Chris Hardwick wasn’t getting the kind of work he wanted in 2010, so he made a bold gamble: Rather than desperately seek out audiences, he’d let them come to him.

He launched the “Nerdist” podcast, a celebration of nerd culture and those passionate about it, which now attracts 4.5 million downloads a month. Hardwick’s online venture spawned a robust website, podcast network, BBC television show, live performance space at West Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics and YouTube channel.

Hardwick describes Nerdist’s disparate products as “a bunch of content that doesn’t cannibalize one another,” which collectively inspired Legendary Pictures to acquire the company — and its 15 million-plus following — in June. Now Hardwick helms what’s been dubbed Nerdist Industries alongside GeekChicDaily’s Peter Levin, a business model Hardwicke says was born organically out of the creative side of things. “Our mandate at Nerdist is that we only get involved with nice people around things that we love,” he says. “We have the luxury of being in the demographic that we’re programming for.”

Meanwhile, Hardwick’s standup career is taking off. He recently released his hourlong Comedy Central special “Mandroid,” and he continues to tour whenever he has a free moment.