This month's (ha) Spotlight is on comedian/musician/writer/professional nerd Chris Hardwick.
I believe I first came across Chris Hardwick when he was hosting an awful gameshow back in the 1990s called "Singled Out." However it wasn't until years (and years) later that I saw him on G4's "Attack of the Show" recurring tech-segment in which he introduced new bits of consumer electronics while joking with the hosts that he caught my attention. I looked him up online and this led to my very first podcast experience--Chris Hardwick was a guest on The Kevin Pollak Chatshow (a long-format internet talkshow where comedian/actor Pollak interviews and converses with his guests for upwards of 2 hours). It was here that I learned a great deal about Chris Hardwick and my interest gained some momentum.
A figure of the entertainment industry dating back to the mid-90s, Hardwick has been a radio DJ, a gameshow host, an actor, musician, writer and comedian--among other things, no doubt. This jack-of-all-trades talent in and of itself is fascinating to me, but what really grabbed my attention was his decision to make a drastic change in his lifestyle. Sometime after his Singled Out days, he found himself living an unhealthy, fairly irresponsible and unfulfilling life. Hardwick made the effort to take better care of himself--he quit drinking, started exercising and eating better, and began pursuing new creative endeavors which far better suited his personal interests.
He can now be seen performing stand-up comedy (often as half of the musical duo Hard 'n Phirm, acting in several movies, hosting gigs for PBS and G4... even writing for Wired Magazine. His voice can also be heard not only on my personal favorite podcast, The Nerdist, but also in the form of various animated characters for Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon.
Most importantly, in my opinion, Mr. Hardwick is an outstanding promoter of being productive and embracing one's unique interests and talents to be dedicated/constructive enough to improve quality of life. He talks about the topic quite often, even taking the initiative to establish The Node, a goal-oriented creative online community (which I have not yet, regrettably, made proper use of).
Although his sense of humor can come across as biting/heavily sarcastic, I have found him to be a very upbeat and inspiring guy. Check out the Nerdist podcast, check out his stand-up and look up his other work. Not unlike the aforementioned Stephen Tobolowsky, he has a tendency to pop up where you may not expect him. You may even catch him in a Rob Zombie movie or two if you can stomach all the face-ripping and stomping and whatnot.