Joe Rogan has the kind of casually handsome face folks often affix to an old high school buddy or their favorite car mechanic. When old men approach him in coffee shops and say, "I just want to tell you I really enjoy you," he has to remind himself, "Oh yeah, I'm on TV." His is a kind of ripening recognition, somewhere between unknown actor and full-fledged star. Rogan calls it "a weird kind of fame where people stare at you, and try to figure out where they know you from."
Not that anyone is likely to hear Rogan launch into an Eddie Vedderesque lament about the curses of fame. Unlike Vedder, who behaves as if being a millionaire rock star is akin to root canal without Novocain, Rogan is reveling in the success he has enjoyed since "NewsRadio," the quirky NBC comedy in which he costars, debuted nearly two years ago.
Rogan, 29, portrays Joe, the hunky but dim electrician, on the sitcom, which airs Wednesdays at 9, and costars Dave Foley, Phil Hartman, Stephen Root, Andy Dick, Maura Tierney, Vicki Lewis, and Khandi Alexander. An ensemble comedy set in the fictional station WNYX, it plays like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" on uppers. It's offbeat and manic, capturing the idiosyncrasies of the news biz as well as the clash of egos and personalities, from Foley's well-meaning news director to Hartman's and Alexander's acerbic news anchors.