Ah, success. Fame. Money. A little of it whets our appetite for more, twists our priorities, and like your clothes in a public dryer that you have to sit there and watch lest they get stolen, it's a source of stress.
When we started this podcast, it was just a leisure time activity, something primarily for us, the podcasters, but even as the first episode was being prepared, we felt a sense of responsibility to make the thing worth others' time, resulting in some rigorous editing, whose current bar makes each episode cost us hours and hours of post-production time while we digitally add in "ideas," "thoughts," and "guest podcasters" (typically, as with Getty, created via application of choice noise-addition algorithms).
But now, as the donations waft in and a few influential people have said some nice things about us, and the number of total downloads marches incrementally towards the 1 million mark (OK, it'll be a a while still for that; believe me, we'll let you know!), we feel the hunger. Can make enough money off of this to actually recompense our time (likely not, but we'll see)? Can we become the #1 philosophy podcast in terms of popularity (we're certainly in the top 5 at this point)? Can we annex a small city-state and call it PELyville where we attempt to implement our dark utopian visions? And most importantly, can we get celebrities to come on the show?
I'm not talking about big-time philosophy celebrities. Those will come, I assure you. Maybe not the ones you want to hear, but good ones, I promise, including the infamous Mind-Supervening-Upon-Brainatron 3000, the world's foremost philosophy phrenologist, currently tenured at Tulane. (Seriously, I'm not going to actually announce anything of that sort until the episode in question has actually been recorded, as bad things do tend to happen.) Philosophy professors don't have a lot of media outlets, and are generally very nice, accessible people who would not be averse to talking about their work, for free, if it'll educate some substantial audience (or really, even if someone will just listen... anyone...).
I've reached out, however, on several occasions to musicians or comedians to try to lure an interesting, audience-getting guest onto an aesthetics or philosophy of humor episode. I've got the readings picked out and everything, but such people, no matter how minor a celebrity he or she might be, tend not to even respond to my e-mails. I suppose folks don't appreciate being sent half a dozen links with a directive to go listen to 10 hours of material and see if they'd like to come on with us.
At the urging of our guest Daniel Horne, I recently checked out Mr. Chris Hardwick, who hosts TV talk show type things going back to the life-destroying "Singled Out" on MTV. He was apparently a philosophy major, and his podcast "The Nerdist", demonstrates this at some points, as in this early episode with Jim Gaffigan, which seems to be the comedian equivalent of P.E.L., i.e. a late-night bull session about what comedy is, different types of comedians, etc. (I don't want to oversell it as a philosophical explication of humor, though.)
So I started working my way through all the Nerdist episodes from the beginning, and contacted Chris, who of course hasn't yet responded. As an open challenge to divert time from his billion-downloads project and TV shows (The Talking Dead! featuring interviews with dead celebrities and Web Soup, which involves contestants guessing prices of "showcases" involving I guess different types of gumbo and chowder to see who can be the closest without going over while spaying or neutering their pets), I hereby present to him this personalized personal philosophy, personally hand-crafted from neutrinos and memes and things to come on our show where he will reach literally THOUSANDS of people, some of which are undoubtedly stoned. Insofar as these Personal Philosophies ever have anything to do with the people I assign them to, I will say this was inspired by the barely concealed rage exhibited on those early Nerdist podcast episodes.
Chris Hardwick of Early 2010's Personal Philosophy*
I'm funny, goddammit. I was born funny, I did funny things as a child, and have spent years playing in clubs honing my comic craft. And I'm cute and responsible: I lost all that weight, stopped drinking, and barely ever masturbate in public at this point.
And don't think I've been off-putting for the sake of my craft, because I have been willing to do whatever shit Hollywood will allow of me. No luxury of dignity for me! So why the fuck am I not more famous than I am? Why have you not heard of me? What the fuck kind of world is this where that would be the case? Seriously!
See, I'm friends with celebrities. They talk to me, they let me come in their houses. I'm putting myself side by side with these people you adore, and LOOK, GODDAMMIT: I'M JUST AS FUNNY AS THEY ARE. Will you American people not just get over yourselves for one minute and just add me to the pantheon you worship, just for once? After suffering through so many shitty gigs in dirty, rat-infested night clubs (which most of you didn't even bother to come to see me at), it's the least you could do! I have placed my head on television sets across the land for your convenience, but you didn't even you your TV had a "G4" channel, did you? Huh? I realize that the cable/satellite/electric-river-of-blood channel landscape is littered with religious stations and 500 specialized sports networks (Darts! Darts! Darts!), but on at least one of those channels is my smiling mug, which the make-up people worked very hard to make look just right for you, but do you reward me with the fervent kind of admiration that you used to have for, say, Howie Mandel? No. Ungrateful fucks.
OK, I'm sorry. What I meant to say is, welcome, welcome, and have a guffaw with me. I'm self-deprecating, and that makes me adorable, right? And look, I've brought you some funny celebrities that I should remind you I used to play all the same clubs with, and given them to you for free, and all you have to do is love me love me love me! You're welcome!
*This personal philosophy should not in any way be taken to reflect the actual, current views or predilections of this person, though, given that it was crafted JUST for him or her, he or she should really feel obliged to adopt this philosophy out of politeness if not actual gratitude.
Read more Personal Philosophies.
Chris Hardwick says
Wow! You nailed me but good! I sure am a vapid, useless piece of shit! Thank you for holding up a mirror to my dumb face with your clever deconstruction! Thanks to your insight, I hereby renounce everything I’ve ever said before this moment. I had thought I just was a human being having fun doing things I actually care about, but boy was I wrong. You’re really smart. This Herculean effort above to show that proves it.
Mark Linsenmayer says
Irony, sir! No actual offense intended; this series is all me projecting my own shit and spinning out something ridiculous.
One should be surprised that the content of this rant actually has even the remotest connection to even an evil-Spock version of you given the other targeted entries in this series. Were this a strictly destructive enterprise, you’d likely see me taking on easier targets. Respect.
Also, for the record, there’s a difference between using clever-to-the-point-of-douchebaggery word-and-phrase choices to try to prove you’re smart and merely not feeling the need to clamp down on the desire to use such language out of fear of sounding like a douchebag. The English language is too fun not to screw with it (unlike German, which hat nicht auf das ZuperFun).
FYI: Talking Dead is the after show for the program Walking Dead. Talking Dead has nothing to do with talking to dead celebrities.
I understand that the view here is hypothetical. I would, however, like to present a view of Chris Hardwick from someone who has met him in person. I’ve been to several live Nerdist events as well as the taping for his comedy central special.
He is the most gracious celebrity you will ever meet. I’ve seen Chris at meet and greets after Nerdist Live events. He is just as warm and attentive to the last person as he is the first person. He makes sure that everyone who wants to take a picture or an autograph gets one.
He really goes above and beyond what you would expect from celebrities.
Thank you for reading,
David Buchanan says
It’s easy to imagine Hardwick mixing it up with the PEL guys and it’s hard to imagine how could that fail to be fun for the listeners. I’ve been enjoying The Nerdist and I’m tempted to lobby (i.e. hassle) him a little about this. Do you have his e-mial address handy, Diane?
Mark Linsenmayer says
Irony, Diane! Irony! I’m familiar with the show.
Chris Hardwick says
Mark, I really am an idiot. I COMPLETELY missed the irony. Long work days. Brain scrambled. Someone sent this to me and I scanned it on my phone too fast. I humbly bow and apologize for mis-reading and not paying full attention. So…um…(awkward pause)…sorry?
I’m going to bed now. Yeah, it’s 9:30p on a Friday.
Mark Linsenmayer says
Surely the only way to reverse the existential crisis that your initial reply generated in me is for you to appear on the increasingly-tolerated-worldwide Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast some time this summer after you have had a chance to read some as-yet-to-be-determined portion of Sigmund Freud’s “The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious.”
David Buchanan says
Too many tweets, Mr. Hardwick? A slower reader like myself (carefully pronouncing each word out loud) would have noticed that your “personalized personal philosophy” was “personally hand-crafted” by Mark “from neutrinos and memes and things.” Built by hand from every nerd’s favorite stuff! A slow reader would have felt the (Platonic) love.
P.S. Please do the show. Both podcast audiences are gonna get a huge kick out that, don’t you think?
In any case, break legs.