A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Nerding out with Chris Hardwick

Photo courtesy of http://sfsketchfest.com
Hardwick’s show ‘@midnight’ is greenlit on Comedy Central for a full year.

When Chris Hardwick first hit the television scene, not many had heard of him. A stand up comedian, Hardwick started out as the host of MTV’s “Singled Out” in the early ‘90s before doing smaller roles in films like Rob Zombie’s “House of a Thousand Corpses.” He started to make a name for himself with his stand up and became a staple on G4 TV. Now he hosts a brand new show, “@midnight.”

Some may think the show is close to other shows like “Tosh.O” or Hardwick’s other program, “Web Soup,” but it is much more than that.

“We are basically pulling from any social media, any social interaction. I think it is a social media show; there’s a very communal feel,” he said.

The show is a game show played by comedians who try to answer questions that Hardwick asks them. If they answer the question right they are awarded points and the person with the most points at the end wins.  The point system seems similar to “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

“Our show really does have point values for specific games and I don’t think they are as arbitrary as they might seem,” Hardwick said. “I’d say our show works more like Hogwarts house points than ‘Whose Line’s’ points.”

The show has found success, and Comedy Central picked it up for a whole year. That’s a big deal considering it took almost two and a half years for the show to finally enter production.

“I met with Comedy Central in 2011 and we agreed that we wanted to try something together so I developed my version of ‘Attack of the Show,’ which I loved working on at G4,” Hardwick said.

G4 TV was a cable channel designed around video games and nerds. A lot of people will remember Hardwick from his days on the channel, where his nerdiness was front and center. The channel found marginal success but not enough to keep it afloat.

“I always felt if they had a bigger signal boost, then ‘Attack of the Show’ and G4 would have done a lot better,” Hardwick said.

The nail in the coffin for G4 came when Directv and Comcast split and made the TV channel reach an even smaller audience. “I was devastated but not surprised. I left a year before G4 went under. It’s funny, even when I got a job there, everyone always felt like we could get canceled at any moment and I worked there for four years knowing that the end of each calendar year that they could just come in and go, ‘Hey we’re pulling all of your funding,’” Hardwick said. “So all of the time that G4 was around, the staff would get whittled down so much that by the time it happened, it was kind of like the death of a long illness.”

The death of G4 may have been a sad one, but Hardwick’s career has become more prominent since his departure. Hardwick now hosts “The Talking Dead” and previously hosted “Talking Bad,” shows that discussed AMC hits “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad.” And with his new show, “@midnight,” it seems like he is just getting started.

With so much going on in his life, it’s hard to imagine anyone balancing so much in one day.

“I think time management is pretty easy. It’s pretty cut and dry; you just figure out how long it takes to do everything that you normally do. My calendar looks like a Tetris board,” Hardwick said.

Of course, Hardwick believes it is not just about figuring out how much each task takes. “You have to police yourself a little bit to make sure you’re throwing your energy into the right direction and once in a while you gotta take a step back and think, ‘Is this getting me closer to the thing that I want or am I just obsessing over something?’” Hardwick said. “And I think you have to schedule leisure time so you don’t go crazy, and I’m bad at that, I’m trying to get better at it.”

The advice he gave to students who have trouble time managing and procrastinating was something that took him a long while to figure out: “In terms of procrastinating, that’s a thing you have to kinda trick your brain into doing, which is hard, ‘cause your brain will only ever tell you how to feel good in an immediate moment and that’s not always what’s best for you in the long term. You can either ignore what your brain is trying to tell you to do and go, ‘Oh yeah, well, I’m going to try to do this work anyway even though it feels like it will suck.’ But then once you get the wheels turning and you kinda get into it and once you get the momentum going in the right direction then you’ll start to get things done.”

Even without as much leisure time as he needs, Hardwick still has accomplished a lot, not just on television but also through his Nerdist podcasts and YouTube channels, which were bought out by Legendary Entertainment. After the purchase, he became co-president of Legendry’s digital business. Not bad at all for a 42-year-old gaming nerd.


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Jarrett Rodriguez, Co Editor-in-Chief

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