I Went to a Live @Nerdist Show and All I Got Was a Chris Hardwick on My Back

08/19/2011 By Shawn Burns

So…let me explain.

No, it is too much. Lemme sum up.

  1. I started listening to the Nerdist podcast a couple of months ago. I listened to the entire back catalog in about three weeks, just before they cracked the 100th episode mark. I am a fan. Some of my favourite people show up to do interviews, they talk about geeky things and comedy (I am turning into a comedy nerd) and Chris and Matt and Jonah are just great at what they do. I listen to a few other podcasts now (more on my new podcasting obsession later), but The Nerdist is by far my favourite. I also read the blog, and spend some time on Twitter trying to get famous people to go on the show. Sometimes this works.
  2. The Nerdist is Chris Hardwick, host of G4’s WebSoup, stand-up comic, panelist on Chelsea Lately, and now author of The Nerdist Way. He also used to be roommates with Wil Wheaton, who I once convinced to babysit Erin so I could go read some comic books.
  3. A regular thing at the California Academy of the Sciences in Golden Gate Park is “Nightlife”, a nighttime series of “lectures” that is really just an excuse to go party at a really amazing building in San Francisco. It is $12 to get in.
  4. I have had $12.
  5. I went to the show, in which Chris sat opposite Veronica Belmont, such an early adopter that her Twitter handle is just “Veronica”, and spoke with her about nerdy things: Google+, podcasting, Internet culture, gaming, Game of Thrones/True Blood, and why kids on an airplane are a young nerd’s worst nightmare (there weren’t many parents in the room, so this went over well).
  6. IMG-20110818-00117

  7. I sat in the front row, stage right. We were in African Hall, which features displays of stuffed animals behind glass. I was sitting next to one of the windows, at the side of the hall. Some of the animals, though, are not stuffed. At one point during the interview, Chris pointed straight at my head and yelled “Those lizards are alive!!” You should be able to hear this on the podcast when the show goes up. Now, imagine me, sitting there listening and watching, when all of a sudden, dude points at my face and starts yelling at me. I couldn’t even understand the words he was saying at first because I was so surprised. Good times.
  8. After the interview ended, Chris stayed to meet fans and I lingered for a handshake and a photo. Sending tweets to people you admire is one thing; going up to them and actually speaking is another, and I was getting really nervous about it. But when my turn came I said, “Hi, I’m Shawn. I go by @BackpackingDad on Twitter….” and he recognized me and said “Yes! You’ve been trying to get people on the podcast…with moderate success!” When you hear Emma Caulfield on the podcast later? Yeah, I did that. I also get to claim credit for the Neil Gaiman interview, though not really.
  9. I asked if I could take a picture with him, and he said “Sure!” but when I went to do my one-handed self-shot (every picture ever of me and another person seems to be this same move), he gestured to one of the other people waiting and asked them to take the picture instead. “Okay…” I thought, wondering if it was a germs thing, or maybe I smelled bad, or I’d given off that crazy-stalker vibe, and he wanted to keep some distance between us in the photo. But no. Because the next thing I know, Chris Hardwick has climbed up on to the stage we were standing next to, then clambered up onto my back, exclaiming “I’m like one of your kids!”IMG-20110818-00122
  10. The End.

Go subscribe to the Nerdist Podcast now. Thank me later. Beware of hitchhiking Hardwicks.