Best known for hosting television’s extreme reality game show Fear Factor, Joe Rogan is equally at home in the standup arena, where his comic persona shifts into the edgier, angrier territory of Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks. Rogan was born on August 11, 1967, in Newark, NJ; he lived in several cities as a child (primarily Boston) and was prone to behavioral problems until discovering Tae Kwon Do in his early teens. Rogan proved highly adept, taking home championships on both state and national levels. Some of Rogan’s fellow martial artists eventually coaxed him on-stage at a Boston comedy club’s open-mike night, and shortly thereafter, he began to concentrate full-time on standup work. After relocating to New York, Rogan caught a series of small breaks, including an appearance on MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour and a role on the short-lived sports comedy Hardball. Finally, Rogan landed a spot on News Radio in 1995; despite glowing reviews, the show’s devoted fan base was never as sizable as NBC had hoped, partly because of its constantly shuffling time slot. When News Radio was canceled in 1999, Rogan returned to standup comedy, also recording an album drawn from performances in Houston and Boston. Titled I’m Gonna Be Dead Someday…, the record was released in late summer 2000. A year later he began hosting Fear Factor, a gig that he would have for the next six years. During the show’s last year, Rogan also became famous for accusing fellow comedians Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia of being “joke thieves.” He offered evidence on talk show appearances and his own website. For some, it seemed odd that Rogan should take up the cause, since his live comedy work had taken a back seat to his television work. His 2007 album for Comedy Central, Shiny Happy Jihad, helped reintroduce him as a standup comedian. His second effort for the label, Talking Monkeys in Space, followed in 2010.
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