If your idea of geeky comedy involves second-hand Monty Python references and stale-ass Chuck Norris jokes, Chris Hardwick's got a few surprises in store for you. The current host of G4's Web Soup and the popular Nerdist podcast has a background in D&D and MTV alike: Singled Out was his big TV breakthrough, and his comedy rock band with Mike Phirman—called, what else, Hard n' Phirm—is a natural extension of his years as a KROQ graveyard-shift DJ during the '90s alt-rock boom. Hardwick's approach to humor does a superlative job in balancing his nerdy interests (science, video games, Dr. Who) with a broader perspective that remains firmly planted in the universal irreverence and giddy snark of contemporary, internet-savvy alt-comedy. At a time when name-dropping billion-dollar sci-fi and superhero franchises is a quick route to cheap geek pandering, Hardwick's dedication, sincerity, and boundless enthusiasm set him apart from the hangers-on.
Fri., May 6, 8 p.m., 2011