Chris Hardwick promises his nerdiest comedy show ever this Friday
Chris Hardwick is probably the busiest--and nerdiest--guy in show business. As host of the uber-popular Nerdist podcast (www.nerdist.com) and G4's Web Soup, he has attracted legions of fans over the past 20 years with his signature sarcasm and self-deprecating sense of humor.
This weekend, the former Singled Out host brings his Chaotic Good standup tour to the Varsity Theater for what he promises to be his nerdiest Twin Cities show ever. We caught up with Hardwick via phone this last Friday (royal wedding day!) to discuss his podcasts, his upcoming book, and something called "Vader Pussy."
It's about noon right now, so I guess the first question is what time did you wake up to catch the royal wedding this morning?
Well, I was already dreaming about it, so I didn't think I needed to wake up to actually watch the real thing.
Fair enough. So with everything you've got going on right now--your podcast, Web Soup, etc.--how do you still find time to get out on the road for your standup?
Honestly, if I didn't love it so much, then it wouldn't be possible. I definitely don't love waking up early, jamming all of my liquids into three-ounce bottles, and changing time zones three times a week, but that's what I deal with in order to do the thing I absolutely love more than anything else in the world. Hopefully people are excited to come out to the show and support me, because that's what allows me to keep getting out on the road and doing more shows.
You're known for your work on the Nerdist and G4. Do audiences at your shows expect that same type of material? Or are they just casual observers who are interested in checking out live comedy?
If you're doing a club, it's a lot more likely that people are just there to see a basic comedy show. But when I'm doing a show at a place like the Varsity, those fans usually show up knowing what to expect. At this point, it's actually my podcast that draws the biggest audiences to my live shows. It's just funny because this thing I do two times a week for no money has turned out to be the most beneficial to my career.
Speaking of the Nerdist, you've had some pretty big names on the show--Adam Carolla, Andy Samberg, Jimmy Fallon--in the past year-and-a-half. How have you managed to build it up and get so many huge guests?
When I first started, I just burned through all of my friends. Then after awhile, people started catching on that we had a pretty cool show and we weren't a bunch of creepy nerds in our basement waiting to taxidermy famous people. That made it easier to start booking more and more guests. Now we've got Damon Lindelof coming up, Patton Oswalt is coming on the show, we're talking with Ben Folds, and a bunch of other really cool people.
Do you feel like your podcasts have influenced your standup material at all?
I do. It's actually helped a lot, because the podcasts are more conversational and I tend to write better in conversation. Several bits evolved out of us just screwing around on the podcasts. If I was really hardcore, I would probably go back and listen to all of them again and see if I can pull new material, but I don't really have the time for that.
The really cool thing is that the podcasts have started getting more nerds to come out to the shows, which is what I want. I've done some cons and things like that, and to me the coolest thing is when you get people who come out and dress up and really get into it. That's what I want. I want people coming to my shows dressed up like it's a con--dress like a pirate, dress like the crew of Battlestar Galactica. The other thing that's been awesome is that people will shout out bits we've done on the show, stuff like "Vader Pussy!," and it's like we're all in on the same joke, and not everyone is a part of it.
You've got a book coming out this fall. What's that about?
November, actually. It's called The Nerdist Way and it's a productivity book for nerds that is also part-autobiographical. It's broken into three parts: managing your mind, your body, and your time. Nerds have this uncanny ability to focus on minutia, and this book helps to kind of shift that focus in the right direction. I've had to overcome some obstacles that held me back in my life, and this book will hopefully help people learn from my experiences.
Okay, last question: On behalf of all dudes who were going through puberty back in the '90s, we need to know: How often did you see your co-host naked when you were hosting Singled Out? Also, was it awesome?
Um, everyone did dude. She was "Playmate of the Year" so she wasn't shy about it, but it's not like anyone was prancing around naked backstage. But I guess if you've created an alternate reality in your mind where everyone is naked all the time, go for it.
Planning on it. Thank you.
IF YOU GO:
Friday, May 6.
7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show
$25 advanced, $28 door
Varsity Theater - 18+
For more info, click here
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