Chris Hardwick, 'Mandroid' Nerdist Ambassador
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Chris Hardwick is kind of like a Nerd Ambassador – he brings enthusiasm and excitement to every topic he covers, whether it's as host of AMC's The Talking Dead (the live discussion follow-up show to The Walking Dead); in his Nerdist.com podcast, where he asks the questions that everyone really wants to hear to such stars as Tom Hanks, Timothy Olyphant or Walking star Andrew Lincoln; or during his stand-up shows to sold-out crowds (his first Comedy Central stand-up special, Mandroid, hits DVD this week).
"I wasn't ashamed of the stuff I was into, but I was nervous about being open about it; when you're young you don't want people to tell you you're weird, but everything I was into was [considered] a little weird," the 41-year-old Chris tells ETonline. Back in the '70s, being a nerd was something that you could get beat up for, but now an entire generation wears the moniker like a badge of honor: "Traditionally nerd-based culture is now a big sector of pop culture. … It's not niche anymore, so [with Nerdist] we can actually kind of try to blow it up even more."
I spoke with Hardwick while he was zigzagging through the streets of Bloomington, IN, in search of his girlfriend at a local coffee shop just a few hours before a performing a set of two shows. "I'm lost in Indiana right now, trying to figure out where I'm at," he told me, apologetic for being slightly distracted. "I'm turned around – Apple Maps has been kind of a fail here in Indiana."
Asked if he was planning to include some of the Mandroid bits in his performance, the former co-host of MTV's Singled Out laughed, "No, no, you're not allowed to do that. There's no law against it, but it's just bad form as a comic to release a special and then just go on the road and do that material. People pay to see you, and they don't want to see the same jokes that they just saw for free on television, you know? [Comics] don't get the kind of leeway that a band gets, like, 'Yeah, the Stones are playing Satisfaction, sweet!' If you do a joke that's really old, then what happens is people on Reddit and Twitter just go, 'Real original, you're just doing old jokes!' But bands do it all the time."