Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Podcast is easily one of the most entertaining podcasts out there today.  Featuring interesting and informative guests, I’ve found myself listening to the show on repeat at work for the past couple of months.  Here are my five favorite episodes!

Note: some minor NSFW language inside!

Episode 54 – Kevin Smith

Recorded at Kevin Smith’s own SModcastle, this episode is one of the few Nerdist podcasts recorded in front of a live audience.  This makes a huge difference, as the three hosts (Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mirah) really seem to do their best in front of an audience.  This particular episode covers a lot of ground, but most importantly it features a lot of advice from Kevin Smith.  This advice ranges from how to get started in whatever creative thing you want to do, to how to handle critics or hecklers, to the importance of just having a good time.  As with many of the Nerdist episodes, a new phrase was birthed completely on-the-fly: “Vader Pussy”.  This is not only one of the funniest Nerdist podcasts, but also one of the most informative for creative people; Smith’s simple but firm inspiration is something any writer, comic, artist, film maker, or even musician should hear.

Episode 32 – Felicia Day

Taking place in a conference room located in the “bowels of G4″, this particular episode felt especially relaxed.  Felicia Day goes over many of her professional idiosyncrasies, her writing process, and talks about her need to constantly work.  Her description of the early (and not so early) days of working on The Guild gave me new found respect for her, as I wasn’t aware of just how much she was directly involved with on that show.  The conversation later shifts towards daily life topics, most of which link back into show business. 

Episode 69 – John Oliver

Recorded live at Esther’s Follies during SXSW 2011, John Oliver does what he does best: engaging the audience on a wide variety of topics, all while being funny the whole time.  He gives a short description of the writing process on The Daily Show, talks about his wife’s encounter with Mike Tyson, and provides social commentary on a variety of subjects.  Hearing John Oliver talk off-the-cuff makes you realize why he’s such a prized writer on The Daily Show.  I’m not too sure how much of his personality in this episode is “stage personality” versus “personal personality”, but he seems like a real good guy.

Episode 49 – Billy West

Billy West (or, as he’s known in our household, “the guy that voices everything we love”) takes the Nerdist hosts on a trip down memory lane, as he talks about everything from his childhood to religion to his influences to pretty much anything else you can think of.  I’ve loved Billy West as a voice actor ever since I was a kid, but I had no idea how many different subjects he took interest in.  While he does a few voices on this episode, most of it is him just jumping from topic to topic.  Out of all the Nerdist entries, I think this one offers the truest insight into the guest’s internal thought process. 

Episode 63 – Wil Wheaton

This episode was also recorded at Kevin Smith’s SModcastle in front of an audience.  Brittnie and I feverishly consume everything Wil Wheaton does, so it was an awesome surprise to hear so many stories that Wheaton had not mentioned in his books or blog.  Many of the stories told here have to do with Wil Wheaton and Chris Hardwick’s time together in their late teens/early 20s, going into exceptional detail.  All of the stories are absolutely hilarious, and presented in a highly entertaining manner…especially the one where Hardwick “fucked the snake out of its cage.”

Honorable Mention: Episode 10 – Adam Savage

Recorded live at Largo in front of an audience, this particular episode opens up with Chris Hardwick doing one of the best 15-minute stand-up sets I’ve ever heard.  The whole episode is hilarious and informative, but Hardwick’s stand-up set is absolutely fantastic.

If you haven’t listened to the Nerdist podcast, do yourself a favor and check it out.  Just make sure you have a LOT of free time!