Hardwick’s Nerdist Nation

Chris Hardwick has been busy building an empire the mainstream world is just now catching up to since he hosted the Pollstar Awards show last year.

As Hardwick prepares to reprise his hosting duties at Club Nokia LA LIVE Feb. 3, he talked to Pollstar about taking his “Nerdist Podcast” on the road among other projects.

Hardwick said he and podcast co-hosts Matt Mira and Jonah Ray came up with a tweaked format for live audiences.

“When I really thought about how the show’s going to go on the road, [I thought] what can justify a ticket price and motivate people to leave their homes to see something they can listen to for free?” he told Pollstar. “What I quickly figured was, ‘Wait – we’re all standups! This should be a live show.’

“The first half of the show is each of us doing standup. The second half of the show is our round-table discussion. We take questions from the audience and it’s very interactive. [And] if we’re in a city where we know someone, we’ll have a guest.”

The comedian published a book, “The Nerdist Way,” in November, has done commentaries for BBC America’s “Dr. Who” and a series of TV specials of “The Nerdist.” He also hosts the “Talking Dead” wrap-up show for AMC’s “Walking Dead.”

A search for office space led Hardwick to open the 150-capacity Nerdist Theater about a year ago in a gallery space at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles.

“It’s a sort of nerd-themed comedy shows but they don’t have to all be nerdy,” Hardwick explained. “There’s a standup show, a monthly magic show, we do panels, dance parties and rap battles. It’s a really fun, multi-use space that just happens to be nerd-themed.”

Adding to the Nerdist Nation, Hardwick is launching a YouTube channel in partnership with Jim Henson Co., Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment and others scheduled to launch in April.

“We’re going to do all the pop-culture stuff that we cover on the site but we’re going to create programming around that in video format,” he said. “We do the podcasts, we have a blog and a newsletter but we didn’t have a video wing yet, and I really wanted that.”

When Pollstar asked Hardwick if he has anything special planned for this year’s Pollstar Awards, he said he’ll keep it simple as before with just one change:

“This year, I do know who Rob Light is.”