People Tell Me I Look Like Han Solo.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
  DVD Review: Joe Rogan - Talking Monkeys In Space

I guess I’m what you’d call a Joe Rogan fan. I quite enjoy his color commentary on the UFC, and I own a couple of his comedy albums. And though I never watched Fear Factor, I really liked his work on Newsradio. A lot of people who only know him either as the Fear Factor or UFC guy may not realize he’s actually a stand-up comedian, and he’s spent the last few years re-establishing himself as a comic, including this TV special, which originally aired on Spike TV last year. But DVD is really the place to experience Talking Monkeys In Space, as Rogan’s comedy gets pretty raunchy at times, and it sort of ruins the flow when every other word out of his mouth is bleeped. I caught the special on Spike when it first aired, and thought it was okay. But watching it uncensored on DVD was a lot funnier. (What can I say? I think swearing is funny.)

The main reason I like Rogan’s comedy so much is that it’s smart. His material isn’t really political (“pot should be legal” is about as traditionally politically-charged as his stuff gets), but he talks a lot about society and human development (the title refers to us, riding on what he calls “a giant rock flying through space”), and I’ve always been fascinated by that sort of big-picture stuff. Add to that the fact that Rogan’s just damn funny, and you’ve got a comedian who’s stuff is right up my alley.

Rogan’s actually one of the sharper comics I’ve seen, certainly much more thoughtful than his goonish, fratboy image lets on. Talking Monkeys In Space covers topics ranging from evolution, religion, drugs (a lot about drugs), telepathy, having a baby and the inevitability of death. And Dr. Phil. All of it’s very funny, but naturally, it’s probably not for everyone (i.e. Dane Cook fans). But if you’re a fan of smart, raunchy comedy, this is pretty great stuff.

Also included on Talking Monkeys In Space is an extended Q&A session that took place after the main show, exclusive to this DVD. It runs almost 30 minutes, and, a few awkward audience-interaction moments aside, it’s almost as funny and interesting as Rogan’s act. (One of my favorite moments is Rogan mocking the first questioner, who tries to impress him with some inside-baseball MMA questions before an audience that largely seems uninterested.) Overall I was impressed with how interesting the Q&A stuff was, especially considering its length, but it’s more than just padding for the DVD.



There’s a pair of short featurettes on the DVD, one a behind-the-scenes piece about Rogan’s life as a travelling stand-up comedian, and it sort of touches on the world of comedy and Rogan’s take on it (I have some friends who’ve done comedy, and I find the world of stand-up pretty fascinating). It follows him working out and preparing for the show on the DVD.

‘Talking Monkeys In Columbus’ is more about the preparation for the show itself, including a show he did at a smaller club the night before he recorded his special. Neither is mind-blowing (they’re actually fairly similar, and likely could have been combined into one longer mini-documentary) but as a fan of Rogan’s, I thought it was sort of fun watching him crack wise with his buddies in vans and hotel lobbies. But overall this is a pretty nice DVD package for a quality comedy special.

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