Chris Hardwick on True Nerds, Trendy Geeks, and The World's Most Important Debate
Comedian and television personality Chris Hardwick is a nerd -- and with a best-selling book, a dedicated YouTube channel, and the long-running Nerdist Podcast - he's leading a powerful uprising of pasty Poindexters worldwide.
Case in point - Hardwick's upcoming Course of the Force, a 135-mile relay race from Santa Monica to San Diego, run by costumed Star Wars fans.
Our Fanboy caught up with The Nerdist in advance of his show at Stand-Up Live this Friday night.
The Nerdist Podcast is coming right at the kick off of Phoenix Comicon. Good timing.
Yeah, we like to plan our shows around cons in cities because it's just more of our audience. It's more concentrated and it does allow us to get in there and see if we can get guests where we might not be able to if we were performing in the middle of the year on an off-con weekend.
The podcast - along with so many of your guests that sit in with you - seems to have ushered in a new level of sincerity in the public discourse. Nerd-dom is no longer about internet snark and being a hypercritical fanboy like Comic Book Guy. Is that intentional?
Yeah, I mean, number 1, I think we were all just tired of being hacky portrayals of what our culture was for so long in bigger media. And I think for someone who's been online since 1993/94, that there's just so much negativity in the world that I think it's just a reaction to say "it's ok to be positive, it's ok to celebrate things." I think people feel that there's some power in tearing stuff down, but I think it actually takes more will to be positive and to build things up.
Phoenix is a nerdy town. Comicon is the big daddy this weekend, but there's something going on every week, from steampunk events to zombie survival seminars, nerd walks and really high quality fan-films. Turn the corner here in town at any time of the year and there are bound to be nerds out actively and publicly practicing their passions. When you're out on the road, do you see this same level of engagement across the country?
Well there are definitely nerds in every city, but there just tends to be higher concentrations in certain places. I don't know exactly what you attribute that to -- of course cities that have a lot of digital industry have a higher level -- but in other cities, sometimes it will surprise you to find out that there's a hub in some town.
I'm amazed that there's a steampunk movement in Phoenix, just because of the people that will go out in wool clothing in Phoenix weather have a type of constitution that should be harnessed by the government in some way.