Joe Rogan on Language Learning: Disappointing in My View - Steve Kaufmann

Someone sent me a few video clips recently of Joe Rogan discussing language learning with his guests. There is something in the attitude in these clips that bothers me as a language learning enthusiast.


I have a few surprising notes to share here so I hope Steve might look in.

Firstly, to be fair Joe actually does research for his shows though he has an assistant who helps. He is also very observant on trying to keep his body healthy so he’s quite aware on those things himself. Honestly I think you going on his show would be a great moment. The way Joe got into Martial Arts and became so engaged and a part of it makes him honestly ideal for language learning if properly approached and getting him plugged in and engaged properly. His passion in that sense would be all in. I would be willing to at least donate a $1 towards Joe getting onto lingq if you went on his show and offered it to him. This is not a joke at all, I am very positive you could change his mind.
My only advice to you when you do it, drop all the preconceptions at the door.

Anyway regarding his show I have listened to it and people, not you, have a habit of cherrypicking things to make him look bad. He has a comedian and real journalist lens for truth and in these days that really pisses off a lot of people. Joe is imperfect and can be wrong and has admitted as such. He has also thrown people off his show whom he thought was grifting(new word for an old thing, a conman).

I listened to his show in clips and long form and I less listen just for Joe but for his guests. Lex Friedman, who has been on Joe’s show, has a show like Joe has but more subdued in his interview presentation. Lex you might quite like and find interesting as well.

Lastly I agree with your assessment of his English proficiency. I would most definitely not recommend him to an English language learner until they are at C1 or C2. This would be for entertainment or informative purposes.


Agree with everything AlwaysSarang said. Here’s a couple of additional thoughts.

You have to understand that the show format is intentionally loose. In most cases it’s just two or more people having a conversation about anything. Even when guests of a certain expertise are on, or an actor, or a singer, or a comedian…the range of conversation doesn’t necessarily land on their subject of expertise-especially if they’ve been on the show more than once. So that’s where you can have here, two people talking about a subject that they may not have any expertise in and generally sounding rather dumb. In general, I think it makes the format fun…because it’s just two people having a conversation. Like two friends. That’s why the language can be a little “coarser” too. Also, Rogan will readily admit he’s a dumb meathead and you shouldn’t take his word…Although that’s easy to say, but when he has as many followers as he has, he is very influential despite being a meathead which can be concerning.

For myself I enjoy the show, but I’ll only listen to certain guests that I think I’ll find interesting. Nowadays, it’s fewer and fewer and I feel more so than ever that Joe’s very easily swayed by the latest conspiracy theories or easily influenced by some of his “experts” that are sometimes peddling nonsense.

Other times, he has some pretty good experts and the conversations can be very interesting. Or if it’s a celebrity on, it’s interesting to see a more human side than what you’d see on the screen or in a typical interview with the news. The long format of the interviews and loose nature really lend themselves to this.

Anyway, not for everyone, but you might take a look at the archives and see if there’s any guests you might find interesting and potentially give it another shot. Or not =)


lol so funny to get Steve’s take on Rogan.
I like Joe Rogan but I see how Steve came away with the negative impression that he did.

Being more familiar with Joe I’d say in his defense that he looks for admirable qualities in others and that he does seem to hold language learning in high esteem.

As for him making exaggerated claims I would point out that his podcast is about conversing with interesting guests for 2+ hours so the audience can get to know them in an multifaceted and intimate way. So I’d say that what sound like exaggerated claims are actually more like conversation prompts.

Also Joe’s not the uninformed meathead he appears to be. Over the course of a dozen years and thousands of podcasts he’s been in deep conversations with a wide range of authors, politicians, and scientists. Surprising to say but he might be more ‘well-read’ than… well basically anybody.

1 Like

Oh yeah good call mentioning Lex.

I was thinking: ‘who in the Intellectual Dark Web is interested in language learning?’
and now that you mention Lex I’m reminded that his first language is Russian and that occasionally he uses it in his show.

1 Like

One legitimate critique of him I heard was that he has fewer women intellectuals on, scientists and so on. That being said, if Joe realized he screws up on something like this I think he’d fix this, on his terms. Like he’s not going to invite some guest in said field just because, he has to find them interesting.

Regarding certain more edgy subsets with Joe and CNN, that was a particularly thorny issue that cast Joe in a bad light. They even manipulated video of how Joe appeared, in terms of the lighting. There are other instances outside of this in addition from my experience. Hopefully it is limited to only CNN in the US.

I’ll leave it at that.

1 Like

He’s often had Rhonda Patrick on as a medical expert and Abby Martin for news takes, but you are probably right, most of the “expert” guests have tended to be guys. I’ve never felt that he’s been dismissive of women or their opinions though.

I do agree CNN did treat him unfairly and inaccurately represented his positions–whatever one thinks about his position regarding covid/vax/etc.