Chris Hardwick hosts new comedy, introduces HashTag Wars

By: Mary Kate Dorr – Staff Writer

Comedy Central fans will be pleased to know comedian Chris Hardwick of “Talking Dead” and “Talking Bad” is now hosting a nightly comedy show “@midnight.” The show airs, you guessed it, at midnight, Monday through Friday on Comedy Central.
The concept is simple; the result is hilarious.

Every night, a panel of three comedians joins Hardwick to poke fun at the social media mishaps of the day through a series of mini-games, allowing the comedians and Hardwick to showcase their talent and humor.

Hardwick referred to “@midnight” as a “baby show,” because it premiered in October 2013. The first few months were a trial experience for Hardwick and the rest of the “@midnight” crew, but with positive feedback and a growing fan base, the show is signed on to continue for the rest of this year.

The idea originally formed back in December 2011 with the idea of a Twitter-based comedy show. After a pilot episode and feedback, the producers decided to redevelop the show and asked Hardwick to host.

“@midnight” is a new experience for Hardwick.

“With [‘Talking Dead’ and ‘Talking Bad’], all I had to do was talk about something I was interested in,” Hardwick said.
He described the process for his other television projects as watching an episode of the corresponding show at home, going through a quick run-through the next afternoon, and filming it live that night.

“@midnight” involves much more preparation. Hardwick explained it is less casual, because it involves question preparation in the morning, rehearsal throughout the afternoon and a final taping the same evening.

The show is composed of material found all over the Internet. Collectively, there are four researchers and seven writers who contribute material to the show. These writers and researchers raid the Internet to find anything people are talking about, something they are interested in, or anything to get their attention.

“Our goal is to find material to key up comics who are already really funny. We want to allow them to be as funny as they are,” Hardwick said. The panel of comics comment on social media, which are sorted into several categories.

These categories include “HashTag Wars” which has produced some humorous responses including #SuckyActionMovies (Shaving Private Ryan), #FailedSportTeams (The Criss Angels of Anaheim), and #SadTvShows (The Street Life of Zach and Cody). As a nightly category, “HashTag Wars” has elicited a surprising response from Hardwick and the “@midnight” producers by having the trend nightly.

“We didn’t expect this big of a response,” Hardwick said.

When the comedians contribute humorous responses or elicit reaction from the audience, they are awarded seemingly arbitrary points. Hardwick, however, gives reason to the point system.

“They are more like Dumbledore points. If the audience reacts well, they’ll get points. If I think it’s funny, they get points. It’s like Dumbledore, if they do something good, I’ll give them points,” Hardwick said.

Hardwick claims his favorite experience on the show this far is being reunited with the original producers of his
project, “The State,” a show on MTV in 1995.

“It’s really great that we have the power to bring people together again. It was a great moment seeing the cast,” Hardwick said.

He also said he’s excited to bring on new comedians.

“We’re just looking for funny people, not necessarily just comedians,” Hardwick said. The show is looking to bring on
casts of shows, hopefully similar to the recent “Full House” reunion on Jimmy Fallon’s show.

“We’re looking to explore as many combinations [of panel guests] as possible,” Hardwick said.

Be sure to tune in to Comedy Central on weekdays at midnight or follow Chris Hardwick on twitter (@nerdist) to participate in #HashTagWars.

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