Despite the opening title sequence, and the comedian’s ubiquitous presence on Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick’s Funcomfortable is no horror movie.
In his latest hour for Comedy Central — the network that also beams him into your eyeballs @midnight — Hardwick may have shed his nerdist handle on Twitter as his Nerdist empire has grown perhaps beyond his wildest dreams, but he’s still enough of a nerd at heart to know how to compare his San Francisco audience to C-3PO: “A shiny gay robot who just wants to help people.” Then follow that up with an awkward but true statement about everyone’s mothers that’s not structured as a yo mama joke. Then follow that with the stark realization that getting married (which Hardwick is) means fielding questions from relatives that are inherently way too sexual.
Is there anything more uncomfortable than finding out how babies are made? Well, perhaps having a couple of Prince references in your story about wearing Japanese animal pajamas and not being able to time-travel back in time to save Prince or the reference’s new awkwardness. At least he wasn’t making a joke at the musician’s expense, though. Just Hardwick, in purple wolf pajamas thanks to his being “relationship colorblind,” tagging a bit by saying “this is what it sounds like when doves cry” as he runs into an unexpected situation.
The curse of the comedian, Hardwick laments, is that the stage provides so much more safety for his thoughts and musings than real-life does.
“Comedy is so important. It’s a defense mechanism. Comedy is armor to protect us from the smoldering shitwich that is life sometimes. It helps us connect with other humans. It helps us subvert power. It helps us deal with tragedy,” he says.
Case in point: His dad died. That he follows that immediately with a bit about the importance of offensive comedy is so unknowingly fitting for the time we’re in now as viewers, as he transitioned back to his own father and planning his funeral. Hardwick finds perhaps too much in common with his father — from his “redneck hillbilly” genetics overwhelming his mother’s Italian and Native American bloodlines in his own sensibilities, to their uniquely and definitely quite nerdy early sexual experiences.
He may have inherited anxiety and worries from his mother, though, and he illustrates this first in a story about driving with his future wife up to the top of Zion National Park in Utah, and then later in a phone conversation with his mother, imagining passersby hearing “the Talking Dead guy” yelling about how he’s a grown-up.
He has come a long way since the 1990s.
Far enough to wonder how the vocals devolved so much after grunge rock, old enough to realize that Stanford students of today hadn’t seen Back to the Future, and self-aware to understand that his energy level sometimes comes across as “soaked SpongeBob in cocaine water.” So if you’re a kid trolling him online, he gets it. By the same token, though, he will come right back at you hard.
“You troll me, I will fuck your mother,” he jokes in an ALL CAPS IRL moment, adding: “She’s probably my age, and probably watched Singled Out. I could probably fuck your mom.”
But he’s off the market now. Sorry ladies.
“Chris Hardwick: Funcomfortable” is available on the Comedy Central App to fans that sign in via their cable or satellite provider. It’s also available for purchase via iTunes, Amazon and elsewhere.