The comedian has established an audience at the annual San Diego fan fest after hosting G4’s “Web Soup” and overseeing the Nerdist blog, which includes a popular podcast and BBC America TV series. Nerdist now also contributes to GeekChicDaily.
At this year’s Comic-Con, Hardwick will sign autographs at G4’s booth on Thursday, moderate three panels — for AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and Adult Swim’s “Black Dynamite” — on Friday and headline a live show of the Nerdist podcast with the cast of “Doctor Who” on Saturday night. A second show was added after the first sold out.
The June teaming with GeekChicDaily should put Hardwick in front of an even more high-profile audience given that the venture is backed by Legendary’s Thomas Tull, producers Joe Roth and Peter Guber, Machinima chief Allen DeBevois, former MTV and AOL boss Bob Pittman, Gamespy founder Mark Surfas and Japanese conglom Yoshimoto Kogyo.
Hollywood may be eager to figure out a way to speak to the confab’s 130,000 attendees as the biz touts its new films, TV shows, toys, videogames and, of course, comicbooks. But Hardwick said there’s nothing daunting about meeting hardcore fans in the heat of the Con.
“I find them extraordinarily easy to talk to,” Hardwick said. “When comedians get successful, the fans that they have aren’t the fans they would hang out with. I don’t have that problem. Comic-Con is nerd Christmas. People go wanting to have fun. They’re excited to be there. It’s not like it’s a difficult crowd to win over. They just don’t want to be pandered to.”
Hardwick’s advice for filmmakers and talent presenting on panels: “Mix it up. Share with them and treat them like human beings. They’re genuinely nice, sweet and don’t want to cause problems.”
But they also can’t be ignored because “These are the people who make things huge,” Hardwick said. “You should respect their power.”
Other nerd-friendly celebs like Felicia Day and Olivia Munn have also embraced the Comic-Con contingent.
This year, Day, who could easily be crowned the queen of Con, will appear on four panels — for the “Dragon Age” Web series “Redemption,” “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” “Eureka” and her own Web series “The Guild,” which has generated more than 100 million views and landed a distribution deal with Microsoft.
Hardwick said he’d be a fixture at Comic-Con regardless of his role as geek host. He attends each year for the social experience and chance to buy merchandise. This is his eighth time attending the San Diego fest.
“I like going to Cons anyway,” he said. “To me it doesn’t feel like I’m going to do work. I’m not selling anything, I’m just saying here is what I’m working on. I’m nerding about stuff as much as everyone else. I just happen to work on stuff that’s relevant to that group.”
“It’s a nerd carnival,” he said. “San Diego is the 800-pound gorilla of Cons and the one that gets invaded by the entire entertainment industry. Every Con has its own power. If all the ones were a Justice League character, San Diego would be Superman.”
Spoken like a true nerd.