Now! At 23:30…just to fuck with our minds.
Hosted by Chris Hardwick
Created by Alex Blagg, Jason Nadler, Tom Lennon, and Ben Garant
Directed by Martin Pasetta, Michael Dimich, Hugh Bartlett, and Ron de Moraes
This is going to be an amazing review, because no matter what I say I can’t possibly give away a SPOILER! Yay! Such freedom as I’ve never known. *sniffle, deep breath* One thing to point out: for the foreseeable future, the show is on at 23:30. Unfortunately, that means a lot of the language we adults use has been cut out. Well, fuck. Ooops! R-rated, anyway.
Onwards. If you don’t recognise Chris Hardwick, you are probably one of those d-bags who responds to any sentence containing a reference to a show with a condescending, “I don’t really watch TV.” Or, worse, “I don’t own a TV.” To paraphrase a John Lithgow line, if you don’t know you sound like a dick, you must be from New York. You need a TV and a computer to have a chance at keeping up with this game, but let’s catch up with the host first.
Hardwick came to us from The Nerdist podcast, which leapfrogged to television as The Nerdist panel/talk show. (There were other projects before that, but when he when cold sober in 2008 is really when Harwick’s career got his with the defib paddles and his amazing comedic talents and encyclopedic fanboy knowledge hit the ground running. I call him Sexypants, because in those sweet, bepoke suits and narrow pants that you see when he comes out from behind–) He used to work hard, performing on Sanjay and Craig, The Jim Gaffigan Show, hosting Talking Bad, Talking Dead, Talking Preacher, Talking Saul, The Wall, and @midnight, among others. Then, Breaking Bad and The Jim Gaffigan Show ended their runs and he was just another bum. How he and Lydia are going to live off of six incomes and her savings is anybody’s guess. By the way, the only person I’ve met to challenge to his bottomless fanboy knowledge? A young man by the name of George Barnes at the Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Ave. in London. Oh, how I’d love to see a face-off!
One thing is certain: No one kills hosting like Chris Hardwick. The comedians change around every episode, but it is the host that brings me back night after night, even watching some episodes twice…as long as I like the contestants. Hardwick is a favourite at Comic-Con, even getting into the cosplay. It’s true; I’ve seen his Preacher and what I hope was not his actual Flash. With his light-speed wit though, I kind of think he would fit in quite well with the Algonquin Roundtable, if we gave everyone a level playing-field of pop culture. Don’t worry about his language; Dorothy Parker had a mouth on her. Not a one of them could make me wet ’em every time they say, “god DAMN it!” like he does. (You laugh at what you like and I’ll crack up on my own, thank you.)
The three comedian/contestants compete in a social media format that demands a wide knowledge of pop culture, current events, the interwebs and everything on them, politics, and how to make the audience and Hardwick laugh. Getting the audience behind you is an important part of the play, that and a quick hand on the buzzer. The actual time frame is a little…ambiguous. In the seconds between the introduction of a topic, such as the night’s “#Hashtag Wars,” the comedians somehow compile a list of answers on the touchscreens built into their podiums. No one’s that fast, right?
A surprising thing you’ll notice when you watch the show consistently is how many non-comedian contestants there are. I mean, when you see Kate Walsh, Paul Feig, or Robert Kirkman your first thought is not open-mic night, but they have chops we just haven’t had the chance to see yet. (If you don’t know how funny Feig is on paper, you need to read his early memoirs.) Sometimes panels are made up of three performers from one show and the Face the Nation one was hysterical.* There are few enough pleasant surprises these days, so these are more than welcome.
Another great aspect of the show is the chance to watch upcoming comics you’ve probably never seen before trot out their brain cells and make your introduction. Personally, I’ve started following a lot of them after seeing them on @midnight. None of them have noticed yet, so don’t circulate any photos of me or my car. Ron Funches (Get Hard, Trolls) is my new personal favourite male comedian. I have never seen anyone appreciate other people’s jokes as much as he does and I love him for it. Females? Shit…Mamrie Hart, Riki Lindhome, Milana Vayntrub… Female comics don’t get the same amount of exposure as the men do, so I’m seeing a lot of new faces and laughing at a lot of smart humour.
Not every one’s a diamond, of course. I loathe stoner humour and some of those show up way too often. Seeking affirmation from the crowd is just weak and I can think of one particular guy who does this after every. single. joke. Stop it. And even Morrissey quit wearing that fucking Band-Aid over his nipple, so EMO is officially over. *hint, hint* My heart was broken when Birbigs was supposed to be on one night and it turned out to be $#^%)(#! election night. No Mike. You can’t always get what you want, but I’d love me some Jake Johannsen. If anyone’s listening.
Sure. it’s a school night and you’ve got to be in bed way before @midnight @23:30. (Right. We know you’re reading One-Punch Man with a flashlight under the covers. If that’s not what you are doing under there, keep it to yourself, perv.) It is for just such moments of global importance that the DVR or TIVO or whatever was invented; set that sucker to tape every episode. Or, or, watch them uncensored at http://www.cc.com/shows/-midnight. Actually, do both if you like, but definitely watch it so those ratings skyrocket. Hardwick has a Hearst to feed, for shit’s sake.
Lisa’s Rating: R