I am going to inaugurate a recurring segment, by taking a page out of a blog I really enjoy called I Hate Everything. She is essentially compiling the enormous list of everything that is wrong with the world, one paragraph at a time. And when I say everything that is wrong with the world, I mean that in the sense of “Why would ‘Glee’ covers ever come up in iTunes searches before the actual songs?”rather than “Why do African warlords have to be such assholes?” The size of the complaint isn’t significant, nor is whether it is something that most people are likely to know about. It just has to be something that one of us knows about, and if you don’t, deal with it. It seems like a cathartic pastime. Today’s subject: The Nerdist Podcast.
The Nerdist is one of those things that seems to inhabit the same internet world as many other tech-savvy, geeky, science-interested things, like Boing-Boing and Wired. They describe themselves as being obsessed with “nerd-culture” and sci-fi and stuff, and the show revolves around them having meandering interviews with guests who have some importance to pop-culture. And many of their guests are legitimately nerdy, like people from Mythbusters, or Futurama or whatever. But the other more than 50% are simply comedians or normal actors. There is nothing wrong with this, (and you know, it’s free, so it isn’t like they owe anyone anything) but they are constantly banging on about what geeks they are, and professing this devotion to sci-fi etc, while never actually discussing anything beyond the mechanics of show business. It is not more interesting to hear Brent Spiner talk about auditioning for movie roles than any other random actor. And it is definitely not interesting to hear the hosts, who are comics, talk about what mutual people they know from which obscure LA comedy club, or who they met at some convention that I’ve never heard of.
It is fine to do a podcast where you talk about comedy and television and pop-culture things. But just because the formerly pejorative term ‘nerd’ has been watered down to the point where Britney Spears says she was one growing up, doesn’t mean that it is an appropriate description for a show where you talk to Joan Rivers and Will Ferrell about how they got into stand-up. If you want to do those things, you have to not call your program The Nerdist.