By Tyler Davidson
By Tyler Davidson
“You mean the guy from Fear Factor is a comedian?”
This is likely to be a sentiment echoed many times over with the release of Joe Rogan’s “Shiny Happy Jihad.” Although Rogan is most widely known for his role as the host of NBC’s “Fear Factor,” he has been a fixture on the stand-up comedy scene for several years.
His latest offering, “Shiny Happy Jihad,” is his first in nearly seven years, and touches on a number of subjects, from terrorism to “Brokeback Mountain” to the story of Noah’s Ark.
As a whole, the album is hilarious. Rogan’s energetic style hits hard right out of the gate with his opening rant, in which he claims the only reason he agreed to do “Fear Factor” was because he thought it would never last. He delivers his punchlines in an intelligent way without beating you over the head with the point.
While funny, however, some bits can just run a bit too long. For example, on the disc, Rogan performs a bit in which he plays the role of both himself and his girlfriend getting into a fight.
The initial humor is there with Rogan amplifying the more irritating characteristics of his girlfriend’s voice, but after a few minutes, it starts to feel as if a whole new comedian has taken the stage, and the essence of the joke is lost. It stops being funny, and the only thought left in the listener’s mind ends up being “Please, get to the next joke already.”
The same can be said for Rogan’s bit on Noah’s Ark. It is smart and well-crafted, but his point of the story being highly implausible (which he takes several minutes to deliver) is done through the voice of a mentally challenged child. Again, funny at first, but the effect wears off considerably after a few minutes, and transcends into plain old annoyance.
Conspicuous by its absence on the album is any mention of Rogan’s nemesis, Carlos Mencia. Recorded in mid-2006, the CD would have been a perfect forum to blast Mencia on, given Rogan’s mission against his joke-stealing ways. It’s a good thing, too, as such a “soapbox” moment surely would have diminished the impact of the album.
On “Shiny Happy Jihad,” Joe Rogan proves that he is an innovative and intelligent comic. He possesses a fervent intensity that brings to mind the glory days of explosive comics like Sam Kinison, while maintaining integrity during his performances. At the end of the day, it is reassuring to know that Joe Rogan isn’t just good for making people eat bulls’ testicles.