Mandroid is a fun romp through the mind of self-proclaimed nerd Chris Hardwick that covers a wide variety of topics with the giddy impishness of a kid whose parents have gone out of town for the weekend and left him with free reign over the basement and the 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew being stored therein. His approach is one of snickering deviousness without crossing over into being straight -up malicious. He scolds himself for coming up with what he calls “the dumbest joke ever written” about vampires and their girlfriends’ periods, but he can’t help himself from not going ahead and passing it along to us anyhow.
Hardwick may be the only person in the entertainment world with more jobs than Ryan Seacrest (he hosts a highly-acclaimed podcast, hosts two different chat shows spun off of two already-existing shows, and is a skilled voiceover artist) but it is his standup that I enjoy the most. His comedy gives him the freedom to work without a net and talk freely about his friend’s roomba experience that went horribly wrong, his suggestion for simultaneously battling teen pregnancy and teen obesity (it’s not what you think), and the day he murdered 41 sharks (an incident the no-animal-killing Hardwick found traumatizing, but for people like me with a horrible fear of sharks this may have been the best day ever).
Although I’m a little skeptical of Hardwick’s “nerd” status (I mean, come on. He’s a funny, well-liked, good lookin’ guy who knows how to make a roomful of people laugh. He wouldn’t have lasted a minute in a “King of the Nerds” casting session), he nevertheless takes a strong stance for all things geeky (Not dweeby. There’s a difference. Most notably the fact that dweebs swallow in the wrong places in sentences). He has a second (and first) -place chess trophy, he follows up on Comic-Con mechanical pencil-centered violence, and there are enough Harry Potter jokes and references here to make me snicker (and my more sport-centered friends punch me in the arm).
I like that Hardwick doesn’t mind revealing who he really is, no matter how vulnerable that leaves him. He admits to a less-than-impressive talent he mastered in high school (incorrectly assuming girls would come running after witnessing such hand dexterity) and he freely recounts the time as a teenager he almost lost his virginity. And yes, he wants to own - and ride - a tiger.
It’s only natural that Hardwick would take such a hilarious stance against things that are most decidedly un-nerd-like. Antonio Banderas really is too sexy to be the voice of the Nasonex bee, Target now sells Ed Hardy t-shirts (“for the thrifty douchebag”), and his impression of an ex-sports bar bouncer bumbling his way through a haunted hospital in the name of ghost hunting cracked me up.
Despite his alignment with nerd culture, there’s something on this CD for everyone, and you don’t have to identify yourself as a nerd to find yourself laughing along. Hardwick has a fun outlook that, although you may already be familiar with him and his work, still comes across as unique and freshly individual. I like the way his mind works - there’s a killer Earth/Crispix comparison and his breakdown of various social networking sites is also hilariously dead-on - and enjoyed the album a lot. Nerd, dweeb, jock, douche, or Trekkie, no matter how you classify yourself, Mandroid is a great album that deserves a home on your playlist. It’s a Pandora’s Box of comedy!