WHAT’S SO FUNNY: Joe Rogan will beat you up with his MIND

Joe Rogan is hard to figure. On one hand, the New Jersey comic can come off like one of these dependable, burly, blue collar palookas shouting f-word laden hyperbole about gays, strippers, drugs, sex, all the good stuff. He’s sharp, has good punch-lines, great interaction with the crowd. Goes over like gangbusters in a live comedy club.

There’s usually a message behind his jokes: Generally pointing out the stupid things people do – the heart of all comedy, is it not?

On the other hand, Rogan is a political commentator, and a left-leaning one at that, expressing support for Occupy Wall Street, for example. He runs a popular podcast called The Joe Rogan Experience, whose content should not necessarily be thought of as “comedy,” nor an excuse to call him one of these famous political stand-up comedians who, in the withering words of Gilbert Gottfried, “forgot to be funny.” No names, please.

The public may know Rogan best as the host of Fear Factor, or cast member of NBC’s sitcom NewsRadio. He’s a UFC commentator, too – and martial artist himself. Good to know – for hecklers who might dare to tangle with Rogan when he performs a sold out show Saturday at the River Cree Casino: Don’t mess with him. He’ll chew you up and spit you out. Thing is, he’ll do it with his MIND.

Which brings us to the third hand – and here it gets weird – Rogan seems to have become Deepak Chopra cunningly fused with Sam Kinison as he philosophizes on the nature of life, the universe and everything, flying into metaphysical rants along the lines of, “Space is some fucking crazy shit! Some people don’t believe in aliens. I believe in aliens, but I believe they gave up on people a long time ago.”

Fans have even made their own YouTube videos, inserting creepy new age Deepak Chopra music behind these alleged comedy routines, for an extra touch of the bizarre.

Contrast that with Rogan’s old “Brokeback Mountain” routine, prefaced with a disclaimer that it’s OK that straight men find gay sex funny. He probably doesn’t do the bit anymore, but this line is worth repeating: “They paid straight guys to act gay – like there’s not enough gay actors in Hollywood. Why not just get John Travolta and Tom Cruise …?” Seems to be new life in that joke.

Rogan’s favourite target is human stupidity, his own included. He’s afraid the entire human race has become dumber over time because “the dumb ones out-fucked the smart ones.” The smart people will soon die out, he goes on, “and leave us with a bunch of shit we don’t understand.” This may in fact have already happened. Who the hell knows?

He’s been on this tack for a while. In an interview for his 2008 show in Edmonton, Rogan talked about how society has “made it easy to be a moron,” especially since you’d get really sad and depressed if you really paid attention to what’s going on in the world, and who wants that? Denial is comfortable. Rogan also said he subscribes to a Samurai approach to show business – “When you understand the way broadly, you see it in all things,” he quotes some swordsmaster – in his gift for filling a lot of different roles: Comic, actor, fighter, pundit, philosopher.

“The logical conclusion is that none of this matters,” he said. “You are in a temporary state, in this life for a short period of time, relatively speaking, to the rest of the universe. Whether or not you think it’s important or not – it’s not. You’re one little tiny portion of an infinite, gigantic mechanism that is the whole universe.”

It should come as no surprise that Rogan apparently likes to smoke a little pot every now and then.