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The Nerd In Chief 

Popular podcaster showcases his pop-culture obsessed stand-up in Comedy Central special


By Michael Shashoua / Jester editor-in-chief


Chris Hardwick may have become better known among comedy fans for his Nerdist podcast than for his stand-up, but his new Comedy Central special, “Mandroid,” airing Nov. 10, could change that.


On “Nerdist,” Hardwick excels at cultivating open-ended, free-flowing and still revealing interviews with comedic performers, as well as actors with some comic flair (such as Jorge Garcia of “Lost,” and of course, recently, Tom Hanks). Part of the identity he shares on this podcast is his love for all things nerdy, including comics, chess Dungeons & Dragons, Tolkien and various online communities – as he puts it here, “everything that makes vaginas go away.” That extends to his stand-up as well.


In this special, one highlight is his account of a stabbing at Comic-Con. Noting that there were stands selling all sorts of geek weaponry like broadswords, battleaxes and maces, that might have been used, Hardwick marvels, “What could have been the subject for this stabbing? A mechanical pencil! That’s right – click, click, click – stab!”


Speaking of online precincts of nerdom, Hardwick taps MySpace as subject matter in another great bit in this special, revealing that he’s afraid to even check in to his account because that site has become like a bad neighborhood. “I think my profile probably has graffiti all over it,” he says. “Tom has a scraggly beard, long fingernails and missing teeth, with bottles of pee around him, ranting ‘I’m in your top 8!’” As he delivers some of this, he sounds a bit like some of the characters from “South Park,” which seems to be one of the colors in his delivery.


There’s a lot more material in Hardwick’s hour to recommend it – and frequent shots of the audience show many who are nearly doubled over in reactions. You’re likely to have the same experience watching him.

"Mandroid" will also be released in CD form on Nov. 13














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