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Is the dolphin habitat keeping national acts away from the Mirage?

One of Las Vegas’ biggest and best entertainment rooms is The Mirage’s Terry Fator Theatre, but Joe Rogan tells me he’s heard “many people” rage against the hotel’s dolphin habitat, possibly keeping some national acts from performing there.

In fact, Rogan performed in the Terry Fator Theatre in the past, but this Friday he will be headlining in Cirque du Soleil’s Ka Theatre in the MGM Grand.

“I like The Mirage room,” he said, “although there are many people who complain about The Mirage theater because of the fact they have dolphins.”

Anyone who listens to the comedian’s influential “The Joe Rogan Podcast” knows how he feels about various animals in relation to both protecting them from torture and eating them (he’s what some call an “ethical hunter”).

“People know I hate dolphins in captivity, it’s nuts, and people have asked me not to perform there,” Rogan told me.

“I think it’s a form of slavery, I really do. I think it’s slavery, and kidnapping,” he said.

By the way, according to different researchers, the smartest creatures seem to be humans; tool-making, sign-language-speaking chimps (a chimp named Ayumu outscored human kids in a difficult memory exam); dolphins (which some researchers say are smarter than chimps, actually); pigs (yeah you enjoy bacon, that’s great, then you might as well eat your cat or dog, because pigs are smarter and have been trained to use computers); elephants; octopus, squid and cuddlefish; cats; dogs; squirrels; crows; goats; and parrots.

But let’s get back to dolphins.

“They’re insanely intelligent. They’re like water people. They just can’t talk in a way we understand, and they can’t move their hands, and they can’t write things down,” Rogan said.

But since he’s a comedian, he and I did discuss the potential future of when a phone app will let us communicate with dolphins.

“Yeah, it’ll be Google Translate,” Rogan joked, “and we’ll find out dolphins are racists, like, ‘Whoa, they hate all the fish, they just talk real nasty about fish!'”

Fortunately for Rogan and his legion of fans, he has been doing stand-up this year in the Ka Theatrer in MGM (which owns Mirage, since MGM owns so much of the Strip).

If you go, get there early enough for the openers because they are usually headliners on their own — the fairly legendary Greg Fitzsimmons (he’s got a great podcast, “Fitzdog Radio,” and he wrote on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”) and Ian Edwards.

Rogan is the only comic who has ever played the $100 million-plus Ka Theatre, and he recommends it.

“It’s kind of crazy, because while you’re there, you get to feel the hydraulics, and crazy giant pistons, and all these different things that are set up behind the theater to move the stage.

It’s super elaborate, it’s kind of terrifying really.”

He’s not planning any Cirque elements.

“Ha, yeah I’m gonna come out on a giant butterfly or something. Nah,” he said, “I’m not opposed to it, it just seems like too much work.”

Previously, a different comic who opened for Rogan, Tony Hinchcliffe, asked if he could do some Cirque stuff but he was denied, seemingly because of insurance terms.

If you’re unaware about entertainment insurance, it’s super, super expensive and limiting.

“That kept me from doing most of the stuff on ‘Fear Factor,'” Rogan said about the popular NBC show he used to host while high on weed.

“There was bunch of times where I wanted to do things, like, jump cars off buildings, they had some pretty crazy, cool stuff, but it would have cost some exorbitant amount of money to insure me, especially since it would have been just for fun, since I wasn’t competing.”

And since I was catching up to Rogan, I asked about how he has said on his podcast he might someday stop doing commentary and interviews at UFC fights.

“I’m not going to do it forever. I’ll probably always come back and do the occasional gig, who knows,” he said.

Rogan, possibly the only UFC person who publicly criticizes the league for things such as recent endorsement deals changing fighter pay, didn’t give me a time frame.

“I don’t know, man. I like to keep my options open, and be able to change my mind whenever I want, so who knows.”

Contact Doug Elfman at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman. Find him on Twitter: @VegasAnonymous

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