For millions of people, 11 hours of 'The Joe Rogan Experience', the controversial, immensely popular show on Spotify, just isn't enough to get them through the week. To get more of their favourite podcast, they turn to Adam Thorne, the creator and host of 'Joe Rogan Experience Review'.
Every week, Thorne and his co-host Garrett Hess share their favourite moments from Rogan's hit show, revisiting its funniest bits, debating its best interviews and chewing over its most outlandish ideas, while occasionally sprinkling in their own thoughts on related topics such as stand-up comedy, hunting and the state of the media.
In many ways, 'Joe Rogan Experience Review' resembles the new genre of recap podcasts that cater to die-hard fans of particular TV series by feverishly analysing every juicy new turn of drama. At the start of some episodes of 'Joe Rogan Experience Review', an announcer's voice tells listeners that Thorne's programme is like 'Talking Dead' to Joe Rogan's 'The Walking Dead'.
In an interview, Thorne says he's been an avid fan of 'The Joe Rogan Experience', since it debuted in 2009. "I always found myself holding discussions about what was on his show and what we liked about it," Thorne said. "I was fascinated by how he ran the whole show. So I thought, why not discuss that?"
Thorne's podcast has no official affiliation with Rogan's show but it is starting to put up Rogan-like numbers. In early February, it peaked at No. 6 on the Apple podcast charts and briefly became one of the 100 most popular podcasts in the world, according to Chartable.
It's a testament to the power of Rogan's fanbase that a podcast about his podcast draws a larger audience than almost everything else in a booming market, including countless programmes hosted by other famous comedians. It's also another reminder of why Spotify Technology SA has been unwilling to dump Rogan despite a fierce backlash from artists like Neil Young who are upset with the host and his backers for spreading vaccine misinformation.
At first, Thorne knew nothing about podcasting. In his early episodes, he would talk for about 10 minutes at a time reviewing the latest offering from Rogan. The results often sounded amateurish and attracted few listeners.
Thorne kept experimenting. After about a year, he settled on a formula that he still uses today. He added a co-host and rather than review every show, he began compressing his reviews into one weekly episode that goes on for about an hour.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, Thorne's show steadily added listeners. The programme really took off in 2020 when Rogan signed an exclusive deal with Spotify. By the second half of the year, Rogan's podcast had disappeared from other platforms. People using Apple's podcast app or Amazon Music could suddenly no longer find 'The Joe Rogan Experience. But they could find 'Joe Rogan Experience Review'. Thorne's audience ballooned.
"When he went over to Spotify is when I started getting much bigger numbers," Thorne said.
Established podcasting companies like Podcorn and Gumball work with Thorne to help monetise his show, which speaks to the same core demographic as Rogan's: men between the ages of 18 and 45. Many of the same advertisers for Rogan's show, such as ExpressVPN, now also buy air time on 'Joe Rogan Experience Review'.
Thorne wouldn't disclose how much money he makes from the podcast. But he is earning enough from advertisements that he doesn't have to work another job. One hour of podcasting a week comfortably supports him. During the pandemic, he moved to Bozeman, Montana, ending his dreams of a career in stand-up comedy. He now wants to become a therapist. Thorne plans to use money from his show to pay for graduate school in behavioral health therapy.
"Especially since the pandemic, the mental toll on a lot of people inspires me to do that," Thorne said. "I don't think it would be healthy working for 45 minutes a week, and that's it."