This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

As you may be aware, Chris Hardwick‘s latest Nerdist special, The Nerdist: Year in Review, will air Saturday night, Christmas Eve, December 24 at 9/8c on BBC America, and the good folks at the network have asked me, the editor of, to make a return engagement at Anglophenia this week, giving you a rundown of the top five Nerdist Podcasts of the year. I said, “Yeah, sure, I can do that,” which was probably not the smartest thing I could have done, considering that I, like you and everyone else, have gone into Full Holiday Mode and don’t want to do any actual work for the rest of the year.

However, I was able to get Nerdist fans to help me out by posting and suggesting their favorites, and they gave me a pretty clear picture of which ones they liked the most. If you don’t listen to the Nerdist Podcasts — and why would you not? — this will give you an idea of what we’re all about. If you DO listen, join us on a stroll down Short-Term Memory Lane as we revisit the podcasts Nerdist fans remember most fondly from 2011….

But first, a quick look at the runners-up:

• There was an awesome visit by Ben Folds, one for which Chris rented a studio with a piano just to get Ben to do some songs (which he did).

Neil Gaiman dropped by and talked about his Doctor Who script and gave advice for aspiring writers.

• In front of a live audience, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman gave the world the new term “Sasquatching” (NSFW!!!).

• Chris interviewed Sir Patrick Stewart and his son Daniel in front of another live audience, and, well, come on, Patrick Stewart, how could that NOT be great?

• Actress Jenny Wade, with whom you might be familiar from The Good Guys and Reaper, was a surprise, both for being really funny and for suddenly busting out in fluent Japanese.

• And Simon Pegg, who just happens to be on The Nerdist: Year in Review, Christmas Eve, 9/8c, BBC America (gotta get that plug in there), stopped by and was joined by surprise guest Joel McHale. The Top 5 were, in the listeners’ estimation, even more awesome than that.

For the Number Five Nerdist Podcast of 2011, I’m going to cheat a little. See, there are two types of Nerdist Podcast, the kind with guests and the kind on which Chris and his co-hosts, Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, banter amongst themselves. They became known, thanks to a listener’s suggestion, as “hostful” podcasts, and because there were a lot of them this year, none individually received enough votes to make the top 5. But together, they would have been right up there with the leader, and I’ve chosen one of those that got some recognition from listeners to represent all of the Hostfuls.

Episode 126, “Hola Mindy!,” was, technically, a Hostful Podcast, but it had a guest,’s own Crafts Nerdist, Mindy Holahan (@holamindy on
Twitter, which explains the episode title). The interesting thing is that Mindy came to the attention of the Nerdist crew for winning a charity auction to sit in on the show, and them became a regular on the website. It took a while for Mindy to make it from Philadelphia to L.A. to be on the show, but it was worth the wait: She won the guys and the listeners over. Plus, she brought gifts. Handmade gifts.

Some reviews:

“Utterly charming” — JE Smith

“I don’t care what else you put, but you have to put Hola Mindy!” — Jake

“She was funny, wide eyed and interesting. Good times.” — Vincent S

“I’ll even overlook all the shots they took at Philadelphia” — Me, a former
Philadelphia-area resident

So, representing all the Hostful Nerdist Podcasts, our Number Five is Episode 126: Hola Mindy!
Click to play.

Tomorrow: Never-Before-Told Tales of Hardwick on our Number Four Nerdist Podcast of 2011. Don’t miss it!

Read More
By Perry Michael Simon