It's hard to measure what sort of impact
"I don't know if I've ever worked on a show that many people watch," Hardwick said over the phone last month from Los Angeles. "Maybe 'Singled Out.' Any time you're lucky enough to get on a show people watch, it's a good thing. Five years ago, I decided, after working on stuff I didn't care about just to survive, that I really only wanted to work on things I care about. I wasn't in a financial position to make that decision, but I did it anyway."
Hardwick was a fan of "Walking Dead" and had moderated the show's panel at
(During a recent episode of "Talking Dead," Hardwick said "we" when referring to "Walking Dead" before quickly correcting himself.)
"I know actors on the show. Not really well, but enough that I care about them," said Hardwick, who watches "Walking Dead" episodes the afternoon before they air so that his reactions are more organic than they would be if he watched days in advance. "I've seen the show build the last couple years. It's been exciting to be a small part of that."
Hardwick will perform Friday at Zanies Comedy Club in Old Town and Saturday at Zanies in Rosemont. Does he believe some of the people in the crowd will expect "Walking Dead" talk during his stand-up set?
"I haven't fully been on the road yet, so I don't know," Hardwick said. "It wasn't a problem last year. But 'Talking Dead' did well last season and has done really well this season. … People who come to the show know what I do. I'm sure I'll inevitably drift into that ('Walking Dead') territory."
The Nerdist brand created by Hardwick includes specials on
"The first two years or so, it was just me reaching out to friends," Hardwick said. "But at a certain point, I ran out of friends and hired bookers who used to book for Conan. Now we also get pitched a lot of people, like, 'Are you interested in having
Although Hardwick is making a living off of being a fanboy, he has found himself on the other side of the spectrum as of late due to "Talking Dead." Some fans seem to think he has a say on "Walking Dead" storylines and commercial placements, and they'll vent to him.
"People complain to me about the show," Hardwick said. "They need to be heard somewhere. If that's the quote-unquote burden I have to bear to be close to this thing, it's worth it."
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When: 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday at Zanies-Chicago, 1548 N. Wells Street 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Zanies-Rosemont, 5437 Park Place, Rosemont