“He’s a little dirtier than on Talking Dead”.
That was a telltale text from my brother Mike just before Comic-Con icon Chris Hardwick hit the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts stage as one of the big gets for this year’s #JFL42 yuk-it-up fest.
My slightly younger sibling goes to comedy shows throughout Toronto like LiL’s own Sarah Rix covers concerts; I trust his opinion on who can truly bring the funny in a crowded environment such as this. You have to be living under a proverbial rock to not be semi-conscious of who Hardwick is these days. Between his aforementioned Talking Dead hosting duties, Nerdist Industry podcasts and @midnight game show of sorts, the geeks are indeed inheriting the earth, with the vest-wearing anti-Ryan Seacrest as their almighty supreme ruler.
As an aside, anyone roughly the same age as me (which Hardwick actually is), and who is Canadian would probably agree that @midnight unintentionally owes a great deal to MuchMusic’s Test Pattern with Dan Gallagher. Minus the 2-slice toaster grand prize, of course.
I sheepishly admit to not being all that familiar with Hardwick’s standup act, which he’s been calling the “Funcomfortable” tour. Nothing quite sets the mood for an evening to come like doing a bit in a mock Bane voice, only to abruptly stop and have us all reflect on the fact all of our mothers have had semen ejaculated on them at some point. If you could get through that incredible awkward moment without running for the exits, you were treated to some pretty entertaining stories about how the lean, mean, hipster-baiting machine has been dealing with celebrity in the 2010s, hardcore fans and impending nuptials, to say nothing of his neurotic and alcoholic parents.
This was apparently a warm-up to a special Hardwick will be taping in the new year, although when he’ll have time to do so with everything the entrepre“nerd” has going on is beyond me. It definitely felt at times like kinks were being worked out, but the steady stream of guffaws made up for any notebook referrals. Things even delved into a Kevin Smith-inspired interactive Q&A; sadly, my front row-sitting brother didn’t get the opportunity to ask if Hardwick would ever consider having Marilyn Manson as a contestant on @midnight after this debacle on Talking Dead. I never, ever get tired of sharing that clip. As a consolation reward, we settled for a singalong version of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”, done Puddle of Mudd post-grunge style dedicated to the high school-aged girl with the best seat in the house. Good. Times!
There are plenty more “things” still left to experience before JFL42 wraps up on Saturday, October 3rd. Get passes and tickets here, and go have a good chuckle. I sure did; points to you, Mr. Hardwick!