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Chris Hardwick: Mandroid DVD Review

TV Reviews

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss

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  • Real Name:Neil Middlemiss

Posted January 12 2013 - 10:27 AM

Chris Hardwick, Attack of the Show alumni and current host of AMC’s The Talking Dead, stars in his first stand-up special for Comedy Central (which aired on the cable channel on 11/10/12). Hardwick, who has also appeared on BBC America embracing all things Doctor Who and the like, may spend less time in the thick of Science-Fiction staples appealing to ‘Comic-Con culture’ stalwarts, but he peppers his set with enough winks and nods to at least sufficiently earn the title of his special, Mandroid. This roughly hour-long special is filled with hard language than you might expect, but he pulls off some great comedic (insert ill-timed swallow) moments and probably true stories about his days as a relatively unpopular nerd.





Chris Hardwick: Mandroid

Extended, Uncensored & Missed High Fives!


Studio: Comedy Central
Year: 2012
US Rating: Not Rated


Film Length: 63 Minutes
Video: 1.78:1


Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English Dolby 2.0

Subtitles: English


Release Date: January 22, 2013

Review Date: January 12, 2013


“Don’t f*@# animals”


The Film

3.5/ 5


Chris Hardwick is a nerd who continues to proliferate; a short, confident young man who has turned years of inward nerd-dom and modest self-esteem into a veritable mini-empire of platforms in which to spread his persona and perspective. It is to be applauded. Having seen him pop up frequently on BBC America and in promotions during AMC’s excellent The Walking Dead (for the odd but successful The Talking Dead show), it comes as quite a surprise to discover this likeable fella is also a stand-up comedian.


On stage, Hardwick quickly establishes two dimensions to his happy embrace of the nerd title. The first is a harder edged, ‘happy-to-produce-expletives’ side with a penchant for sexual comedy, while the second is the more traditional, ‘don’t talk to me about sports unless its quidditch’ characteristic; comfortable arguing the finer points of superhero credo and well versed on all things D&D. For the most part, this comedic Oreo works as the celebrated ‘Nerdist’ connects with an audience in attendance to enjoy his familiarity with such things (and poke and be poked fun at as well). At times the edgier moments of his hour-long set stand in conflict with the softer, geekier side, almost as if he has stumbled into the king of the nerds race, celebrating his sexual prowess (and associated mishaps) in a way that the everyday nerd will likely not have experienced (and I say this as a faithful nerd, with an enormous clan of nerd friends across the globe). But generally, with a reasonably dose of self-deprication, Hardwick pulls it off.


Hardwick strikes lightning on stage a number of times, tapping into the veins of nerd-dom with a confident experience while representing himself as the real-deal (which we have no reason to believe he isn’t). This young comedian and television personality (who is actually older than he looks) is multi-talented. The extra features demonstrate his musical proclivities and his quick-on-his-feet quips, and although his at one time ubiquitous promo’s on the BBC and AMC for his respective appearances may have been too much and too hard, his performance as a stand-up is entirely friendlier.



The Video

4/5


Comedy Central provides a good looking DVD of Hardwick’s special. Framed at 1.78:1 with strong details, warm picture and an expectedly solid balance of light and shadows for a stage comedy show. Filmed in HD, the source enables of fine looking DVD though a Blu-ray would naturally be better.



The Sound

3.5/5


The audio provided with this disc serves the material just fine. Available with a simple Dolby 2.0 option, sound is concentrated in the center and fronts; it’s clean, free of blips and other issues with an appropriate level and nothing particularly noteworthy to mention.



The Extras

2/5


Hard ‘N Phirm Live – “Abraham Lincoln” and “El Corazon”: Together with his friend, Mike Phirman, Chris Hardwick performs two humorous songs.


Totally Hidden Easter Egg: The unseen false-starts from the Hard ‘N Phirm extra feature are hidden out in the open and hilarious to boot.



Final Thoughts


Filmed at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, Chris Hardwick does well to establish his burgeoning credibility as a stand-up in Mandroid (though he has been performing for years). Some refinements of his on stage personality would help – which my preference would include a deeper embrace of his softer, sequestered side, and a freer examination of the many science-fiction, comic book, and other ‘nerdy’ elements that have clearly informed and shaped who he has become – but what do I know. He’s talented and smart and has molded a kingly chair into which this king of the nerds can rightfully sit.


Overall this is a likeable routine inclusive of some astute and laugh-inducing observations. Fans of Chris will enjoy, others should know a little more about him before diving in, but I was entertained.



Overall (Not an average)

3.5 / 5


Neil Middlemiss

Kernersville, NC


"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
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