Comedy Central’s Chris Hardwick chats with the Journal

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Comedy Central’s Chris Hardwick chats with the Journal

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@Midnight is a new late-night game show that is saturated in internet and comedian culture. Host Chris Hardwick, who is best known as the host of The Talking Dead and The Nerdist puts his panel of comedians through highly funny interactive games. Luckily I was able to talk to Chris about the show, its frantic pace and what it means to him as both a comedian and as a person.

Q. What are your expectations for the show? How do you expect it to fare against other web content based shows.

A. I don’t consider it to be a web-based clip show. Those usually just have a person standing in front of a green screen and that’s it. This is a more community based show. It’s a show about social media communities like Reddit, Twitter, Okcupid, message boards, etc., rather than just being a video clip based show.

Q. Could you elaborate on how the point system works ? It seems rather arbitrary, or is it just Dumbledore points? 

A. The arbitrary point system of the show is really just that points are given for good things, taken away for bad things. If I love it or the crowd loves it I’ll give points. They are partially arbitrary but it’s all about having fun.

Q. With everything you have going for you, (Talking Dead, Nerdist, and now @midnight),  do you have any time management advice?

A. I do have a huge checklist that takes up a lot of space in my head. Everything is modular though. You have to police yourself to stay on track. On the other hand though, you do have to schedule in leisure time for your sanity. You can ignore what your brain tells you, but you have to your global view on things and your street view. It’s really a question of tricking your brain.

Q. How long did it take to develop @Midnight?

A. It was a long process. Back in December of 2011, I had pitched an idea to Comedy Central for a new tech information show. I developed my own version of Attack of The Show. I really loved working on that show and due to G4’s lower viewership, the show didn’t receive the impact it deserved. It’s really an information show at heart. It didn’t quite work out but my friends Tom and Ben had been working on a show too. The show was called Twitterdome, and I came in and helped repackage it as an Internet show. I spent my summer testing the water and working out all the kinks.

Q. What are your personal views on marijuana?

A.     I do not drink or smoke, I tried it when I was younger but when I smoked it just made me paranoid. I feel like it’s no worse than alcohol. It’s better for someone than popping pills.

Q. Is there a method to the “idiocy?”

A. Trolling comedy is a representation to deal with the world. Especially now, with the world we’re living in. There are two worlds now, both the physical and the internet. We now have the sum total of human knowledge and with that the pros out weigh the cons. We’ve discovered more greatness and people who would most likely not get their chance; are given the potential to blossom.

Q. Are there plans to have it be like The Nerdist ?

A. There is a plan to incorporate more nerd culture but the shows are different. @midnight is more of a straight game show, while The Nerdist is more pop culture and news related. We’ve really just nipped the tip of the iceberg here.

Q. How is it different that the other shows that you host?

A. Talking Dead is less work. I would say that both shows represent who I am both as a comedian and who I am as a fan. It’s great how everyone’s personalities are made out of all these different aspects.

Q. Were you devastated when the G4 channel was canceled?

A. I left a year before it ended, but everyone at the channel thought we’d literally get canceled at any moment. The staff was slowly whittled down over time. It’s sad but it’s a real sense of relief because everyone is doing bigger things and actually achieving their dreams. I am happy for them to go off. I use a lot of G4 people and I keep trying to do what G4 would do and I hope that I am succeeding in that aspect.

Q. How do you get your material?

A. It’s a real collective, we look at what people are talking about; that’s an element. What’s being talked about on the Internet, that’s an element. The thing I love is it feels like a game show and friends hanging out.

Q.  What has been your favorite moment so far?

A. We essentially reunited The State, I think that was a really great moment.

Q. You’ve already had so many great comedians on and with you reuniting The State; do you plan on reuniting any other comedy troupes or groups on the show?

A. Well…it’s funny that you mention that, three of the UCB members are going to reunite on the show. I’m not sure about Amy Poehler yet though. We’re playing with different ideas too, even perhaps having the cast of Community on. We don’t have to just have stand up comedians, it would be great to have casts of different shows on.

Q.  How do you feel about the freedom of comedy?

A. It’s really tough to say. Anyone can say anything they want but you have to think of the consequences. Personally it’s all about being funny and if I feel I am making a point that is important and I can still be funny then I’ll say it. It defeats the purpose when all these comedians are apologizing for what they said. I think that all of these other people commenting in on a situation that they weren’t there for do not help a situation. I think that  society keeps it in check though.

Q. What can you say is the best moment of your career so far?

A. I don’t know it’s hard to say, a career isn’t just one moment. It’s a collective of great moments. If I’d have to pinpoint a moment, I would say it would be 2007, you know? This time period has been the best of my career because it’s when I started writing for Wired, later I would join G4 and start The Nerdist. This time period is very important to me.

@midnight airs Mondays through Thursdays after The Colbert Report at 12 am on Comedy Central.

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