These days, being a nerd is more likely to get you laid than beaten up. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg get all the credit for that, but Chris Hardwick was making dorkdom look suave back when talking on a landline and surfing the Web simultaneously seemed like an impossible, insane dream. Fondly remembered as the funny guy who stood next to Jenny McCarthy on Singled Out, he's more topically notable as head honcho of Nerdist, which has swollen from a lone podcast into a digital kingdom of curiosities in a mere two years. Alongside sidekicks Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, Hardwick's rarin' to record a live Nerdist podcast Friday at the Wilbur Theatre. For interactivity's sake, they're bringing a Twitter wall that will display 140-characters-or-less quips from the audience. That idea sounds like it could backfire pretty badly, but maybe that's the point.
ARE THERE ANY MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DOING THE PODCAST LIVE AND IN THE STUDIO? Well, when we're in a studio, no one shouts back at us. First and foremost, we're comedians, so we're going to play to an audience. When we're in a studio, we just play to each other. So there's a bit more outward energy with a live audience. The studio shows are a little more intimate, and there isn't a thing where we feel, "We have to make people laugh! They paid money to see us!" They're totally different energies, and I like both equally.
YOU'VE HAD SUCH AN ECLECTIC ARRAY OF GUESTS ON THE PODCAST — CONAN O'BRIEN, DANICA MCKELLAR, THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS — IS THERE ANYONE YOU WOULDN'T EVER BOOK, JUST BECAUSE TALKING TO THEM FOR AN HOUR WOULD SUCK? I don't think I would have any of the Kardashians on, you know? She wasn't being offered, but someone was like, "Oh, Katy Perry has something coming out." I said, "Eh, I don't know why we would have her on." For the people we have on, the main rule is if I would like to listen to them, they're good for the show.
ON A RECENT LIVE PODCAST, SOMEONE LAMENTED THAT YOU'VE MOCKED DAVE MATTHEWS TOO MUCH FOR HIM TO EVER BE A GUEST . . . I don't know if he would do the show, but if he wanted to come on, I would have him just because Matt (Mira) is so in love with him. The truth is, I don't have a problem with Dave Matthews. It was more about making fun of Matt. He's literally been to, like, 80 Dave Matthews shows. Also, we've poked so much fun at Dave Matthews that it would be hard for me to sit there and pretend we hadn't. I would have him on if I could say, "Okay, look, things have been said about you on this show, and hopefully you're okay with it. It's all meant in fun."
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