In case anyone might confuse Joe Rogan, the standup comedian, with Joe Garelli, the engineer on the TV sitcom Newsradio, a role Rogan played for five years, I'm Gonna Be Dead Someday..., Rogan's first album, begins with "Getting Pumped," a two-character audio play that explicitly depicts a homosexual encounter. The rest of the album is more concerned with heterosexuality, but the point has been made. At his performances, a sign is displayed: "Warning: Joe Rogan's show will contain the strongest language and material content imaginable. This show is for mature audiences only." The warning is also featured on the back of the album cover, and with reason. Rogan proves to be a nearly hysterical performer (not hysterically funny, just hysterical), his voice frequently ascending into a tenor whine that recalls Bobcat Goldthwait, and he screams nearly as often as Sam Kinison used to.
True to his career as an actor, he likes to adopt different characters, or, more accurately, caricatures, speaking in Mexican and British accents and often mimicking women. His subject matter rarely veers from raw sex, touching on strip clubs, travel ("Other Countries Suck/Soccer"), and Anna Nicole Smith, but always honing in on obsessively detailed sexual activities. When he takes a break in mid-set, it is only to have porn star Ginger Lynn introduce the album's one musical number, "Voodoo Punanny," which sounds like a rewrite of "Hot Rod Lincoln." Lynn helpfully notes that if you don't know what voodoo punanny is, you should get one of her videos; don't worry, Rogan quickly clears up any ambiguity. It isn't difficult getting laughs out of matters of sexual technique that are highly personal and rarely discussed, but after 74 minutes of Rogan's unrelenting assault, even sympathetic listeners are likely to be enervated. Unsympathetic listeners won't get through the opening vignette. ~ William Ruhlmann