• David Andrews

Rogan Wasn't Austin's Pied Piper

Updated: Sep 8

The Clarksvillian

Can we admit Joe Rogan's great "Austin Migration" has been a flop? The hype surrounding a 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.

Since late 2019, Joe Rogan announced to the world 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 like Joe, Austinites or his fans may have expected. In all fairness it hasn't been complete love with Rogan rocking the boat in Austin either.

With all the fanfare, the net result of Rogan's high profile marketing campaign has resulted in 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. One move that hasn't gained the attention it should, was Rogan helping to steer The Creek and the Cave comedy club's relocation from NYC. The new club will be entering into an extremely competitive comedy market and carrying what locals view as baggage. With the area talent not having an appetite for the politics of The Creek and the Cave, in America's hipster capitol, 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 decided to pack 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 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 the pursuit of movies and TV appearances.

Bert Kreischer

Los Angeles, California

Kreischer hasn’t been in Southern California very long and his discussions about another move may sound surprising. Bert's touring schedule is legendary, but also drain 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 relocate by the end of 2020. His reasons for considering a move are like Rogan's previously discussed thoughts on the topic of 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 (altho 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 relocated 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 pushing him towards a possible move to the Music City. Will he ever leave California for Tennessee or Texas? Doubtful. Some people simply prefer to perpetually complain about personally 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 went 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 kinda 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 recluse 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 substantially 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 a no-brainer to potentially shift to Texas while telecommuting his writing skills for the TV industry.

Greg is no stranger to Austin and by all accounts enjoys performing in the city. However, when asked about moving to Austin, Greg was prepared for the question from Rogan. His response was measured, "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 began to realize - 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 relocate. 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."