The level of concentration one needs to prevent having his head caved in is not only enlightening to Rogan. He also believes it’s essential to his humanity. “No matter how civilized we are and how much society has curbed violent behavior,” he says, “human beings still have the same genes they had 10,000 years ago. Our bodies are designed to have a certain amount of physical stress and violence in them. We’re designed to run from jaguars and fight to defend our territory. We’re hardwired with all this shit that you really can’t deny if you want to be a balanced human being.”
To truly be in control of yourself, he says, you have to address the need to strike and be struck. Keeping his edge and being honest with himself is key to Rogan’s outlook. Acting, he says, clashes with this philosophy. “The two things I understand best are stand-up comedy and martial arts. And those things require an ultimate grasp of the truth. You have to be objective about your skills and abilities to compete in both. But acting is a make-believe world. [Actors] all want an incredible amount of attention, and they all take themselves so seriously.”
In fact, Rogan says his former NewsRadio castmate Andy Dick (renowned for his tabloid-level bad behavior) is representative of the type of actor who quelled Rogan’s desire to perform and drove him to Fear Factor. “[Actors] talk about their work as if they’re saving lives. I’m like, ‘My God, we’re doing pretend!’” Another actor Rogan took issue with was Wesley Snipes. When the government was investigating Snipes for tax evasion, the actor challenged Rogan to a cage fight to air on TV.
According to Rogan, Snipes was looking for a quick payday to alleviate his IRS debt and picked the wrong celebrity to call out. Rogan trained religiously for five months in preparation for the bout but says Snipes backed out shortly before fight night.
“I think when he researched it and found out I’d been doing martial arts my whole life, he realized I was going to choke the shit out of him,” Rogan says. “If I’d fought Wesley Snipes, I was 99.9% convinced all I had to do was grab that guy and choke the fucking life out of him.”