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Chris Hardwick

Huge nerd alert: an original special based on Chris Hardwick‘s massively popular podcast and blog The Nerdist will hit BBC America on Saturday, September 24 at 10/9c. In anticipation, Anglophenia has partnered with the team to bring you a scintillating week of geekdom featuring our own British slant on nerd culture; musings from the Nerdist guru himself, comedian/host Chris Hardwick; and the five Nerdist podcasts that shook the world!

But first, what is this thing they call…the Nerdist? And what part do burritos play in it? editor Perry Michael Simon explains. – Anglophenia Staff

The upcoming debut of the Nerdist TV special here at BBC America has a lot of fans excited, but we know that there are people out there — you know who you are — who have no idea what this Nerdist thing is, nor what to expect. And that’s why we’ve created a handy FAQ to explain… wait, you DO know what an FAQ is, right? Good, then; You’re already in the Nerdist mindset. Let’s get to it, then, Frequently (not really) Asked (again, not really) Questions (okay, that part’s true) about The Nerdist:

1. What’s “Nerdist”?

Nerdist is a person — Chris Hardwick, comedian, TV personality, writer, bon vivant, host of BBC America’s Ministry of Laughs. It’s also a website, at, appropriately enough, It’s a podcast, produced twice weekly. And it’s a state of mind.

2. State of mind? What do you mean by that? And isn’t “nerd” an insult?

Well, “nerd” WAS an insult, but nerds have reclaimed the term and now wear that name proudly. Being a “nerd” doesn’t mean you wear thick glasses with tape on the bridge, or snort when you laugh, or play Dungeons and Dragons, although you COULD do that. No, we define it as creative obsession, people who are so into their creative pursuits that they know every last detail about them. They’re not just fans, they’re super-fans. You can be a nerd about practically anything — Doctor Who and Star Wars, sure, but also food, comedy, art, video games, technology, science, sports, movies, even sex. “Nerd culture” covers a wide range of things, but, yes, if a superhero’s involved, it definitely counts.

3. I’m not a nerd. Will I know what’s going on?

Definitely! The Nerdist Podcast is not necessarily what you think it is. The guests have included Jon Hamm, Adam Carolla, the Muppets, Bill Maher, Bryan Cranston, and many of comedy’s top names, as well as Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, Sir Patrick Stewart, Simon Pegg, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, the Mythbusters, and others who you might have expected. Think of it as a series of interviews of cool people who’ll show a side of themselves you won’t see elsewhere. It’s funny, but also insightful, as Chris, Matt and Jonah probe the creative processes of some of the smartest, most interesting celebrities in the business; you’ll find that they make even people in whom you think you’re not interested really interesting. And you may think you’re not a nerd, but in some way, about something, you probably are.

Matt Smith

4. Sounds great, but… wait, wasn’t Chris Hardwick the guy on that show… what was it called?

Yes, yes, he was.

5. Who are those other guys?

Chris’ co-hosts are Jonah Ray and Matt Mira. Jonah is a standup comic and writer in Los Angeles who’s appeared in and written for several TV shows. He is from Hawaii and bristles at the suggestion that he might be a hipster. Matt is a comedy writer/producer who, like Jonah, hosts a weekly live standup comedy show in Los Angeles; he likes the Boston Red Sox and the Dave Matthews Band, long walks in the woods, and puppies. Maybe not the walks and the puppies. I haven’t confirmed that.

Matt Mira and Jonah Ray

6. What’s this burrito thing they talk about?

Every Nerdist Podcast closes with the slogan “Enjoy Your Burrito.” It means, essentially, savor the moment. Enjoy what you’re doing right this minute. Don’t worry that things won’t be as good later; enjoy the burrito you’re eating right now. There was an actual burrito involved in the genesis of the phrase, eaten by Jonah at a restaurant in San Pedro, California. His decision to just focus on enjoying that burrito changed his life, and the lives of many others. It was a saintly, magical burrito.

7. What’s the difference between a nerd and a geek?

Frankly, I have no idea. People seem to have developed their own definitions, but, really, they’re interchangeable, and might be regional, too. It doesn’t matter. Geeks, nerds… one nation.

8. Where can I find out more?

Come on over to You can find out more about the podcast and Chris’ live appearances there, and you’ll get lots of blog posts from Chris and our squad of Nerdists.

9. When’s this thing on again, and who are the guests?

Glad you asked. Craig Ferguson and Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith are the guests, and it’s airing Saturday, September 24th, 10 pm Eastern and Pacific, BBC America. Tell your friends.

Check back tomorrow for the next Nerdist Week post…

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By Perry Michael Simon