UFC commentator and comedian Joe Rogan has a podcast he does a few times a week. It's technically a comedy podcast, but so much of his life appears to be MMA or the martial arts that the topic naturally creeps in. If you've never seen it, I recommend give it a look. I recall Rogan being a big fan of Tom Green's idea that he could be a fascist about his own content if he removed television networks and executives out of the control process. Rogan hosts the show in his Los Angeles living room (although with nice enough hardware) and ropes in other comedians, fighters and his celebrity friends to be guests.
The atmosphere is never stuffy. Rogan's guests are friends or close acquaintances, so the atmosphere is open and informative without tight direction. The show usually runs two hours, which also gives conversations or interesting topics room to breathe.
Yesterday his guest was MMA legend, TV host, former King of Pancrase and former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten. It was coincidentally my favorite podcast Rogan has ever done. Rogan's interviewing skills are completely underrated by the MMA world, generally because he's forced to talk to fighters in precisely the opposite environment his podcast offers. But that isn't really what sells the show even if it helped push it along.
Rogan pulls the fascinating from Rutten, facilitated not only by the environment but an insider's knowledge of where to look. Rutten shares stories of bar fighting, dealing with injuries, the mental architecture of fights or fighters, the rise and fall of PRIDE, the future of Andrei Arlovski and myriad other topics. Rogan politely and appropriately interjects with interesting stories or perspectives of his own, which gives the interview a more conversational, natural feel. The entire experience is buoyed by the mutual respect and admiration both men share for one another.
This is the best Rutten has ever come across by my judgment. Some prefer the Bas Rutten wacky shtick on television, but a more even-keeled Rutten is more reflective, open and meaningful forthcoming. Rutten has a wealth of information, perspective and stories to share which can only be accessed when the tone of the exchange is more sober.
This podcast isn't just candid or interesting or plain fun. It's also a testament to the format and entertainment construct Rogan (and Tom Green) believe in. And I can't recommend it enough.