Nerdist – which itself has expanded from its humble origins to include a premium content YouTube channel, podcast offshoots and a cross-platform newsletter, Nerdist News – is a logical extension of a not-so-radical concept: A talk show about nerd culture hosted by and featuring people who actually know what they’re talking about.
Nerdist podcast topics draw on everything and everyone from MythBusters star Adam Savage to Clerks and Silent Bob filmmaker, Comic Book Men TV impresario and unapologetic fan-boy Kevin Smith.
Nerdist Podcast ranked No. 3 in a recent Rolling Stone list of the 10 best comedy podcasts of the moment. Guests over the years – Nerdist Podcast bowed in February 2010 – have ranged from comics maestro Stan Lee and TV actors Jeri Ryan and Drew Carey to rocker Ozzy Osbourne and cast members from Doctor Who, Community and Star Trek: The Next Generation, among other similarly styled shows.
Hardwick considers himself a Doctor Who evangelist, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Nerdist’s TV debut coincides with the return of Doctor Who’s seventh season in the U.S. and Canada later this month.
Hardwick fell into Nerdist Podcast almost by accident. He was a struggling standup comic at the time. He had a hard time finding bookings and filing comedy clubs. No one knew who he was, or what his comedy involved. Podcasting seemed a natural way to spread the word.
“Podcasting is a survival mechanism,” Hardwick explained, earlier this year in Los Angeles. “As starting comedians, we need a way to express ourselves in public in a way that tells them this is who we are, this is what we’re about, these are the things we want to talk about. Podcasts have become the comedy albums of today.
“When I was a kid, you’d listen to the same comedy album 20, 30, 50 times. Today, we’re spoiled as consumers. We’re like, ‘More! More!’ Podcasts provide that for people. They’re like a nonstop comedy album.”