Joe Rogan Interview, Shiny Happy Jihad Interview, Carlos Mencia, Fear Factor

Joe Rogan Interview, Shiny Happy Jihad Interview

TV Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Joe Rogan is quite aware that, to most people, he's "that dude from 'Fear Factor.'" And for those who don't think of him that way, well, it's because they still think of him as "that dude from 'NewsRadio.'" He generally rolls with it, but, yeah, it rankles him a little bit, mostly because he's been a stand-up comedian for 18 years now and surprisingly few people realize it. Of course, his profile in the field was raised considerably after a recent on-stage dust-up with Carlos Mencia, and it'll undoubtedly get even higher with the emergence of his second comedy CD, Shiny Happy Jihad, just released on Comedy Central Records. We had a chance to chat with Rogan about his stand-up, his work on "NewsRadio" and with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and – wait for it – his take on whether or not the Apollo moon landing actually happened.

Oh, wait: did you think we were going to say that we asked him about Mr. Mencia?

Actually, we really weren't planning to – we'd gotten the impression that the topic was considered to be off-limits – but when we discovered that Rogan didn't actually mind discussing the matter, how could we resist

Bullz-Eye: Hello? 

Joe Rogan: Is this Will? 

BE: It is! 

JR: 'S'up, man? Joe Rogan. 

BE: Hey, how's it going, man? 

JR: Good, how're you doing? 

BE: Not bad. So I got the new album…but, actually, the first thing I want to ask you about is your first comedy album, I'm Gonna Be Dead Someday (from 2000). 

JR: OK. 

BE: How did that do for you? Because I remember getting a copy of it at the magazine I was writing for at the time, but it seemed like it vanished immediately upon release. I mean, I know, major-label comedy albums weren't exactly a goldmine at the time, but… 

JR: Well, it was also at the same time as the Warner Brothers/Disney merger, and, so, it wasn't really very fucking…wasn't very Disney-friendly

BE: Not exactly. 

JR: It was a total mess. The whole thing was a total mess. 

BE: But, this time, you're on Comedy Central Records. 

JR: Yeah. And they're definitely better at marketing comedy. It was a weird time to be putting out a CD, but it did good to the point where it got my comedy out there. It helped get me booking in clubs and stuff like that. 

BE: Yeah, and even on the new album, you make the comment that a lot of people don't even know that you're a comedian. 

JR: Yeah, I mean, it's a weird conundrum. 

BE: Well, to kind of introduce people to your comedic style, how would you sum up the, uh, themes of your disc? (laughs) 

"My comedy in general is just, 'Here's the world through my eyes.' This is how I feel about everything…uncensored…about sex, life, death, politics, drugs, whatever. This is what I think about the world."

JR: Um…well, my comedy in general is just, "Here's the world through my eyes." This is how I feel about everything – uncensored -- about sex, life, death, politics, drugs, whatever. This is what I think about the world. And it's packaged and put forth in sort of a compressed, comedic way. But that's basically what it is. It's what I think about life, but that's kind of what comedy is in general, y'know? The best comedy, in my opinion, is…I mean, I love guys who just write jokes that don't mean anything. That's always fun. But the best comedy to me is comedy that represents someone else's thoughts. Like, you can see their world. You can see through their eyes. 

BE: Actually, only about an hour and a half ago, I was talking to Christopher Titus, who's also on your label, and he's definitely got the same kind of feel as what you're talking about. Well, maybe not as many obscenities as you, but as far as seeing the world through his eyes. 

JR: Yeah, I know Chris very well. 

BE: So who are some of your comedic influences? 

JR: Um, for sure, Richard Pryor. He was probably my first…the first comic I ever saw that really got me totally fascinated by comedy. When I was a kid, my parents took me to see "Live at the Sunset Strip," and I remember…I was maybe 13 or something…but I remember being in the audience and laughing so hard, and looking around at all the people in the audience who were just rolling out of their chairs, and I remember thinking, "How crazy is it that this guy's just talking, and this is way funnier than any comedy movie that I've ever seen? And all he's doing is just talking! This is incredible!" I'll never forget how that struck me. I'll never forget looking around the theater and going, "This is mind-blowing!" So him, for sure. Then, the guy who really got me thinking I could do comedy was probably Sam Kinison. Because he was the first guy that…he did this really outrageous, angry sort of comedy. And I was, like, "Whoa. Maybe I can do comedy!" I thought it was…back then, it was, like, Richard Pryor, and then everyone else was like Jerry Seinfeld. There were so few guys who were quote-unquote "dirty." 

BE: Do you have any taboos in your act, would you say? 

JR: My taboos are things that I don't believe and things that aren't funny. Y'know? Those are the taboos. I would never talk about something that I don't really believe, and I would never talk about something that I don't think is really funny. Those are the only taboos. I mean, especially the funny part, because it's kind of a weird thing that happens to some comedians, where they get into sort of a preachy mentality. Especially when people agree with them. I've been to shows where someone will say something about the president or the state of politics, and they'll say it just to get people to applaud, and I'll never understand that. Like, you're not saying anything funny. Why are you saying something just to get people to applaud? That's very strange. Because the whole point about comedy is that you can get your opinions across with humor. Because if someone's onstage and they have an opinion, if you go onstage and you feel this way about a certain subject, if I'm in the audience and I don't share that opinion, I'm sitting there going, "Well, fuck you, I've got my own opinion!" But if I'm in the audience and you've got this opinion and you make me laugh with it, then I have to think. Like, "I don't even agree with this guy, and I'm laughing at what he's saying. Wow, I kind of see his point. Huh. Wow. Maybe he's got…huh." It introduces other people's ideas to your mind in a much more friendly manner. 

BE: You know, actually, my favorite part of the album is probably the bonus Q&A section that you've tacked on at the very end. 

JR: (somewhat surprised) That's your favorite part? 

BE: Well, yeah, I really like it! I mean, I know it's less of a routine than just you conversationally answering the audience's questions, but it's got a really great flow to it. 

JR: It was fun to do. I like doing that at shows. It's one of my favorite things to do, just to have people yell shit out. 

BE: Is that totally off the cuff, or do you tend to get the same questions enough that you have kind of a stock response to some of them? 

JR: No, it's definitely off the cuff. I don't have prepared responses for the questions, but, y'know, some questions I've answered before, so I know what to say, but I like them hitting me with curve balls and asking me weird questions. A lot of times, it's the same things over and over, like (affects dumb-guy voice) "Who comes up with the 'Fear Factor' stuff? A-burr-ba-burr-ba-burrrrr" Then it gets a little tired. But for the most part, I mean, people will yell out some weird shit! 

BE: Which reminds me, I do really love the bit at the beginning of the album where you talk all about working on "Fear Factor." That's extremely hilarious. 

JR: Thanks. 

BE: In fact, you talk about how people think of you as "the 'Fear Factor' guy." So is it good or bad that some people still just think of you fondly as "the 'NewsRadio' guy"? 

"I watched (an episode of 'NewsRadio') the other day, and I didn't even know what the fuck was going on! I had no idea. Jokes were coming out of my mouth, and I had never heard them before! It was very strange. It's very strange seeing myself, too. It's like a time machine. It's, like, 'Is that even really me?' It's so weird, y'know?" JR: Um, well, it's all good. There's no real bad to it. I mean, even when I say that it's bad that people think of me as "the 'Fear Factor' guy," who cares? Is it really that important? They know who I am. I mean, it's an interesting situation that a lot of people don't really know I'm a comedian, even though I've been doing comedy for 18 years now. But it's not bad. Y'know? It's still okay. It's still fun. 

BE: Actually, I just finished writing up the last season of "NewsRadio," and I was very pleased to find that the episodes from that season hold up better than I'd really remembered. But I'm guessing that's partly to do with the amount of time that's passed since Phil Hartman's death. 

JR: Right. Yeah, plus the amount of time makes them all new again. I watched one the other day, and I didn't even know what the fuck was going on! I had no idea. Jokes were coming out of my mouth, and I had never heard them before! It was very strange. It's very strange seeing myself, too. It's like a time machine. It's, like, "Is that even really me?" It's so weird, y'know? 

BE: Did you enjoy doing the commentary on the other sets? 

JR: You know, I did and I didn't. Part of it I enjoyed. I would've rather have done it just with the actors; I didn't want to do it with the producer. That was a little annoying. The producer we did it with, this guy Josh Lieb, I think it would've been better if we'd just had the actors sitting around talking, but I guess they wanted some sort of a structure to it. 

BE: Yeah, he drives the commentaries on this set, too. There's a constant discussion with Andy Dick about how he claims you hated him. 

JR: Yeah, well, that's what I'm talking about. They're just trying to get drama going. It's just silly. I'd rather just sit around and just talk about stuff. 

BE: I've got one more "NewsRadio" question, and then I'm off it. There's a lot of talk on this last set about how if the show had continued for a sixth season, it would've moved to take place in New Hampshire. Do you ever wonder how that would've panned out, or were you happy enough leaving Joe Garrelli behind at that point? 

JR: You know, it was a really enjoyable show to work on, and it was a very unusual show to work on. It's very rare that you get to do a sitcom that is actually funny. I mean, so many sitcoms are funny for morons, but they're not funny for everybody. It's just…they're not smart enough, y'know? In so many sitcoms, the clichés and…they just get watered down by the networks and what people think the networks want, and that kind of stuff. It's just so rare that you get to not just do a sitcom that is a lot of fun to do and is very funny, but that you get to do with such talented people. The opportunities are so rare. I really cherished my time there. And I used to talk about it to them all the time! Someone would be complaining that the script got there late or whatever, and I'd be, like, "Do you guys have any idea how lucky we are? We're on TV, first of all. That's huge! And second of all, this is actually a funny show!" It's just so unusual. So, I mean, I think it ended at the right time. It would've been fun to keep doing it, we all wanted to keep doing it, and we were all sad when it ended. But I think that, in hindsight, it's probably best that it ended when it ended. 

BE: You've been working with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in one capacity or another, as either post-fight interviewer or color commentator, since 1997. How did you get hooked up with them in the first place? 

JR: Um, I got hooked up with them on kind of a whim. My manager is friends with Campbell McClaren, who was one of the original producers of the UFC before this new company, Zuffa, took over. He knew my manager, and they needed some new guy to do post-fight interviews, so it was just a total freak connection. They asked me if I would do it, and I came out. My first one was in Dothan, Ala. I think it was actually in '96. 

On his proposed fight with Wesley Snipes: "I think that when the actual real fight became a reality, the thought of getting his fucking face smashed in on television didn't seem like such a good idea, especially when I was willing to do it!"

BE: Damn you, Wikipedia! You've given me bad information again! 

JR: (laughs) Well, '96 or '97, whichever it was. It might be '97, I dunno. It was in that area. And I did it for…I think I did it for two years back then. That was the UFC's dark period, where they were banned from cable and every show was in the middle of nowhere, and the only place you could watch it was on satellite. I quit, and then Zuffa bought the company in 2001, and they would get tickets and give them to celebrities so they'd sit ringside and add some credibility to the show. And I came down, I came to a couple of them, and Dana White – who was the president – and I became friends, and he saw how excited I was about the fighting, and how passionate I was about it and how I would talk about it all the time. And they asked to interview me. I did an interview where I would just talk very…I just know a lot about the sport. It's really the only sport that I follow! And from there, he asked me to do some commentary, and I just wound up really enjoying it. And that's it. Now I do it all the time. 

BE: You touch on it a little bit at the end of your CD, but what was the story on the fight between you and Wesley Snipes that never happened? 

JR: Well, according to him, it's all bullshit. But according to Campbell McClaren, he was talking to Wesley directly, and they were organizing a fight. I sense, obviously, from all the stuff in the news, that he's in some financial problems, and I think he thought it would be a possibility to have a fight with somebody and beat somebody up and make a couple of million bucks. But, uh, I think that when the actual real fight became a reality, the thought of getting his fucking face smashed in on television didn't seem like such a good idea, especially when I was willing to do it! So who knows? I dunno. I haven't talked to Wesley, so I don't know directly what happened. 

BE: And you've got your internet show, The Joe Show. Have you thought about maybe collecting all of those episodes onto a DVD, or are you just going to leave them out there for people to watch online? 

JR: I would rather have it for free. Y'know? I don't want to make it something where people have to pay for it. I actually enjoy having it out there for free. Ideally, stuff like that is really just, (A) a fun thing to do, and (B) a promotional vehicle to get people excited, to keep people tuning into my website, keep showing up at the clubs, buying my CDs, and stuff like that. So I'd definitely rather have it for free. 

BE: Do you have a favorite episode? 

Joe Rogan Interview, Shiny Happy Jihad InterviewJR: Um, y'know, I like a bunch of them. I like number one, because it's the one dealing with the knucklehead who wants to believe that he's found Noah's ark. I thought that was fascinating. The last one was really fun, too, when we had the guy with no arms and no legs driving me around Texas. (laughs) It was fun, just because it just shows how much of a good time we really have on the road. I mean, doing stand-up on the road, for many people, can be a very lonely proposition. I have a lot of friends who really don't enjoy it at all. They go on the road, they do stand-up in all these different towns and they work with all these comedians that they don't like, and after the show's over, they go on the internet or watch TV and they're bored out of their minds, and they hate it. And the way I do it, I go on the road with a bunch of my friends. That's what "The Joe Show" is all about. We just go, we film it, and we all have fun. We go to different places to eat, and we go out and we drink, we go smoke some pot and have some fun and goof on people, and just have a great time. And that's really what it's all about. And we make friends all over the country. 

BE: You're also making the radio show rounds. I know you were on Penn Gillette's (now-defunct) radio show, where you were offering your thoughts on the Apollo moon landing "hoax." 

JR: Yeah! (laughs) Yeah, the moon landing thing, that's, that's a fascinating subject, man. What's really fascinating is not just how little evidence there really is that we actually went to the moon, and how many people actually believe it, but how their reaction is when you say that we didn't possibly go. It's really like you're questioning their religion! And the crazy thing is, I've had some arguments with really intelligent people about it who act like I'm a fucking moron. They'll go crazy, and I'm, like, "Wait a minute, have you looked into this? Have you looked into this at all?" And I'm not saying that I'm right. I'm not saying that we definitely didn't go. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that when you look at it, there's some shady shit going on! 

"Mitzi Shore created The Comedy Store. And what you have now is her fucking son and her son's friend running it, and they want to treat it and they want to be treated with the same kind of reverence that they gave Mitzi…and they're fucking crazy! They don't deserve it!  

BE: (laughs

JR: A friend of mine's dad worked at Lockheed during the '60s, and he says that when that Apollo moon landing stuff was going on, no one at Lockheed believed it was real. All the people, all the engineers he worked with, they thought it was fake. They thought it was all some Hollywood bullshit that they concocted to win the Cold War. 

BE: (Unable to restrain another laugh.

JR: Dude, I know. I know it sounds crazy. But that's one of the gifts that I have, that I don't mind looking like a retard. Like, I know who I am. I know what I am. If you think that I'm retarded because I don't think that people landed on the moon, it doesn't bother me that much, but I'll sit and I'll talk to you about it. And when you talk about it, when you go into depth about the subject, it's not cut and dried. It's not cut and dried one way or the other. It's very, very, very suspicious. The fact that we haven't been back since 1972, that they haven't even done a drive-by, or a fly-by, rather, and the fact that no human being – except the Apollo astronauts – has ever gone past more than 400 miles outside of Earth's atmosphere? There's a lot of weird shit, man. The fact that they took these years during the apex of a 20-year solar cycle, and they freely admit, all the experts freely admit that, at any one point and time, there could've been a solar flare and everyone on the mission would've been dead. And no-one had a problem with that? They just flew people up there during that time? Y'know, the fact that there's zero shielding to protect them from meteorites, nothing to protect them from solar flares, nothing to protect them from the extreme cold and heat. I mean, they were on the surface of the moon for three days with the equivalent of, like, seven car batteries to keep the temperature regulated inside the web. And you're talking about something that, in the sun, it's 250 degrees, and in the shade, it's 250 degrees below zero. There's a lot of weird stuff with the moon landing, man. A lot of weird stuff. The fact that Neil Armstrong doesn't talk to anybody about it, refuses to give public interviews, and when he does give private interviews, he gives, like, these little speeches at NASA and stuff like that, he gives some the most cryptic fucking speeches! He gave this one, I wrote it down. I have it, actually, on my computer at home. Hold on a second, let me find it, because it's so ridiculous, you gotta listen to it. 

BE: All right. 

JR: OK, here it is. When he came back, he became a recluse, and he refuses to give public interviews, but he gave this one at the 25th anniversary of NASA's moon landing, and it's one of the craziest fucking speeches ever. (pauses) Hold on, let me find it here. Okay, here you go. "Today, we have with us a group of students among America's best. To you, we say, we've only created a beginning. We leave you much that is undone. There are great ideas to be discovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of truth's hidden layers." (a few beats of silence) What the fuck is that

BE: (bursts into laughter

JR: That's his speech! You know how crazy that is? This is the guy…this is the first man on the fucking moon! He came back from the moon, and what did he do? Did he go on talk shows? Did he interview? Did he sit down with people? Did he say, "It was fantastic! I can't believe that I was on another planet! It was very surreal. I mean, it was mind-boggling. I was on the moon. I mean, I can't even believe that I was on another planet! I was the first man in human fucking history to set foot on another body outside of Earth!" Does he say that? 

BE: Nope. 

JR: No! He says, "When we can remove one of truth's hidden layers." What the fuck does that mean? This is a guy who doesn't even give interviews. He won't give interviews! That's just insanity! You couldn't shut me up! If I got back from the moon, every day, I'd be, like, "I was on the fucking moon, man! Did I tell you I was on the moon?" I'd be getting my groceries and, "Dude, by the way, I was on the moon. I'll take a pound of oranges, and I was on the moon." 

BE: "And, also, do I get an I-was-on-the-moon discount?" 

"Ninety-nine percent of the stuff that comes out of (Carlos Mencia's) mouth is coming from somewhere else. And for every Bill Cosby clip that you find on the internet (that Mencia has plagiarized), there are 30 Latino kids that you've never heard of that do comedy in L.A. that wanna fucking kill him."JR: Yeah! I mean, it's all very, very, very, very strange, y'know? It's one of those weird things about life, just like religion, or just like politics, or just like war, where so many don't really want to question it. So many don't really want to look into it all. If we were all very objective and didn't have all these preconceived notions about the Apollo moon landing, that would be a gigantic subject of debate that should be on television all the time. They should have all these people reviewing it, they should have some serious scientists going into it. But if you're a serious scientist, to even question it even for just a second, people look at you like you're a fucking quack! I mean, it can really hurt you. It can hurt your funding, it can hurt your credentials, and it can hurt you if you want to get grants to propose some new study. "Yeah, this is the guy who doesn't think we went to the moon." "Yeah, fuck him!" I mean, really. It could be a career killer. But as a comedian, it's not a career killer. So as crazy as it sounds, the guy to question whether or not we went to the moon isn't gonna be a Ph.D. or a scientist. It's gonna be a fucking comedian. And if you listen to the debate with me and the moon landing guy , the nuttiest thing is that I get him. The nuttiest thing is that I've got this guy stammering, and I've got this guy looking for answers and confused. I'm a fucking comedian, and I'm talking to a Ph.D. who runs a site called that's dedicated to disproving the theory that we didn't go, disproving the hoaxsters, the people that believe it's a hoax. And I've got him stammering. That's just crazy. 

BE: Yeah, it seems like it doesn't exactly bode well for his position, actually. 

JR: Well, the whole thing doesn't bode well. It's just very weird. It's a very weird subject. (Pauses) Y'see? I just go on tangents. 

BE: There you go. And I'll just close with a one-liner: are you still on the shit list at The Comedy Store (Writer's note: word on the street is that Rogan is banned from the legendary L.A. comedy club for violating their request that he not film his internet reality show there.

JR: Well, you know what, man? The Comedy Store's not The Comedy Store anymore. I mean, what used to be The Comedy Store is now just a club. I mean, it's run by a bunch of people. It's not run by Mitzi Shore, and Mitzi Shore created The Comedy Store. And what you have now is her fucking son (yes, he's talking about Pauly) and her son's friend running it, and they want to treat it and they want to be treated with the same kind of reverence that they gave Mitzi, and they're fucking crazy! They don't deserve it! Now, all that place is, is just a spot. A spot with a microphone where there's an audience. I mean, the history, all that stuff behind it, that history, all the reverence that people gave to that place was all based around Mitzi Shore, was based around her taking that place and forming all these great comics there. Sam Kinison, and having Richard Pryor perform there, and David Letterman, and the fact that she resisted the rest of the industry and she wanted the comics to be able to do whatever the fuck they wanted to do and just go wild. I mean, she created that place. It's hers. She's, basically, she's not there anymore. She's very ill, and she's not running it. So, now, you've got these shitheads who support plagiarists, and that's what you've got there now. You've got these guys that want you to treat them like you're doing something special to work for free for them. I mean, it's mind-boggling. So am I on the shit list? Yeah, sure, I guess. Whatever. It doesn't matter. It's not even The Comedy Store anymore. That's just a spot on Sunset. It's, like, if Al's Bar and Grill had a stage, and they had a microphone, and they expected you to work for free and kiss their ass. That's basically what's going on there. It's not The Comedy Store. 

BE: All right, well, I'll try to keep you as close to on schedule as possible. 

JR: (surprised laugh) Oh! OK, man. Anything else? 

BE: Um, (considers, then thinks better of it) Nah, 'cause I know what I'm not supposed to ask about, so I'll be good. 

JR: What are you not supposed to ask about? 

BE: (hesitates) I'm not supposed to ask about Carlos (Mencia). 

JR: Who says you're not supposed to ask about it? 

BE: (hesitates again) I received word that it was preferable if I do not. 

JR: You know, dude, you can ask about it. It doesn't bother me.  

BE: OK then. So what's your position on what went down? 

JR: Well, my position on it is what it's always been -- he's a plagiarist. It's pretty obvious. I mean, if you look at the Bill Cosby stuff, and if you looked at some of the newer stuff that's come out, where he stole a Sam Kinison routine and did it on "Mind of Mencia," it's, y'know, it's always been obvious to comedians that he's a plagiarist. He's been doing it from the beginning. He's not a very bright guy. If you listen to him talk and you listen to him trying to defend himself, he's a fucking idiot. I mean, he's trying to spin words, and he doesn't have a good vocabulary, he doesn't have a good grasp of the language. He's a very good performer with other people's shit. That's what he is. And these companies, like Gersch and Comedy Central, they have created an industry around this person, and it's because it's effective. He's effective at getting people to buy tickets to see his shows, he's effective at getting people to tune into his show, so they're using it as a product. But if you have respect for the art form, it's a tremendous insult to the art form, because what you're doing is, you're promoting thievery. It's no different than if they were selling stolen cars. It's the same thing. Ninety-nine percent of the stuff that comes out of that guy's mouth is coming from somewhere else. And for every Bill Cosby clip that you find on the internet, there are 30 Latino kids that you've never heard of that do comedy in L.A. that wanna fucking kill him. And that's real. And that's my position. And it's very unfortunate that that stuff is allowed to happen, but you know what? I think he might be the last one. I think because of what's going on with him, and because of the internet, the internet is changing the whole landscape. The internet has effectively turned a light on all the roaches. You can't just steal material anymore; it's not that simple. Now when you steal material, people will compare the two bits, and then when you go to clubs, guess what? They're gonna shout shit out! You go to clubs, y'know, you show up at The Comedy Store one night -- which has obviously been happening! -- you show up at these clubs and you start doing stand-up, someone's gonna go, "Hey, what about Bill Cosby, man? Why you stealin' his shit?" And that's what's supposed to happen! And, eventually, there's not gonna be guys like him anymore. You're gonna have to actually be an artist, or, if you're just a very good performer and you can't write your own material, then hire somebody, man! Pay for jokes! There's guys out there who'll sell you jokes! 

BE: Okay, I'll try and end on a more upbeat note: who would you say are some of the more original voices in stand-up right now? 

"I think Dane Cook is actually a very good performer, but I think Dane is appealing towards people that don't necessarily represent how he actually thinks. I think he's trying to, like, make himself into something that 20-year-old fat girls love."

JR: There are some great stand-ups right now. This is a great, great time for stand-up comedy. Dave Chappelle is very brilliant. He's an incredible comedian. I saw him recently at The Comedy Store, and, I mean, he's one of those guys who, when you go see him, just makes you wanna go home and write. You just go, "Fuck, I need to write some new shit!" Dave Attell, he's another guy. Brilliant. Very funny. Louis CK is fucking hilarious. His new HBO special is one of the funniest specials that I think I've ever seen. I laughed really hard at that. And I see him in clubs all the time, and he's always killing me. Doug Stanhope is great right now; he's the guy that I did the horrible version of "The Man Show" with, but he's a brilliant comedian. Who else? There's a gang of them! Of course, Chris Rock, y'know? There's just a bunch of great comics right now. This is a great time to be a fan of stand-up comedy, once we just, uh, clear out a few problems. 

BE: (laughs) Speaking of Louis CK, I know you've accused Dane Cook of thieving from him in the past. But even putting that aside, what do you think of Cook? Do you think he's overrated as a comedian? I mean, I know he's pretty much the biggest comedian in America right now, but… 

JR: I think Dane Cook is actually a very good performer, but I think Dane is appealing towards people that don't necessarily represent how he actually thinks. I think he's trying to, like, make himself into something that 20-year-old fat girls love. (cackles) But what he is is a genius marketer. I think his success has shown a lot of comedians the value of marketing yourself on the internet. I know he's definitely changed the way I look at things. 

BE: Oh, yeah, definitely with MySpace. He's got, what, like, a million and a half friends? 

JR: I was friends with Dane for a long time. Dane and I used to work together back in Boston years and years ago. He's a very ambitious guy, he always has been. And sometimes, people who are very ambitious, they blind themselves with that ambition, and I think that's probably what happened with him. If you listen to the clips on the internet of him stealing bits from Louis CK, that's also pretty obvious. It's also pretty unfortunate. But I think he'll recover from it better than Mencia will. I think Mencia's audience, basically, has been reduced to people so fucking stupid that they don't care if you steal material, and people without an internet connection. That's what's going on now. I think Cook is always going to be funny. I saw him do a set recently at The Improv, and it was actually very funny, and it seemed very original. 

BE: Anything else you want to add before we close? 

JR: Comedy is easily the coolest fucking job on the planet, and in my opinion, it's my favorite art form to watch. I love it. I love everything about it. It's great. It makes people feel better. Literally, you communicate and you make people feel better, and it makes the person doing it feel better. You express yourself, you get all the love from all these people, and everybody's happy, and they all laugh. And it's just a really fucking cool art form. And after all the other things that I've done in my career, after all the sitcoms and hosting game shows and stuff like that -- and I still get offers to do stupid shit like that all the time, especially the game show type stuff -- and I think that I'm very fortunate to have seen both sides, to see the TV success and stand-up comedy, and know that stand-up comedy is just way better in every aspect. It's way more enjoyable to watch, it's way more enjoyable to perform. It's just the coolest fucking job ever.