The thing I love about writing music and book reviews is the chance to learn more about the people who I admire. And sometimes that means I get a chance to talk with them, too.
When comedian/nerd Chris Hardwick released The Nerdist Way, his funny mash-up of a life hacking self help book with a biography, I was on board. I was more than on board. I was in the engine throwing coal into the tinderbox.
Well, after reviewing the book, I was able talk with Chris on the phone. Mostly it was fun to geek out with him. The two resulting interviews will appear on Nerd Caliber and Geekadelphia, but I wanted to share a few outtakes that didn’t get into those stories:
Me: How are you doing today?
Chris Hardwick: Good, good. Just sandwiching in a bunch of …I have something immediately after this call. My days now are just conference call, conference call, conference call, meeting, conference call, meeting, podcast, show.
Me: Looks like from the productivity part of your book that you have a way of managing it somehow.
CH: Um, I guess, yeah. It does all seem to be fitting together. I haven’t killed myself yet.
Me: It’s a Wednesday, right?
Me: In keeping with your Nerdist podcast tradition, I’m writing up this part of our talk.
The second gets his thoughts on the ruthless slog known as the American commute:
Me: Now some quemments: Your book didn’t talk about traffic, but I’ve seen in the last ten years that a lot of rationale, sensible, kind people turn reckless on the road. What’s the deal? And how can we get to a place when commuting isn’t a kill or be killed proposition?
CH: Teleportation. We have to figure out how to disassemble our molecules and reassemble ourselves at another location instantaneously. Then traffic will no longer be an issue. Until then it’s only going to get worse! I mean the numbers of people are not going down.
Me: But could they just be kinder to other people?
CH: Well, listen, I see driving as a time to get emails and texts done…Oh…I’m kidding. It’s funny because it’s so hard to make jokes in print.
Me: Because you can’t get nuance.
CH: People take what you say at face value.” Wow, how would he say it’s OK to text and email while he’s driving?” “No, it was a joke.” “I don’t know, it’s written there. Looks serious.”
I think people are just more tense. Our minds were really ready for the amount of data that gets thrown at them. The beginning of MTV was the beginning of the short attention span generation. That was 30 years ago. Humanity has had no time to evolve so all of the sudden we went from four channels to hundreds of channels with quick cuts and ads and internet and smart phone everywhere. It’s a lot to deal with. Everyone is overloaded and you take that out on people in traffic. Traffic is like analog message boards. You’re anonymous in traffic, right? You can yell at people. You’ll never see them again. In L.A., sometimes people will shoot you, but other than that, it is pretty safe.