"Okay...fuck the Super Bowl." The first line spoken by Chris Hardwick at The Palace of Fine Arts leads to a roar of laughter and cheers. Chris was referring to the fact that, while the original taping time of his second Comedy Central at this fine theater was supposed to start at 7:30, the team had to push the time up about an hour and a half in order to allow every adequate time to get up to the city due to Super Bowl traffic. You read this correctly. The Super Bowl doesn't start until next weekend, and it took over two hours to drive from San Jose to San Francisco because people really are sp crazy and annoying about sports, that they have to leave a week out. Regardless, everyone made it, the theater was packed, and Chris made light of the situation.
It's funny though; Chris Hardwick is able to do that a lot with his comedy, and much more successfully than almost any other comedian I've seen in recent years. While the first special he recorded, Mandroid, was more of an introduction for fans into his "Nerdist" filled world of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and an "affinity" for sharks (if you've seen or heard the special, you know what I'm talking about), this special was different. The past few years of Hardwick's life have undoubtedly been his biggest thus far: he has seen the growth and massive success of his own Comedy Central television show, @Midnight, a half-hour game show where comedians take shots at the most embarrassing and cringeworthy material found on the Internet to compete for points. His podcast, The Nerdist, has reached over 800 episodes, and has talked with everyone from Paul McCartney to David Duchovney. And to top things off, he became the host of AMC's Talking Dead, a worldwide phenomenon that premieres after every new episode of The Walking Dead, where he's a self-proclaimed "zombie therapist".
I reference all of this because Chris talks about darker material in the Funcomfortable special. He speaks at length about his father's unexpected passing. But based on the way he delivers his material, the tone of the room doesn't feel remotely close to being dark. Hardwick also touches on anxiety (something that I've dealt with for many years) and the different stages and personas in which it manifests itself. Yet, much like the material about his father, the tone isn't dark. My sides were hurting from laughing so hard after watching him perform.
The fact that Chris Hardwick is able to take really shitty situations and turn them into laughable moments without making the audience cringe is a huge accomplishment. Many comedians fight to try and do that. Some do it better than others, and Chris Hardwick is probably one of the only comedians at the top of his field that is able to successfully maneuver this form of stand-up. I loved every second of this taping, and it's clear that everyone else in the audience did judging by the squeals of laughter.
Mr. Hardwick, if you're reading this: you did an incredible job. And... (I know you're the only one who can award these, but you did too good of a job for me to resist)...POINTS!
Chris Hardwick's second stand-up special will premiere on Comedy Central on April 30th, 2016. Make sure you set your DVRs.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.