I am often stubbornly, and at times irrationally, adverse to embracing new technology, and while I’m working on it, change comes slowly, and sometimes I need a good shove in the right direction. In the spring of 2010, a good friend of mine provided one such shove when he sent me a link to a podcast; a link I quickly dismissed because I didn’t know what a podcast was, and I had no interest in figuring it out. However, my friend kept pushing, insisting that I would love it, and so it was with great hesitation that I downloaded episode 13 of the Nerdist Podcast, featuring an interview with the Muppets. My friend was right, of course, in that I did love the episode, because I am a lifelong devoted fan of Jim Henson and all things Muppets, but more importantly, it forced me to explore this strange new world of podcasting. Three and a half years, 45 podcasts, and over 200GB later, I am well and truly enamoured with this wonderful medium of information, but among all the podcasts to which I now subscribe, my favourite is still the one that started it all.
Hosted by comedians Chris Hardwick, Matt Mira, and Jonah Ray, the Nerdist Podcast features interviews with people in the entertainment industry, along with weekly “hostful” episodes that give the three hosts time to discuss their own adventures in nerd culture without the pesky business of having to interview someone. The interviews often run over an hour in length, meaning that actual conversations can occur, as opposed to the prepackaged chats that are usually found on talk shows, and given the loose format of the episodes, the variety of discussions that unfold is amazing. Most episodes are laugh out loud funny, but the laughs are usually interspersed between fascinating discussions about the art of comedy, nerd culture, and the entertainment industry as a whole. The guests are always interesting, and the hostful episodes are just as fun, because the genial squabbles between these three friends are often hilarious.
Over the hundreds of hours I’ve logged listening to Nerdist, what I’ve come to appreciate the most is the number of new artists to whom the show has introduced me, not to mention the countless movies and television shows I’ve checked out because of the endorsements I’ve heard. In particular, Nerdist has introduced me to dozens of stand up comedians, many of whom I’ve gone on to follow online and live whenever they come through town. In the past, stand up comedy was never of particular interest to me, but in listening to so many comedians talk about the time and energy they put into their craft, I have come to a completely new appreciation for the art of standing in front of a group of strangers and trying to make them laugh. I know I will be a fan of stand up comedy for years to come, and it is entirely because of all the time I have spent listening to the Nerdist Podcast.
I will be forever thankful to my friend for shoving me in the direction of podcasts and the mountain of information I have gleaned from them over the years. However, anytime I have a long car ride, walk, or hike ahead of me, I know I will always make sure that my ipod is stocked with the latest Nerdist episodes, because I can’t think of a better way to pass the time. Sure, the laughing out loud aspect of listening to this show has led to some awkward and unfortunate situations, but on the other hand, it was because of the Nerdist Podcast that I became a Whovian, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s been worth it.