Nerdist Chris Hardwick talks ‘Mandroid,’ ‘Talking Dead,’ and Wil Wheaton. - Interview

Chris Hardwick is best known for his popular Nerdist podcast. He's also the host of AMC's "Talking Dead" show. What fans may not know is that the host is also a seasoned stand-up comedian. His first ever one-hour comedy special, "Mandroid," will premiere on Comedy Central on Nov. 10.

For a veteran of TV, which included hosting gigs on MTV's "Singled Out" and PBS' "Wired Science," as well as stand-up both solo and with Mike Phirman, why did it take so long to do a one-hour special for Comedy Central?

(Photo credit: Brad Barket)

I've been doing stand-up since '98, and I didn't want to do a special until I thought I was ready. In that time I took a break from stand-up to do a musical comedy act called Hard n' Phirm. It happened in 2008, and after we finished that, we both started doing our own acts again. So from 2008-2012, it really took a few years to rebuild my act again for the special. It was really just taking time to do other things in the mix.

You're mostly known for your Nerdist podcast. Is "Mandroid" an extension of Nerdist?

It is, well, yeah, it is. I wanted to express that without having to call it The Nerdist Stand-up Comedy Special (laughs). That's why I picked "Mandroid" -- of man and android -- so the aesthetic and the vibe of the show is future-y man/machine themed but not necessarily… it's not like it's an hour of robot jokes. I feel like it sets the table of being in that sphere of topicality without being so on the nose and saying, "This is a nerd comedy special."

You also host AMC's "Talking Dead," a live after-show for "The Walking Dead." How did you get involved with AMC and this series?

First of all, I was a huge "Walking Dead" fan. Then I heard, after the first season, that they were interested in doing that show, so I went after it. But then I found out that one of the guys who heads up AMC's programming was one of my bosses at MTV years ago. They were already aware of me so we kind of came at each other at the same time. They were like, "Do you want to do a show?" and I was like, "That's funny. I was going to ask if I could do the show." So it all worked out.

I read that you were Wil Wheaton's roommate for a while. He kind of plays a hostile version of himself on "The Big Bang Theory." Is he like this in real life or more like Gordie from "Stand By Me"?

(Laughs) That's a really funny question, but I do have to say Wil is one of the most decent, intelligent, contemplative people that you could meet. He's a great friend and just a lovely guy. He's done so much for nerd and geek culture, and the idea of following the things you're passionate about. If you can build your career around those things than what more do you really need in life? If you can build your career around your passions then you're winning in life; that's one of the best things you can ask for.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Follow him on Twitter at @zoiks_online. Email Jason at
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