Directed by Ryan Polito
Starring Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick of The Nerdist and Talking Dead hits the stage in this Comedy Central special, but can this nerd celebrity appease mainstream comedy, or will his geek humor fall on his face?
Chris Hardwick, the TV/internet personality known for hosting AMC’s Talking Dead, appearing on G4, and running his web channel The Nerdist, puts on his shiny stand-up suit for the Comedy Central special Mandroid.
Hardwick is a nerd’s nerd. Several of his jokes contain references to his time in chess club, Harry Potter, and Atari games. He goes on about the proliferation of geek culture as of late, compared to his almost Revenge-of-the-Nerds-esque childhood, and the differences between true nerds from hipsters and dweebs.
Unlike a lot of geeky comedians though, the simple references aren’t a crutch for Hardwick’s act, nor do they make up the entirety of his performance. Hardwick goes all over the place, from his drinking experiences to aging over 35. A lot of his routine is very relatable, nerd or not, so his comedy is still going to strike a chord even if you don’t know what Platform 9 and ¾ is.
The parental advisory on the box is no joke. Hardwick has several sexual-related bits, from virginity to shark vaginas, and even fake screwing the mic and the mic stand. It’s crude, but the humor hits its mark. Hardwick’s performance keeps everything light and playful, lessening any offense one may take. Still, keep the kiddies away.
This special is a fun hour’s worth of chuckles. It doesn’t have many stand-out memorable bits, but it’s worth the watch. Thankfully, what geeky pop-culture references Hardwick uses are fairly benign and timeless, so it won’t feel immediately out of date. That is, unless you like New MySpace.
The Video and Audio
This comedy special is widescreen, and the audio is English. The sound is clearly audible. You can understand everything Hardwick is saying. It’s a stand-up special, so nothing is exceptional in terms of the audio or visual production. Can you clearly see and hear the comedian? Yep, and that’s what matters.
Random thought: The case notes that the program is in widescreen and that the black bars on the top and bottom are normal. How much longer do you think we have to go before we can drop that message?
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The one-disc DVD comes in a standard DVD. The jacket art is reminiscent of an old pulp comic or novel, with Hardwick drawn in a robot suit fighting a dinosaur on an alien planet, complete with fake worn corners. That alone is enough to make me pick up the DVD.
The feature has three extras: two comedic songs by the musical duo “Hard ‘n Phirm” (Hardwick himself and Mike Phirman), and a “Totally Hidden Easter Egg” blooper from one of their performance. The songs are chuckle-worthy. The bloopers of missed cues and screwed-up guitar playing show that sometimes the ad-libbed filler is as funny as or more than the pre-planned material, showcasing Hardwick’s adaptability.
Overall (Not an Average)
Mandroid is a fun watch, both the special itself and the bonuses. It’s not a must-have comedy special, but if you can rent or buy it cheap, give it try and then pass to your next nerdy buddy in need of some laughs.
The Film 7/10
The Video and Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10