College Graduation & an Interview with Joe Rogan

Note: Video interview is at the bottom. If you hate reading but love scrolling/staring then this note is probably greatly appreciated by you right now.

It was the night before my college graduation and I had just finished watching the play 25 Squirrels, a dark comedy about friends accidentally killing their psychopathic friend’s beloved cat. The play was the work of a college friend and classmate, Ali Wisch, who put the play together as a nice send off for our graduating class. The cast and crew were heading to the Daily Planet in downtown Burlington to celebrate and knock down a few drinks in the process.

After saying goodbye to my parents, my roommate, Taylor, and I headed to the Daily Planet to join in. It was consolation to the fact that we really should’ve been in Montreal interviewing Joe Rogan, but that seemed to have fallen through after I didn’t hear from Joe in a little over a week. I had organized the interview after holding a contest on where we gave away a fanny pack signed by Joe, but all things considered I wasn’t too bummed it fell through. After all, Joe was a busy guy, in Montreal to perform stand-up and call the UFC Light Heavyweight championship fight between Shogun Rua and Lyoto Machida.

As I was coming to grips with the fact that the interview had fallen through, my phone rang. It was Joe, who called to apologize for dropping out of touch and to inform me that if we get to Montreal before two o’clock on Saturday we could still do the interview. Needless to say I was stoked and once I broke the news to Taylor he offered to buy a round of shots to celebrate. We were going to Montreal to interview Joe Rogan after all.

However, the night wasn’t over as Taylor’s phone rang, bringing different news. Our friend was being held at the Chittenden County Correctional Facility and he needed to be bailed out. Apparently, he had an unpaid speeding ticket, which led to a warrant. So being the good friends we were, we went and bailed our friend out of jail. As we waited for him to be processed we found the echo of the waiting area amusing, causing us to fart and make noises. This didn’t sit well with the corrections officer who banged on the bulletproof glass and shot us a stern look.

By the time we got home it was pushing three in the morning and I wasn’t even tired. So I forced myself to try and get some sleep since I knew I had to be up by 6a.m. to get ready for graduation. When I woke up I left my car keys with Taylor, who would be waiting outside the auditorium where my graduation ceremony was taking place. My parents picked me up to head over and check-in. They agreed I looked like shit, and not having time to eat breakfast made me feel worse. Then again, having to wait around in a hot basement in a polyester robe for two hours with the rest of my graduating class brought me to the brink of feinting.

I knew I would have to leave as soon as I received my diploma, so as we waited for our names to be called I grew anxious as it was taking longer than expected. To make matters worse, Taylor was circling the block in my car, texting me for updates. Finally, my department was called and once I hit the stage and grabbed my diploma, I bolted for the door while disrobing. I took a quick photo with my mom, said goodbye, and ran down the steps to my car. For whatever reason, I ended up having to drive to Montreal in a torrential downpour with two bald front tires. We were on a tight time schedule and I was pushing speeds of 110mph at times trying to make sure we got there before Joe had to do the pre-fight press conference.

It should also be noted that this entire time, through graduation and the car ride, I had an eighth of weed wrapped in duct tape and secured in my underwear. It was anything but comfortable, but after passing through the border after a rapid onslaught of questions from the border guard, I reached down and pulled the weed out for Taylor to roll a blunt. Obviously, he didn’t want to unwrap the duct tape so I had to drive with my knee until I got through to the plastic bag. And Taylor being the clumsy person he is quickly spilled weed all over the seat as he tried to roll a blunt. Fortunately, he was able to get it together.

As we were on the outskirts of Montreal, I nearly hydroplaned into a concrete barrier as I was calling Joe to check-in. No answer. Fuck, I thought. I called again. Nothing.  My brain was quickly working to find the silver lining. Well, Montreal is a cool city, it thought. This isn’t so bad.

Just as acceptance of failure was beginning to set in, my phone rang. Joe was just about to go to the gym, but he decided to have us come do the interview instead. If it wasn’t for adrenaline and joy, I would’ve collapsed on the sidewalk after we found parking. I was running on fumes and so was Taylor.

When we got to Joe’s hotel room, we showed him the blunt, which declined.

“Ah I can’t call the fights high,” he said. “I sound like a retard.”

We then tried to give him the rest of our weed, which he also declined.

“I appreciate it, but I’m not even going to be able to finish all this,” he said as he emptied out a pouch of joints given to him by a radio DJ in Montreal.

We then spent the next two hours talking to Joe about an assortment of topics, but mostly life in general. By the time we finished the interview, we were all spent. Apparently, Joe hadn’t eaten anything either. I honestly don’t know how I made it through the interview because during it my hearing was fading in and out and I was starting to see spots. But it was over and it was time to finally eat and enjoy Montreal.

As we were leaving Joe told us to hold up. He ran into his room and came back with two tickets to the fight, handing them to Taylor. I thanked him again for taking the time to chat, especially given how busy he is. I then thanked him for the tickets and packed up all my stuff. Taylor grabbed my arm as we were making our way to the elevator.

“Dude, look at your ticket!” he said.

“What? What about it?” I responded.

“Just look at it.”

I looked down, first noticing row D, which my delusional brain couldn’t quite understand. Then I noticed the $600 price tag, and realized we had just received excellent seats to the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship fight. We decided in that moment to put off eating a little while longer to smoke a celebratory blunt. So naturally we found a park, sat under a rock to get out from the rain, and smoked. As we were walking back towards the center of the city we passed the rapper T.I. outside his hotel. For a moment we contemplated walking over and saying hi, but even in our weakened mental state we realized we really didn’t give a shit about T.I.  Food was way more important.

Once we finally settled down to eat, another celebrity was a few booths away, chowing down on a burger.

“Hey I know that guy,”said Taylor.

I glanced over my shoulder to see who he was talking about.

“Oh, that’s Mickey Rourke,” I said.

“Should we go say, ‘Hi’?”

“No, man. He’s eating a burger,” I said. “Besides, what are we gonna say? ‘Oh hi, I don’t like any of your work but you’re famous so I figured I’d say hello.’”

Other than not really giving a hoot about Mickey Rourke, I was really enjoying my meal. No need to disturb it to say hello to a famous person.

After we finished eating, we stood in line outside the Bell Centre, talking to Canadians about the housing crisis and MMA. It was actually a pretty awesome conversation, and Canadian MMA fans while passionate about their sport are not the Affliction t-shirt wearing mongoloids we’re used to in the States. They actually appreciate the intelligent side of MMA, which is often (and unfairly) overlooked in favor of the barbaric and violent side of the sport.

When we got inside it was a surreal feeling, especially when the usher kept taking us closer and closer to the Octagon. Our seats were in the fourth row, and UFC legend Randy Couture was ten feet away. As we settled in, I noticed another familiar face to our left. It was comic, Ari Shaffir, known at the time for his Amazing Racist YouTube videos in which he tried to get gas in Compton dressed as a member of the KKK. We introduced ourselves and struck up a conversation. It wasn’t long before he offered us some THC tabs, which I gladly accepted. And it wasn’t long until I was talking to him about what I would do if I invented a flying car.

The fights started and the sold out Bell Centre was in a constant frenzy. Even their chants were entertaining—specifically, 18,000 people chanting, “Fuck you, Koscheck,” in unison. After Shogun dropped Machida in the first round to win the Light Heavyweight championship belt, Taylor and I quickly made our way to the car. We were exhausted, and I had finally hit the wall. We rolled the rest of our weed into one final blunt, which we ended up tossing out the window halfway through it. I mean, it was the size of a regular cigar and it wasn’t worth trying to bring it through the border.

I was struggling to stay awake when Taylor asked if I could drive. Since I had a few beers during the fight and was pretty burnt, I told him I couldn’t. It was then that we realized we had missed our turn back to Vermont and were heading into Northeast Canada. To make matters worse it was starting to snow, even though it was May. I told Taylor I would stay awake to keep him company, but I passed out soon after my attempt to be a good co-pilot.

When I came to there was a tree directly in front of the car and it was daytime. My initial thought was that we had crashed, but as I got my bearings I realized we were just parked on the front yard of our house. Apparently, Taylor couldn’t make it the extra five feet to our driveway. I grabbed my stuff, walked inside, and immediately passed out on the couch.

This story is featured in my first book, Life On a Treadmill: The Collected Works of a Successful Failure

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