• Eric Fisher

Rogan Wasn't Austin's Pied Piper

The Clarksvillian

Can we admit Joe Rogan's great "Austin Migration" has been a flop? The hype surrounding the mass arrival of comedians to Austin was a drumbeat heard across national podcasts for the better part of two years. The results? Undetermined as of today, but the trend does not appear promising.

In late 2019, Joe Rogan announced to the world that he would lead the relocation of the stand-up industry to Austin, Texas. As we evaluate the current situation, it becomes clear this project hasn't quite worked out as Joe, Austinites, or his fans may have expected. In all fairness, it hasn't been a non-stop lovefest with Rogan rocking the boat in Austin.

With all the fanfare, the net result of Rogan's high-profile marketing campaign has resulted in the Austin relocations of two headliners: Tom Segura and Tony Hinchcliffe. In all fairness, that doesn't include openers and former Comedy Store employees making the journey to Central Texas. Rogan's assistance in steering The Creek and the Cave comedy club's relocation from New York City received less attention than it should have. The new club will enter an extremely competitive comedy market and carry what locals may view as baggage. With the area's talent not having an appetite for the politics of The Creek and The Cave, in America's hipster capital, it will be interesting to watch the club's impact.

Let's look at the latest information regarding comedians that were rumored to be joining Rogan in the legendary Austin migration.

Andrew Santino

Los Angeles, California

Santino has made his fair share of appearances on JRE along with Rogan tossing his name out as a great young comedian and actor. As you can expect, the ginger was rumored to be looking for property in the trendiest parts of Austin's neighborhoods. He was seen everywhere around town and linked to realtors. Problem? It only takes 30 seconds of listening to Santino to understand he enjoys the West Hollywood life and the flexibility of his productive acting career.

A few standup gigs and appearances on JRE will be the extent of the cheetah's Texas connection.

Andrew Schultz

New York City, New York

"Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin are all dope!" - Andrew Schultz

So when the time came for Schultz to move his podcast from NYC, of course he went to... Miami? When the rubber met the road, one of the guy's Rogan most actively recruited comedians decided on Florida, not Central Texas.

A few months later, Schultz packed up his Miami sandals for another move. Austin, right? No. He moved back to NYC.

Ari Shaffir

New York City, NY

Shaffir bolted LA several years ago and headed home to a comfortable NYC setting. Ari seems comfortable in his hometown of NYC and his move wasn't about chasing another career ladder destination. That typed, rumors continue about his professional options and personal interest in relocation. His good friend, Joe Rogan, was rumored to have offered an opportunity and a new home for Ari in Austin. At the same time, Ari was being linked to Nashville again - which has happened on multiple occasions over the years. Home is home resonates with Shaffir’s confirmation of giving up his pursuit of movie and TV appearances.

Bert Kreischer

Los Angeles, California

Kreischer has not been in Southern California awfully long and his discussions about making another move may sound surprising. Bert's touring schedule is legendary, but also drains his personal life. In an odd twist, Bert may have finally found some flexibility with the success of his podcast. The Kreischer family were previously looking for property in Texas and the plan is to move by the end of 2020. His reasons for considering a move are like Rogan's previously discussed thoughts on relocating to Central Texas. That talk has faded, and it's become clear Bert will stay in Los Angeles and commute to Texas for the podcast. Which will happen first? Bert drops from the podcast or Segura returns to LA?

Bobby Lee

Los Angeles, California

Bobby will twist daily to explain his reasons for not finding interest in Texas - although he openly discusses his love for performing in Austin. Is it the lack of an interest in Texas or just a lack of anywhere outside of Southern California? The SoCal native lists one priority to potential relocations: Korean foods. And according to Bobby Lee, Koreans don't live in Austin.

Brendan Schaub

Los Angeles, California

And you thought Schaub was just waffling on the move to Texas? After publicly committing to an Austin move, Schaub confirmed he’s not moving the family east to Texas. For all the critiques of his relatively young comedic career, Schaub has always shown a willingness to put the work in for a desired outcome. But a lack of natural talent only goes so far. By staying in LA, he can again work with Bryan Callen and occasionally partner with Theo Von during his return visits to LA (although those are becoming less frequent). In the end, it's really all about a happy wife - happy life. And let's be honest, his significant other publicly plays the role of someone who wouldn't hesitate to crush him financially in a divorce hearing.

Bryan Callen

Los Angeles, California

To say Callen’s situation has become complicated is an understatement. A divorce, career challenges and trying to balance a public persona of silliness with insightfulness is a recipe for paralysis by analysis. With those things in mind, he's kept grinding away at each opportunity. Callen was a big proponent of relocating to Texas from California, but hinted at second thoughts when speaking with Dave Rubin. It may benefit Callen to remain close to the entertainment industry’s heart, allowing him to maximize opportunities while trying to get his career back on track. Callen has also openly discussed taxes and cost of living pushed him towards a potential move to the Music City. Will he ever leave California for Tennessee or Texas? Doubtful. Some people simply prefer to complain about financing their own oppression. Callen doesn't seem to be unique in that regard.

Chris D'Elia

Los Angeles, California

When the accusations hit, they hit hard. D'Elia has essentially gone into hiding with hopes of the negative press drifting away. As an established Angelino, there are no signs of Chris wanting to leave California - or the security of his home at this stage.

D'Elia has recently made the smart move of downsizing his home in LA while beginning to working himself back into the mainstream flow of the comedy scene. In the best of times, he defines the LA scene. In the worst of times, he kind of defines the LA scene too.

Doug Stanhope

Brisbee, Arizona

“At what point is Austin just gonna become the place that everyone’s fleeing?”

- Doug Stanhope

Stanhope has become a bit of a hermit having moved to a town of 5k people. The growth boom of Austin just doesn't feel like a good match for the Stanhopes.

Duncan Trussell

Asheville, North Carolina

What's going on with the South Dakota tease? Duncan has maintained for all his love-hate relationship issues with LA, he's still in love with the city and would only leave for one place - sweet home Asheville. As an independently wealthy individual, very wealthy, the doors are open to Duncan to move anywhere in the world. You'll hear conversational comments about his interest in relocating to various spots only to realize it's all become part of a wink 'n nod bit with the audience.

After all, he's just a man with a "fetish for high taxes and property values".

Eddie Bravo

Los Angeles, California

A step closer to the Infowars studio? How can Eddie resist the pull of Austin and the world of Alex Jones? Eddie's initial conversations didn't appear to be about pursuing a permanent career in comedy; Eddie's move was more about making a change with a friend and growing his brand. Will he still dabble in the comedic world? Would Joe purchasing a new comedy club give him the comedic option, no question. The real focus remains his successful MMA business. Look for Eddie to expand his 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu operation and its national influence in coming years... based in Southern California.

Greg Fitzsimmons

Los Angeles, California

Fitzsimmons is renting a place in Venice for $5,100. This non-committed homestead seemed like an easy obstacle regarding a potential shift to Texas. After all, his writing skills for the TV industry are tailored for telecommuting.

Greg is no stranger to Austin and enjoys performing in the city. However, when asked about moving to Austin, Greg was prepared for Rogan. His response hit quick, "I think you're really going to enjoy yourself down there."

A very polite way of saying no thanks.

Ian Edwards

Los Angeles, California

The English born, Jamaican raised comedian, teased a move to Austin early in the JRE discussion. The plan to make Austin the new Comedy Capitol of the country had to be the weed talking, wasn't it? Like many of Rogan's inner-circle realized - Joe was serious about moving to Central Texas. Once this reality hit home with Ian the topic was laughed off, ignored and forgotten quickly.

Regardless of Ian's positive views of Texas, it's clear there are no plans to move. The topic of joining Joe in Austin is now limited to a smile and change of topic.

Joey Diaz

North Bergen, New Jersey

The only guy in the country, with earning power, looking to buy into the NYC metro real estate market. CoCo didn't mince words declaring his move was about getting back to family and roots. Where he retires is more about personal happiness and not as much about weather, taxes or traditional retirement destinations. On the side, Rogan continues to remind everyone it will only take one Jersey winter before Joey will be ready to accept a free house in the Austin area. According to Diaz, Rogan was extremely active with financial offers to his comedy friends to incentivize an Austin relocation. Diaz commented, “it was an offer too good to refuse, but I did."

We'll need to check back on Uncle Joey in the spring of 2022.

Josh Wolf

Nashville, Tennessee

Early in the conversation, Josh made clear his intent to move to Nashville – although it may not be a permanent one. The preferred first choice was Vegas, but the unknown extent of the pandemic restrictions made Vegas a tough place to call home as an entertainer. Josh clearly has a love for Nashville following his work with CMT and that made the move all the easier. As an empty nester, he and his wife now have options.

Look for a long-term move to Vegas in the coming years. Although Josh's personality and appearance seems to make for a soft long-term landing in Nashville.

Sam Tripoli

Los Angeles, California

Sam sounds like someone committed to making life work in Los Angeles. The relocation question has been answered by simply saying, “with each move, I just keep climbing the comedy latter in LA.” He’s leaving open the relocation option and it may change with the consideration to his complicated young children. Can Sam resist the temptation of potential partnerships within Alex Jones' well-oiled InfoWars machine? For now, let's keep him slotted in LA for the foreseeable future.

Steve Byrne

Nashville, Tennessee

One of the first Comedy Store regulars mentioned by Rogan as having an eye out of Los Angeles was Steve Byrne. The unsuspecting difference, missed by Rogan, was the destination being Nashville not Austin.

There were many shrugs questioning the move, but Byrne is quickly becoming one of the city's fresh faces for entertainment. Byrne's decision to strike early as a transplant to Music City appears to have the most benefit of the LA group. The real question regarding the short lived, 26-episode podcast co-staring Bryan Callen - "Big & Hungry"? Who was really using who?

Theo Von

Nashville, Tennessee

Theo kept low key on his plans, but his friends weren't as tight-lipped. Rogan, Schaub and Diaz each commented on Theo spending his free time looking at Nashville real estate. And did he surprise everyone, or what? Theo settled on purchasing the homereason, of former Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason. A beautiful home nestled in Nashville's blueblood community of Green Hills. So much for Brendan Schaub's taunts that Theo couldn't commit to purchase a home and he'd return to LA soon. Many around Theo hinted the decision was basically a country boy wanting a more familiar culture as a primary reason along with the central location for traveling. Judging from the past year's podcast in Nashville, he's already settled into the city in his own effortless way.

Tim Dillon

Los Angeles, California

"Something new will be good. I was wrong." Tim buckled down and made the move to Austin for a brief stint during 2021 and found the city to be less than attractive. And for all Dillon's gripes about LA? He seems to genuinely enjoy the community and experiences he finds in the area.

"The city's (Austin) culture is that of slackers, people not making it for whatever reason. Those people need a city, but it's not for me." That about sums up Dillon's hard review after dipping his toes into Joe Rogan's new stomping grounds of Austin.

"Moving to Austin feels like a retirement move."

Tom Segura

Austin, Texas

Segura started talking about relocation, and this time it appears he's serious. Tom has previously mentioned an interest in relocating to Austin, so this recent real estate search feels like a thoughtful decision and should not be completely unexpected. Where else could he move after narrowing the list to Colorado and Florida?

You wonder after 2 home sales in the last 2 years, if moving is just a passing phase and he'll return to LA once the pandemic clears.

Tony Hinchcliffe

Austin, Texas

The popular podcaster and standup comedian already knew the rules of Joe Rogan's world before moving to Texas. If it's bad for the JRE brand, you'll immediately be ghosted until you sort yourself out (see recent examples of Bryan Callen, Chris D'Elia, Louis CK, Joey Diaz, etc.). An extremely ill-advised show resulted in a wave of ugly backlash for the Kill Tony host - and deservedly so. You knew the rules, so ...

Hinchcliffe took the leap of faith without considering his edginess may backfire in a new town with a sensitive underbelly. To put it mildly, there's an enormous difference between Austin and the average Texas town.

It would not be surprising to see Hinchcliffe return to Southern California in the near future.