Guest Post by Shawn Proctor
After a stint on MTV, including “Singled Out,” Chris Hardwick’s life crashed—hard. He fell into a spiral of dysfunction, including alcoholism, and nearly didn’t recover. Luckily when watching an episode of the Daily Show with Jenny McCarthy, Chris heard Jon Stewart joke that Chris was probably around fetching coffee. It hit him hard. He realized he’d gone from comedian to cliché punch line.
Bit by bit, Chris recovered his personal life, overcoming addition, got his body back into shape, and ultimately jumpstarted an entirely new comedy career, including The Nerdist podcast, which he brings to the Trocadero March 23rd. His story is told in his recent book The Nerdist Way, part biography, part self-help, part comedic rant. His podcast records across the country, including dates in Philly.
Note: Chris’s more colorful language has been substituted with curses from Battlestar Galactica.
When did you realize that you were a nerd?
I found that I was interested in things other kids were not into. I loved computers and video games and chess. I could never hang around other kids, except for a group of three or four kids who were are sandwiched together because we were socially ostracized. It wasn’t until the movie Revenge of the Nerds when I realized, “Oh, that’s what I am.”
Tell me about the day Jon Stewart and the Daily Show helped you realize you were an alcoholic.
Most people don’t get an intervention from their favorite television show, but that was really what happened. It was still couple more years before I decided to clean up my act, but that was the first moment I was aware. At the time it crushed me—it was ultimately was one of the best things that ever happened.
How do you define nerd versus geek versus nerdist?
I don’t mean to offend nerds and/or geeks. I think we’re all saying the same thing. A lot of us are a little awkward, but we’re hyper obsessed and focused and incredibly passionate about the things that we are into. The idea of nerdist is I’ve noticed online culture has shown there are many nerds who are creators in addition to being consumers. And I think that a nerdist an artful or creative nerd.
How does Philly’s geek community stack up?
I love Philadelphia! Listen, there is a vast treasure under that region of the country and the clues are on our money! Wait… that’s the movie National Treasure.
But I love Philly because I live in California and we just don’t have the history you guys have. Philly is the roots of real American history. I always feel a weird connection to my country when I go to that part of the world. You can see the Liberty Bell, the history in the architecture. I always end up taking like 500 pictures.
So who shot first? Han solo or Greedo?
I am not getting into THAT debate! You cannot win! That is the same as talking politics. No matter what you say someone is going say “You frakkin’ idiot! Of course it was Greedo…or Han!” For my nerd political reasons, I am staying out of that.
What upcoming projects can we look forward to popping in our ear holes or looking orbs?
In addition to talking dead we’re doing more of the Nerdist T.V. show. We’re going to be doing a lot of cool stuff at Comic-Con. And we’re launching a premium Youtube channel. Nerdist Industries has partnered with the Henson Company and Broadway video to create 20 to 27 shows over the next year. I used to sit back and complain about how networks are run—on a smaller scale I get to find out whether I was full of crap.
About Shawn Proctor: Shawn Proctor received a MFA in creative writing at Rosemont College, and his fiction and journalism is widely published, including a roleplaying module with Chaosium, Inc. He loves reading individual issues of comic books and making papercraft models. He is shopping his first novel and working on a second about superheroes who take over protecting Philadelphia after the world’s only superhero is murdered. Shawn on Facebook & Twitter