Contestants on the verge of drowning, falling out of planes without parachutes, and eating the grossest substances on Earth – who wouldn’t want to tune into this early 2000’s television show every week?
While the stunts in Fear Factor were entertaining, the host of the show, Joe Rogan, saw beyond the surface.
Fear Factor’s first episode aired on June 11, 2001 and ran until September 12, 2006, when Rogan left the show. He then returned to the show for a revival airing from December 11, 2011 until July 16, 2012. This revival season lasted less than a year before Rogan finally said enough was enough and left the show for good.
Joe Rogan is now known for his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, where he brings on guests to talk about all aspects of life including one past part of his life, Fear Factor. When discussing the show with guests, Joe leads with how he took the show as a joke from the beginning.
He explains that “It was a preposterous show, from the jump, and always thought it was going to be canceled.” Rogan didn’t have high hopes from the start. He even showed up high for his audition, assuming it was a show that was sure to be quickly cancelled.
Rogan’s low expectations for the show did not come to fruition and 5 seasons later, all Rogan could think was “It was the same thing over and over again.” Rogan wasn’t opposed to the morals of the show. He states that when he was broke, he too “would have let you throw puke in (his) face,” for money. Rogan stepped away from the show in 2006 simply due to a boredom with the repetitive stunts on the show.
Rogan had no plans to return to the show that made him a household name. However, when the show offered him more money for a reboot season, Rogan couldn’t refuse. Rogan had started to settle down and have kids and he couldn’t refuse the influx of money he would make.
However, quickly after returning, he remembers thinking, “this is a mistake. This is a mistake. I don’t like it.” Luckily for him, the network didn’t like the show either. An episode was leaked by TMZ before its premiere date of contestants doing unspeakable things. The bad press from this forced the show to go off the air, only less than a year after the reboot.
Fear Factor filled the nation with a crude source of entertainment that was nearly impossible to look away from. Joe Rogan became a family name from the game show, but for him, it was an easy way to make money. With so many disgusting, terrifying, and shocking stunts it’s a surprise that Rogan didn’t jump ship sooner.