Were Anthony Bourdain and Joe Rogan Actually Friends? What We Know

It turns out that the late Anthony Bourdain was actually friends with the polarizing Joe Rogan. Here's what to know about their friendship.


Aug. 27 2021, Published 4:10 p.m. ET

Joe Rogan and Anthony Bourdain
Source: Instagram / @joerogan

Almost everyone knows a couple who makes them think, "Huh, weird pairing." On the surface, two people might appear mismatched in every way, but despite their differences, they turn out somehow to be perfectly complementary.

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The friendship between the late, great Anthony Bourdain and podcaster Joe Rogan is exactly this kind of head-scratching relationship. Anthony was known for his measured takes on life and its finer things, while Joe is better known for his polarizing takes on everything from women's rights to pizza toppings. So, how close was the friendship between Anthony Bourdain and Joe Rogan?

Anthony Bourdain
Source: getty images
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What’s the deal with Anthony Bourdain and Joe Rogan’s friendship?

Anthony Bourdain was known as the globe-trotting chef who would try anything once and probably give you an insightful treatise on life along the way. Joe Rogan is known for “sitting in front of laptops bullsh--tting,” which he often does on his podcast that has hosted an impressive lineup of guests, from Elon Musk to Miley Cyrus.

Even though the two men appeared to be extremely different, Anthony and Joe had an unlikely but close friendship. The two were friends for a long time and both of them even appeared on the other’s show.

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Anthony was an early guest on Episode 138 of The Joe Rogan Experience. The episode is funny and informative as only Anthony could make it, and it’s one of the more popular episodes of Joe's podcast. Joe also appeared in a Season 7 episode of No Reservations, during which the boys went to Montana to hunt pheasant together.

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Anthony and Joe also shared an intense love for Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The chef and TV host was an ardent practitioner who discovered the sport through his ex-wife, Ottavia, who is a jiu-jitsu professional. Eventually Anthony was practicing twice a day, every day, and had a blue belt under Renzo Gracie.

Along with being a UFC commentator, Joe is also an accomplished martial artist himself. The podcast host is a taekwondo black belt and is pretty knowledgeable when it comes to Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Considering the two were such good friends and shared an interest in the sport, it seems only natural that they would have got on the mats for a friendly sparring match. But that wasn’t the case.

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In a Reddit AMA, Anthony said that there was no way he was getting on the mats with Joe. “I'll do anything with him; shoot animals in the brain, canoe trip, hot tubbing, whatever,” he said. “But I'm not rolling with the guy.”

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Anthony went on to explain that the reason he wouldn’t be getting into a friendly fight with his friend was because Joe "does not roll light, he goes really, really hard. He's a neck cranker … and he's got bowling balls for arms … So as much as I love the guy … I’m not rolling with the guy.”

Anthony and Joe shared a unique friendship and Joe himself shed a couple of tears when he spoke about his friend’s passing in 2018.

“He was a genuine, rare person,” Joe said, “You know, that’s what I got out of being able to spend some time with him … I would think about things differently because of him.”

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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