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I Started the ‘Joe Rogan Is Dead’ Hoax

#RIPJoeRogan has become one of Twitter’s longest running and most popular jokes. But it all began back in 2014 with a meandering fake obituary written by a shitposter supreme

Once again, Joe Rogan has died. 

That was the news yesterday on Twitter when the viral meme #RIPjoerogan took the platform by storm for the umpteenth time. Declaring Rogan dead has become something of a Twitter tradition, popular among both his fans and detractors alike. The trend usually bubbles up when he says something offensive or obnoxious, and this latest wave seems to have occurred shortly after he threatened to end his podcast if he had to be too politically correct on Spotify.

Not only was this most recent trend not the first time Rogan was declared dead, but he’s been declared dead so many times that it’s tough to trace the first time it happened. The earliest known example, as cited by Know Your Meme, is a YouTube video from 2010. The hashtag #RIPjoerogan, however, is a little easier to trace. It was first tweeted out by famed internet troll Jaime Cochran — who passed away in 2018 — on January 5, 2014. She wrote her tweet in response to a fake obituary of Rogan that was published on the satire site Internet Chronicle, where Cochran was also a contributor. Following her tweet, #RIPjoerogan was picked up by other people, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The fake obit claimed that Rogan had died of an overdose of DMT and, at first, it reads like a straight obituary until devolving into a hilarious tangent about a then-recent injury to UFC fighter Anderson Silva. It was written by an Internet Chronicle contributor and co-founder who goes by Kilgoar. Yesterday, I was able to catch up with him to discuss the faux death that he made famous, how Rogan helps him understand when a date is cool and why he believes we’ll never stop killing off Rogan.

Where did the idea for your Joe Rogan obituary come from?

It’s hard to say. It was a long time ago. I know I thought it was funny that someone might overdose on DMT. A lot of times, I’ll just have an idea like, “What if Joe Rogan overdosed on DMT?” It’s just inspiration. 

I do remember being pissed off that he had platformed Alex Jones and brought him into the mainstream. I didn’t care for that. 

Do you have any memories from writing it?

Not really, but looking back at it now, it’s so off-topic. I get into mysticism and Anderson Silva’s broken leg. It was the typical “I was probably fucking stoned writing this,” just-for-fun kind of thing. 

Are you surprised by how much #RIPjoerogan has taken off?

I had no idea that this would become such a big deal that would continue for eight years. I’ve written tons of hoaxes and parodies that went viral — like, I’ve written about chemtrails and this thing about the Insane Clown Posse getting cancer from their makeup — so this was nothing new when it first trended back in 2014. 

When he was letting everyone know he was still alive, Joe Rogan did link the piece back then, which fucking annihilated our servers. We had to find a new host. Still, it wasn’t that big of a deal back then, and I’m surprised by how big it’s become now. To this day, nothing I’ve done has stuck around like that. 

How do you personally feel about Rogan?

I respect Joe Rogan as a comedian and as an MMA commentator and expert, but he started to go down this path that was really nasty. I didn’t like him then — when I did the obituary — and I like him even less now. I don’t like the shit he posts and all the disinformation. 

I heard this story about when he went on Tom Green’s podcast years and years ago, before he even knew what a podcast was, and he was like, “This is fun. This is what I want to do.” God, if only Tom Green was the most popular podcaster in the United States, I think we’d be in a better place.

I was on a date the other day, and she tells me: “I like to listen to podcasts with well-vetted experts who know what they’re talking about.” So I looked at her straight and said, “Just like Joe Rogan?” and she cracked up laughing. That’s how I knew she was cool.

That’s how I feel about Joe Rogan.

Have you ever had any backlash directed at you from this?

Toward me? No. Largely, people join in on it. #RIPjoerogan has all been really positive, and people really get into it. I love to read all the funny ways they make up about him dying. I think one said that he was found dead in his sensory deprivation tank. I liked that one.

Finally, there have been many death hoaxes about many people, but why do you think the hoaxes around Joe Rogan have been so successful?

Well, he got mad about it. That was his first mistake. This time, he said, “I’m pregnant,” which was a better way to handle it. But in the past he’s said, “I’m not into pranks,” and “I’m alive as fuck, son.” That just made us all laugh harder than anything else. 

While it’s motivated by Joe Rogan haters, what’s funny about it is that his fans seem to be doing it, too. Everyone is having fun. I’ve seen that meme of those two muscular arms holding hands in unity, and it’s labeled “Joe Rogan haters” on one arm and “Joe Rogan fans” on the other arm and over top it says “Owning Joe Rogan.” For some reason, we can all come together on owning Joe Rogan.

I also think coming up with funny ways that Joe Rogan has died is so easy. You’ve got so much to work with. You can go this way, you can go that way. He can die a hundred different hilarious ways and that’s not true of anybody else. It’s inexhaustible, really. I think Joe Rogan will be dying for years to come.