Joey Grihalva

King of the Nerds

Chris Hardwick, the foremost nerd comedian, performs at the Pabst tonight.

By - May 8th, 2015 03:46 pm
Chris Hardwick

Chris Hardwick

The Milwaukee Comedy Festival recently announced their headliner for the 10th annual festival this August, prominent nerd comic Brian Posehn. Tonight, Milwaukee can see the nerd king of comedy, Chris Hardwick, live at the Pabst Theater. Hardwick is one of the hardest working people in show business and the leader of an LA-based multimedia empire known as Nerdist Industries, which became part of Legendary Entertainment in 2012.

Long before Hardwick ascended to digital supremacy he was the host of hit basic cable dating show Singled Out on MTV. He remained in the game/talk show world for most of the 2000s, most notably on G4’s Web Soup (a spinoff of E’s The Soup) and Wired Science on PBS (while writing for one of the nerdiest magazines, Wired). In the midst of the comedy podcast boom, Hardwick began hosting The Nerdist podcast with his friends Matt Mira and Jonah Ray in 2010. It quickly became a hit and has been listed on many top 10 comedy podcast lists. Besides joking around about pop and geek culture, The Nerdist crew consistently lands big name guests (like Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, and Paul McCartney), thanks to Hardwick’s Hollywood connections.

The Nerdist has grown into a network of almost 50 podcasts, web videos and a live venue in the back of a comic book store on Sunset Boulevard in LA. I visited the Nerdmelt Showroom at Meltdown Comics back in the Fall of 2013 and saw the beta version of Hardwick’s Comedy Central show @midnight. They were developing the pilot at the time and hoped to actually shoot it live at midnight to incorporate live audience participation through Twitter, but that was prohibited by union contracts. The show is still very funny and just one of Hardwick’s television endeavors. He also hosted two fan talk shows on “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad,” and the BBC America Britcom block Ministry of Laughs.

Despite everything Hardwick does for the screen and behind-the-scenes, he is a talented and seasoned stand-up comic. I first saw him at a live recording of The Nerdist in a small club above a skateshop at the 2011 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival (the biggest comedy fest in the world). I didn’t expect him to perform a set before the podcast recording and honestly didn’t expect him to be so hilarious, but he surprised on both accounts. His stage persona is noticeably more confident than his stripped-back self on the podcast, delivering a high-energy brand of witty and relatable nerd comedy. (Fun fact about Hardwick: his dad Billy was a Hall of Fame bowler.) This should be a great show.

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