Given the many levels of irony, comedy, and verbal sleight of hand, it's hard to tell exactly where Chris Hardwick stands on his love of, role in, and future with nerd culture. On his album Mandroid we get a brief resume of his career and, much like Paul F. Tompkins' Impersonal album, we also get a revue of the best of his material over the last decade or so. If you've followed Mr. Hardwick's stand-up act you'll recognize "Twilight the Vampire," "Old Sperm Babies," and other bits from his many appearances on stages across America. If not, you're in for a feast of comedy riches.
Recorded as a TV special, this brisk set brings the funny without dragging. I laughed out loud on a plane a few times while listening to it, and I appreciate having a place to send people to hear the source of a few gags I've seen live or in various TV appearances over the last few years.
One might assume nerd rage/ennui/pride is a tough subject to tackle particularly when one has been a host of a number of entertaining dating shows, although Hardwick deftly brings up the annoyance of the older crew of original gangsta Atari owners suffering so that some teenager can where an Atari t-shirt without fear of a swirly. It does give the album a more immediate feel as this is something that's been going around a lot as of late particularly as fake nerds, mistaken irony, and other fanboy issues are concerned. This has been a touchy subject on the internet as of late.
If you enjoy Mr. Hardwick's vast Nerdist podcast empire or various late-night appearances, this is perfectly tailored to your needs. It's breezy and easily understood, knowingly embracing the subject matter without dwelling on it with a light touch as sort of an introduction to people who are aware of the advent of nerd culture, but may not necessarily be on board just yet. As a time capsule, this will be a handy yardstick to show where the culture is heading as of its recording, and this is the continued transition of "nerd culture" into "American culture." Or perhaps "'Merican culture."
RIYL: Shipmates, The Talking Dead, and/or Comic-Con after having been there at least two or three times since 2008.
May 28, 2013
MP3 album release date January 22, 2013
Review copy was MP3s