terrified of.

Do you want to do stand up?


But I do want to do, like, one five minute, like, open mic.

Why don’t you do Kill Tony?

How hard is it to do five minutes, would you say?

It’s hard.

Well, it depends on, you know, how long you’ve been thinking about doing comedy.

It depends on how you look at things.

And also depends on your style of comedy.

Like, the most difficult style of comedy is, like, I think, like, Stephen Wright style

is probably the most difficult style of comedy.

Complete non sequiturs.

One subject doesn’t lead into the next.

There’s no flow to it.

It’s just, oh, I noticed this.

I noticed that.

And then there’s this.

And then there’s that.

And that’s hard to memorize.

And it’s really hard to piece together an hour of non sequiturs.

But it’s easier because you can rely on the joke.

It sits more with the joke.

Like, whether you’re funny or not is on the actual material versus, like, the timing

and the energy of the dance with the audience, right?

Because, like, if you don’t have the raw jokes like Stephen Wright does or Mitch

Hedberg, then you have to, it’s all about the delivery.


And, yeah, they either kill or they bomb.

Is it random?

Like, whether they kill or bomb?


Well, I mean, you’re essentially a different person every day of your life.

You know, you’re similar.

But you’re more tired.

You’re more rested.

You’re exhausted.

You’re refreshed.

You have vitamins and food nourishment in your system.

You just got your heart broken.

You haven’t slept in days.

You’re a different person all the time.

And you go on to that stage.

You’re in the neighborhood of who Lex Friedman is.

You’re in the Lex Friedman neighborhood.

Which Lex Friedman am I going to get?


You know?

Energy levels.


It depends.

It all depends.

But, oh, the other thing with Kill Tony is it’s videotaped.

Yes, so you eating shit is on there forever.


The world can see it.

But it’s one of the most important shows in comedy.

It’s the most important show in comedy.

Because, first of all, it establishes stand up in a sense that, like, for the open micers,

for the people that are starting it out, it establishes that the most important thing

is to be funny.

Like, this is what the art form is all about.

And there’s a lot of insecurity attached to that and a lot of fears.

And so to alleviate some of those insecurities and fears, people will decide that the message

is more important.

And they’ll pretend that you have to be socially aware, that you have to promote things that

are positive in your comedy, which is bullshit.

The people that say that, they’re all bad.

They’re all bad at comedy.

And that’s where the insecurity is.

It’s like they can’t just kill.

So they have to pretend that they’re supposed to be socially aware.

And that being socially aware is an important part into society.

Like, let me explain something really clearly.

It’s not a fucking person on earth who’s ever changed their life because of a joke.

That’s not what they’re there for.

They’re there for jokes.

The people that say that, they say that socially important comedy is the only comedy that’s

necessary, the only comedy that you have to do.

That is just because they suck.

That is it.

It’s like the cop out is that they can’t do the real comedy.

They can’t crush.

It’s not like someone goes from being, you know, take like Shane Gillis, one of the best

comics up and coming right now.

He’s fucking fantastic.

I can’t recommend enough seeing that guy live.

I work with him in Irvine, and I hadn’t seen like his whole set.

I was crying.

I mean, he’s so good.

I heard he’s a racist.

I haven’t listened to any of his material, no.

He’s so good.

And his comedy is just all just trying to be as funny as possible.

There’s not a chance in hell that guy’s just going to go woke and he’s just going to start

promoting some sort of, you know, socially conscious agenda that’s, you know, facetious

and just a bunch of nonsense that he’s trying to elevate his own personal brand and virtue


That’s not going to happen.

The thing about Kill Tony is in that because you only have one minute and because it’s

live and because you don’t want Tony shitting on you, everybody else shitting on you, everybody’s

just gearing up to try to be as funny as possible.

And no one cares if you are gay or straight or Asian or black or trans or nonbinary.

Nobody gives a fuck.

Are you funny?

If you’re funny, you’re in and everybody loves you.

You could be 80.

You could be 20.

Nobody gives a shit.

You could be a woman or a man or ambiguous.

Nobody fucking cares.

Are you funny?

And that’s the most important thing for a community of comedy to really promote comedy.

Just funny.

Just be funny.

And so in that sense, Kill Tony is a real cornerstone of comedy.

It’s a reminder of what comedy is supposed to be.

That said, even the funniest stuff has underneath it some wisdom that comes out of it, but that’s

not the primary goal of it.


I mean, it might be inspiring and fun.

Tim Dillon’s a great example of that.


He’s got some amazing insights in his comedy, but still it’s fucking comedy.

It’s all about the funny.

Yeah, it’s all of the funny.

He’s the best at doing that, especially in a podcast form about weaving really important

points in with hilarious, obviously, just jokes.

Let me ask you, speaking of Tim Dillon, a chaotic fucked up individual.

Can we go to your childhood real quick?

A brief stroll.

So your mom and dad split up when you were five.

From a younging perspective, if you look at your subconscious, what impact do you think

that had on you informing who you are as a man, as a human being?

Well, at the time I thought that my father was like a hero.

He was my dad.

I think every kid thinks like that about his dad.

His dad is like, your dad’s your protector.

Your dad is like the coolest guy in the world.

That’s what you like.


Everybody wants to be like their dad, especially if your dad is like an imposing figure.

I remember one time me and my cousin got in a fight over nothing.

It was like over who’s tougher, King Kong or Godzilla.


Over nothing.

That’s an important, but yeah.

Actual fight, actual physical fight.

I punched him in the face.

This is when you were like five?


Which side were you on?

King Kong.


I was wrong.

Godzilla’s like way bigger.

Godzilla’s 500 feet tall and he shoots fire out of his mouth.


Are you sure?

I mean, there’s, there’s an argument to be made.

It’s not all about size, right?

No, there’s no argument to be made.

500 feet tall versus 50 feet tall.

One’s a gigantic dinosaur.

One is a stupid monkey who gets shot down by a plane.

You don’t think you can’t kill Godzilla?

Godzilla, like no back.

No, you can’t kill Godzilla with a plane.

Like that shit wouldn’t work in Godzilla killed King Kong.

King Kong and the new movies kept growing.

It’s getting bigger and bigger.

It got to the point where he’s as big as Godzilla.

It just feels like King Kong is stronger.


Backtake, backtake, immediate backtake.

You don’t think there’s a backtake.

There’s a different.

If he’s the same size.

Human weapons and two animals going at it of a different size.

You don’t think there’s in the jungle,

a smaller animal could take on a bigger animal.

Like a monkey versus a, let’s see, a lion.

Monkey versus a bear.


Who wins?

A monkey versus a bear.

Not a monkey.

What’s the strongest ape?

No, but gorillas eat.


Gorilla can’t do back takes.

I’m thinking of like a smaller.

You know what I’m saying?

Because in Jiu Jitsu you see this all the time.

You remember that scene in Talladega Nights?

Do you know Talladega Nights?

Where the little boy’s talking to his grandpa?

I’ll be all over you like a spider monkey.


Spider monkey.

I was thinking.

All right.

There’s some animals.

Like here’s a better example.

A wolverine.

Wolverines chase wolves and bears off of their kills.

And they’re not very big at all.

They’re just so ferocious.

And they’re so durable.

Like it’s very hard to kill a wolverine.


And there’s videos of like cats.

Like not actual cats.

Like domestic cats or domestic dogs starting shit with much larger animals.


And if they’re ferocious enough.

Well, pit bulls are a great example of that.

Pit bulls are small.

Like real game bred pit bulls are like 35, 45 pounds.

And they’ll kill much larger dogs.

Anyway, you were on King Kong’s side.


So shit out of your cousin.

I remember he said to me like I thought it was in like real trouble.

Because I remember my cousin’s mom was yelling at me.

And it was like, you monster.

All this crazy shit.

So my dad got me alone.

And he said, tell me what happened.

And I told him, you know, we got in a fight.

We were arguing.

We were King Kong, Godzilla.

And I punched him in the face.

And he goes, did you cry?

I go, no.

He goes, good.

Don’t ever cry.

And I remember that.

Like, whoa, okay.

And I remember thinking, all right.

I’m just going to start punching people because like obviously my dad thinks it’s a good idea

if I go running around punching people as long as I don’t cry.

Like, I remember certain things about, you know, and also like this is, again, like we’re

talking about watching Lenny Bruce and getting a timeline of what the world was like back


This is a different world, you know, in 1970.

This would have been 1972.

It’s a different world back then, man.

Like a really different world.

It’s some of that, so Carl Jung talked about the shadow.

It’s the unconscious where you have dark stuff and oftentimes you use it to project.

There’s stuff that you’re very self critical about yourself.

But because it’s in your unconscious, you use it to project onto others.

You see it as flaws in others.

And that’s a good way to, like whatever, he gives a quote, like everything that irritates

us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

So that’s a nice way to investigate yourself.

Like something that pisses you off, you start asking questions of your own mind, and that’s

how you bring it to the surface.

But anyway, from that, those are formative years.

From that time, is there still stuff in your unconscious you think you haven’t examined?

Some dark shit?

I don’t think so.

I don’t, I’m not aware if it is.

Cause I’ve looked, you know, like if someone, you know, someone says, you know, I left something

over your house.

Like, where’d you leave it?

I don’t know.

Like, all right, I’ll go look.


I’ll get a real thorough look.

But I’m pretty sure.

Pretty sure it’s not there.


I don’t know.

I think I’ve looked.

I mean, it certainly had an effect.

I think the positive effect also was compounded by the fact that when my mother married my

stepdad, who’s a great guy, who was a hippie, very different, we moved around a lot.

And so the bad thing about that was I didn’t really develop longterm friends.

The good thing about that was that I was forced to develop my own opinions about things instead

of adopting an opinion of the neighborhood and the group about anything.

I was forced to form my own thoughts and opinions about almost everything.

And so it made me much more of an independent thinker.

So that on top of the fact that losing my quote unquote hero very early on and then

having to form my own opinions about things, it left me with a very independent streak

in terms of…

And if I hadn’t done the things that I got interested in, martial arts and then comedy,

if I hadn’t gotten interested in those things, I would have been fucked because I was just

too independent for normal jobs.

I was too independent for school.

I just didn’t want to listen to people.

I was too feral.

I just didn’t want to sit still.

If I was with the wrong parents, especially today, I most certainly would have been medicated.

Yeah, there’s so many possible trajectories you can imagine where you would have not been

the person you are today.

Oh, yeah.

That’s probably one of the best possible.

This particular storyline you’re living through is one of the better ones.

This timeline is as good as it gets for someone like me.

Is there advice you can give to people, to young kids that are living through a shitty

situation of any sort, a tough life?

Find a thing you like.

Try to find a thing that you really enjoy.

Try to find a thing that you’re passionate about.

Like an activity.


For me, early on, it was drawing.

It was illustrations.

It was comic books.

I wanted to be a comic book illustrator.

Then it went from comic book drawing and illustrations to martial arts.

It was just another thing that I was very, very passionate about.

That was my vehicle out of my dilemma.

That was my vehicle out of my own anxiety and trauma and my own issues and insecurities.

Find something.

Find a thing that you genuinely enjoy because getting good at things you genuinely enjoy

is extremely beneficial for young people because it lets you know that everybody thinks they’re

a loser.

Every young person thinks they’re a loser, at least a young person in the situation I

was at.

I didn’t know I wasn’t a loser until I started winning, until I started doing martial arts.

Martial arts taught me that I could get better at stuff, that I wasn’t really a loser.

I just was someone who was in a fucked up situation, but you could channel all that

energy that you have as a young person into something and get better at it.

Then all of a sudden, people admired me.

I was like, this is crazy.

I went from being someone who was incredibly insecure and basically a failure to someone

who was really successful at this one thing that was very dangerous that other people

were scared of.

That gave me immense confidence and also a real understanding of the direct correlation

between hard work and success.

And a kind of understanding that you’re not a loser, that there is some diamond in the


There’s also an understanding that you can’t listen to people, because even my parents

didn’t want me to do martial arts.

They didn’t want me to fight.

They didn’t want me to do stand up.

You have to understand who you are, and then in the face of other people’s either criticism

or lack of faith in your ability to succeed, you push through and there’s great benefit

in that.

And you realize that you can kind of apply that to other things in life.

You can apply that to critics, you can apply that to social media commentators, you can

apply that to a lot of things.


What about young people in their 50s?

Can you give advice to like, imagine you’re sitting back, probably still here in Texas

in your 90s looking back, what advice would that guy give to you today?

Or like people that have done some shit in their 50s, you’ve gone through hell of a life,

there’s potentially some incentive to settle down, you got a great family to relax.

But maybe there’s some incentive to still do epic shit, still be David Goggins running

in the middle of the desert screaming shit into a camera.

If you’re David Goggins, you have to be David Goggins.

I don’t think there’s a path for that guy that exists at this stage of his life other

than that.

Do you think he’ll be 70 and still screaming?




If David and I are alive, we’re both 70, he’s going to call me up and say, stay hard motherfucker.


So lean into whatever the fuck you are at this point.

Well, if you’re enjoying it, but if you’re not enjoying it, rethink your life.

Try to figure out why you’re not enjoying it.

You still think it’s possible to shift things in your 50s?


If you’re alive, you can get better.

No matter what.


No matter what.

If you’re alive, you can shift things.

I mean, if you’re 90 years old and you have a month to live, you can apologize for the

things you think you did wrong and maybe reconcile and shape relationships that you have with

the people that are around you better, so that they feel differently about you after

you’re gone.


I always love people in their 70s who are like getting back into dating or something

like that.


I was watching a video about a woman who’s in her 60s who just started powerlifting.



And same with Jiu Jitsu.

You see people get into Jiu Jitsu, like a white belt that’s like 70.


There’s a lot of…

If you’re alive, you can get better at stuff.

I don’t think people are happy if they don’t have puzzles and complex tasks and things

that are interesting to them, whether it’s an art project or whether it’s learning something

completely new like standup comedy.

Doing things that are difficult, it’s as much of a nourishment of the mind as food is a

nourishment of the body.

I think you need things that are puzzling to you where you have to find your own human

potential in the difficulty of the task and work your way through things.

At least for me, I mean, I can only speak for me because I’m the only life that I’ve

ever lived that I’m aware of.

And in my life, that has been a 100% constant.

I am a very happy person and I have never had a moment where I’m not doing difficult




What matters most is how well you walk through the fires.

You just keep starting fires for yourself to walk through.

Well, they don’t necessarily have to be fires, right?

Because fires are like kind of out of control.

Lukewarm tasks.


The surfaces.


Give yourself something, an arduous, difficult task where you’re challenged, challenged mentally

and challenged physically.

One of the great things about being challenged physically is it’s also mental.

The people that don’t understand that have never really been challenged physically.

People that think that physical challenges are just like, just physical.

It’s just brute grunt work.

It’s not.

It’s emotional intelligence.

It’s understanding your desire to quit and, you know, conquering your inner bitch.

All that stuff is, it’s mental.

It’s playing out inside your head and there’s a mental strength that you acquire from that,

that you can apply to intellectual pursuits.

And the people that don’t think that are the people that haven’t attempted them.

And there’s an arrogance to people that only pursue intellectual exercises, only pursue

intellectual things and don’t pursue anything physical.

That the physical stuff is base, it’s grunt work, it’s primal, it’s not necessary.

I don’t think that’s accurate.

I don’t think that they’re, I mean, obviously these people like Stephen Hawking’s who have

no opportunity to do anything physical, right?

His physical dilemma is keeping us or was keeping his heart beating.

But for most people, I think you can really benefit from physical struggle and you benefit

from it in a mental way.

And I think that is overlooked.

It’s unfortunately overlooked by academics and intellectuals who they make excuses for

why they’re fat and lazy or scrawny.

They don’t need to be, it’s not even about the fat or all of that.

It’s like literally there’s something about the physical challenge that’s really good

for you, especially if you’re academic, especially if you do intellectual type stuff.

There’s this great roboticist at MIT, Russ Tedrick, he runs barefoot to and from MIT

every day.

I love it, like seven, seven to 10 miles each way.


Well, he studies legged locomotion, legged robots, so for him, it’s also interesting

how the human body moves.

He sees the beauty in all movement.

What do his feet look like?

You know, calloused.

Destroyed, right?

No, just calloused.

They’re nice.

They form a nice, it’s not like I gave him a foot massage, but I mean, they look, and

I don’t have a foot fetish, so I don’t, I’m not able to correctly evaluate another man’s


I apologize for this, but they don’t look fucked up.

Does he run on concrete?

Yeah, he runs all surfaces.

And he does everything completely barefoot?

The running part at work.

So one of the things he has to do is fit into society, which means he has to change clothes

and appear normal.


So does he wear like zero shoes?

Yeah, those barefoot type shoes?

No, because that’s like very hippie, wokey type of thing.

No, like he doesn’t, he’s barefoot when he’s running and then he wears like normal looking

stuff like dress shoes.

How did he work his way up to running barefoot?

So he was significantly overweight and his advisor, this other famous person at MIT who

was a roboticist, took his own life and that made him, that made Russ face his own mortality,

I think.

I mean, you start to ask big questions about your wellbeing, like, holy shit, this ride

can end at any moment.

And so he started taking his sort of physical wellbeing seriously, but as a result of that,

not that he, did he become like shredded, but he’s also discovered the intellectual

value, the humbling value of physical exercise.

He’s not preachy about it at all.

I actually rarely hear him advise it to anyone.

He just does it as a, almost like meditation or something like that.

It’s definitely a form of meditation and you can attest to that, right?

You do quite a bit of running.

There’s a thing about a, you kind of, almost like a mantra gets formed and you get into


It was great here in the Austin heat, a hundred degree weather.

That tests you.

You know what I love to do outside?

Pull sleds.

That’s my thing.

I love to pull sleds outside.

In the heat.


I did it today.


Yeah, I love it.

So you’re also, your wife is incredible.

You’re in a relationship.

You’re married.

You have a great family.

What advice would you give to me and to others like me who are dumb fucks and have not found

a relationship?

Well, you’re a great guy.

So this definitely doesn’t necessarily apply to you, but be someone who someone would want

to be in a relationship with.

There’s a lot of people out there that want a great partner.

They want someone in a relationship, but why would someone want to be in a relationship

with you?

You know, maybe you bicker a lot.

Maybe you’re jealous.

Maybe you, uh, maybe you lie.

Maybe you, you know, maybe you’re cruel, maybe you’re, you don’t have a sense of humor.

Maybe you’re, you know, you’re not kind.

Like what is, what is it about you that people would not enjoy being around or the people


Fix that.

Well, this applies to me as well.

Like you, you said something with Cam Haynes.

One of the things you admire is the, the discipline it takes to sort of juggle so many things

and just successfully.

I’m not sure I’m very good at that.

So juggling all this hard work and then also a relationship.

Also relationship, also family, all of these kinds of priorities.

I mean, that requires having your shit together.

It does.

It’s a different thing, but it’s also, you got to find the right person.

There’s a lot of people who sell for, they settle for sexy.

They settle for hot, settle for the wrong person.

Like you can get hot and nice.

They’re out there.


But don’t get hot and mean, hot and mean is not fun.

Then you get Amber Heard.


You know?

And then you get hot and dry.


You can be deceived by perfect symmetry.

So you don’t think it’s a good idea to record your partner?

I think you should record all conversations.

The CIA is doing it no matter what.

I assume that every conversation I have is recorded because I’m pretty sure it is.

Even when we had dinner with Alex Jones, he was recording.


I still remember that.

I didn’t know that was recording.

He might, you know what?

It’d be funny if he is the CIA.

He could be.

Could be.

That’d be the ultimate joke.

So my advice about relationships is be somebody.

And then also like find someone who you can grow with, right?

You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t share your values.

You don’t want to be with someone who makes excuses.

You don’t want to be with someone who’s lazy or who’s spiteful.

You want to be with someone who’s like genuinely kind.

That’s one of the things that I really love about my wife and she’s very smart and she

works hard.

She’s a dedicated, disciplined person, but she’s also really nice.

That’s one of the things I like the most about her.

She’s so nice.

She’s always smiling.

And that energy is great.


I mean, you’ve seen us together.


You’ve hung around with us.

She’s fun.


She’s a lot of fun.


She makes you just feel great to be alive.

It’s good to have people like that around you.

She’s happy.

She’s a happy person.

She’s happy to be around.

That’s the kind of people that you could have in your life as friends and as coworkers and

as lovers and wives and husbands.

You can find those people.

They’re real.

And when you find those people, your life is better.

To have a good tribe is very important, to have a good tribe of people.

And I think if there’s anything that I’m very, very fortunate about, it’s the people that

I’m around.

I have very good friends and one of which is you.

It’s so valuable to have quality people around you because it makes you want to do better

because you admire the hard work that these people put in, like Cam Haines or Goggins

or many of my friends and people that are generous and people that are curious and people

that are honest.

They inspire you to do the same and it’s extremely valuable.

It’s one of the most valuable things is to surround yourself with positive, healthy,

friendly, generous people.

That’s why I cut out Tim Dillon from my life.

I broke up with him.

I thought you guys were getting married.

No, it’s over.

It’s none of those things.

The Texas nonstop, the nonstop conspiracy theories, the nonstop mocking of my Eastern

European origins, it’s just not healthy for me.

Plus he’s physically abusive and a towering figure, both emotional and physically.

No, no, I love him.


If he worked out, he would be a house.

A brick house.

He’s got such a large frame, you know?

So if I interview Putin, what should I ask him?

How’s the cancer?

How’s it doing, buddy?

That’s question number one in Russian.

Do you think he has cancer?

I don’t think so.

The narrative is terrifying, right?

Dictator of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world who also has cancer and he just

invaded a sovereign country.

That’s a terrifying narrative because that’s what we’re all afraid of.

Someone who has nothing to lose who just decides to let loose a nuke.

Well, I do think maybe it’s projecting, but if I had cancer or if you think about leaders

that have cancer, you’re facing your own mortality, I would think he would be more focused on

his legacy and dropping a nuclear bomb is not good for legacy.

I do believe he wants to be remembered as a great leader, as a lot of leaders do, as

a lot of even dictators do.

And I think he wants to figure out a way to pull out a win so he can say that whatever

this thing was, whatever this invasion was, was good for Russia, was good for the nation.

He ultimately made it a greater nation than it was before.

And perhaps you could justify an escalation of war to be that.

And it’s just the cancer thing concerns me so much because it’s been so often part of

this propaganda that’s been told about Putin that he’s sick.

I don’t know why.

People kind of wonder that a lot about, especially dictators, but you had that even with Hillary

Clinton and obviously with Biden, that narrative is stickier.

So for some people it’s stickier than that.

Well, that narrative is transparent and obvious.

But the degree of it is a question with Biden as it is with everyone.

How healthy is this leader?

That’s a question people often ask.

Sure, always.

They were doing that about Trump too.

The thing about Putin though is like his appearance is altered, where he looks very bloated.

His body doesn’t look much bigger, but his face looks like puffy and swollen.

I had a friend who had sarcoidosis and they prescribed prednisone, which is a type of

a steroid.

And one of the things that would happen when he was on it is his face would get really


He was like, he would blow up like a swell up and maintain a lot of water and inflammation.

And that’s what it looks like when I’m looking at Putin.

So actually like if you’re sitting with him, one question is about health.

Has Biden been asked that kind of question?

Like without mockery, without any of that?

You would have to go on Fox News.

Like the mainstream media treats him with kid gloves in a way that I’ve never seen.

It’s so obvious there’s something horribly wrong with his cognitive function.

Well, I had to push back.

I don’t know if it’s horribly wrong.

You don’t think it’s horribly wrong?

I think it’s no, I think there’s uncertainty to which degree is wrong.

I would love to there to be a serious like conversation about with him.

In fact, I actually have to now look, cause of course Fox News will mock his like declining

mental health and then I would love like sort of an objective discussion.

Are you aware of this?

Are you like, what are you putting in place?

Are you yourself?

Cause if I was a person with a declining mental abilities, like you have to start thinking

about that kind of stuff.

Like who is around you, who are the advisors?

What if you start, stop being able to see the world clearly?

I would be transparent about that kind of stuff.

Well, you would be, but you’re also would never be a politician because you’re too fucking


Well, yeah, but actually from a conversation perspective, it would be nice if that kind

of discussion was sad.

It would be.

But all jokes aside with Putin, I would ask questions about democracy versus what they


So that without any disparaging descriptions of what is going on over in Russia, it’s clearly

not a democracy.

It’s they, I mean the way he has it set up, the elections are a joke.


So he would push back.

That’s not clearly not a democracy.

He is still very popular.

So majority of people are huge supporters of Putin inside Russia.

The he would, the people that push back against that would say that that’s because any serious

opposition is pushed out of the country.


So it gets competition and murdered.


So, but yes, that’s a really, really good question.

The value of dictatorships.

One of the things about the United States that’s fascinating to me is that every four

years, unless it’s a, it’s four to eight years, right?

One does two terms, but every four years there’s an opportunity for someone to be new and completely

inexperienced at the most difficult job in the world, which is ridiculous.

So the interesting thing is it actually makes sense after eight years, you’ve gained the



You would actually be a pretty good leader to keep going.


But there is some problem where you, the power gets started getting to your head.


So from Putin’s perspective, I think he genuinely wants the best for Russia.

I don’t think he’s lost his mind in terms of like, it’s all about greed and so on.

Same as Stalin.

I think Stalin until the end of his days wanted the best for the Soviet Union.

So it’s not like you become, Hitler I think lost his mind during the war.

Like where it was like he wasn’t seen clearly at all.

What Putin believes is that he is actually the best person to bring out the best for

his country.

Now, the problem is maybe refreshing the leader is in fact in the long term, the best thing

versus every leader believes they know what’s best for the country, the point is to keep

refreshing it.


And that’s the case for democracy.

That’s the case for the system we have that creates a natural, maybe emergent balance

of power.

I think it makes it evident that there is no clear cut real right way to do it.

And that if you had the perfect person in having them for 12, 20 years would be amazing.

If you had a perfect benevolent leader who clearly only cared about the people was doing

their best and striving hard and got great satisfaction knowing that he is a dedicated

civil servant that only wants to lead the country in a way that’s going to benefit the

most people in the most profound way.

But we have a dirty political system.

It’s completely corrupted by money, completely corrupted by influence.

The fact that the lobbyists, I mean, there’s an area outside of Washington DC, it’s one

of the richest areas in the country and it’s where the lobbyists live.

There’s so much money involved in being a lobbyist, there’s so much money involved in

special interest groups and how much of an impact they have on who gets elected and what

decisions get made once that person gets elected.

We know this, right?

We know it’s not for the people by the people, it’s just not what it is.

I mean, this country is an experiment in self government and if we could do it all over

again, I would say the most important thing is to have laws in place to keep money out

of politics and to make it a heinous crime for someone to influence laws and policy based

entirely on the amount of profit it could generate for a party or for a company that

is investing in a candidate.

That’s fucking incredibly dangerous and it’s corrupt and that corruption has been accepted.

We’ve just accepted that this corruption exists, you know?

Last question.

If Putin asks to see this watch, what do I tell him?

Would you give it?

Should I let him see it?

Because we know what happens with the Super Bowl ring.

I think a Super Bowl ring is unique.

He could buy a watch like that pretty easy, you know?

But this particular, isn’t that a power move?


So this is the watch you gave me as a story.


I would probably share it with him, the story.

And then maybe you go, can I see this watch?


And then he puts it on and says thank you.

Do you say no?

You go like this.

Yeah, there it is, bro.


You know, take it off.

I’ve got so many words I’m going to have to find translations, buddy, bro.

I guess bro is brother.

I mean, if he takes your watch, I’ll buy you another one if Putin steals it.

Keep him going.

I’ll just give you the same exact watch.

Well, first of all, thank you for this.

My pleasure, bro.

I really wanted to talk to you because in a couple of days I’m leaving to Ukraine and

Russia and I hope I’ll be back in one piece and drink whiskey with you once again.

Yeah, I hope so too.

I’m nervous about you going over there.

You know, I know journalists have been killed now.

But they don’t know Jiu Jitsu.

No, I think you’ll be okay and I think there’s certain things you do in life that just kind

of your heart pulls towards that so much.

What’s your objective over there?

I’m not somebody who thinks about objectives clearly.

It’s just something about me says I need to go there.

But to put in loose words is to try to understand what that world is now.

So I remember what it was years ago when I was there.

I know my family, I know the generations of family that was there on that land in Ukraine

and in Russia, and the soul of the people, the love that’s there, the beauty of the culture.

And I want to see what it is today and what this war has created.

Both the anger and the love and the people and just hear them out and just talk to them.

No recordings, none of that.

Maybe a little here and there, but mostly just for me.

And to see, I don’t know, sometimes it’s just something pulls you to a place.

And I also, because I’m able to speak Russian and some Ukrainian, I do want to try to have

these, a couple of the political leaders involved, talk to them.

And I have all the right connections, everybody has said yes.

Of course you don’t know the likelihood it finally happens, but I want to at least have

that possibility there.

Sometimes you have to go to a place to really understand it.

You can’t just read about it.

You can’t just talk to the people that are living there.

You have to be there.

And I’ve never been in a war zone.

I’ve never been in a land that’s been damaged and wiped by the weapons of war.

And I just want to feel that because so much of that land is, I remember when everything

was flourishing.

Yes, corruption, all those kinds of things, but people were there and the culture was

flourishing and people were happy.

There was lots of struggle, but they were happy.

And now people are extremely angry.

There’s hate in the air on all sides.

I want to see that.

I want to understand.

Sometimes it just pulls you and you have to go.

So it doesn’t make any sense perhaps, but you just got to do it.

What’s the timeline of when I’m going?

How long?

No, one way.

I don’t have a plan.




So I’m hoping back in a month, but also just to clarify, I’m not somebody who seeks risk.

And like, you’re somebody who seems to be terrified of bears and sharks, so you don’t

like, so why go swim out?

Why go surfing?

Why go swim out in the ocean?


So I’m somebody that’s the same probably with sharks too.

I’m not taking unnecessary risk, but certain things that just mean a lot to you, you take

the risk.

And so a little bit of risk willing to take to discover something about myself, honestly,

it’s probably what it all boils down to, trying to understand myself.

Because so much of me is from that place.

Well, this is the beautiful thing about America is it’s like stitches together all these different


Everybody came from somewhere else.


And you try to understand, in order for me to be a good American, I need to understand

who I was, where I came from.

And that’s nothing reveals the spirit of a people better than war.

It’s like there’s something about this conflict that’s really cuts all the bullshit.

This is who we are.

This is who we are as a people.

So I want to see it.

I want to understand.

And like I said, when I come back, drink some whiskey with you.

All right.

Well, I hope that happens.

I really do.

And I hope you’re safe over there.

And I hope you come back with whatever insight you’re trying to achieve.

Thank you for doing this conversation.

My pleasure, brother.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, for the support, for the love, and everybody

around you.

Thank you for everything you’re doing for everybody around you, for giving back, but

for just giving and being kind to everybody.

I love you, brother.

I love you too.

Thank you.

Thanks for listening to this conversation with Joe Rogan.

To support this podcast, please check out our sponsors in the description.

And now let me leave you with one of Joe’s and one of my favorite quotes from Miyamoto


Once you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything.

Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.

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