I don’t know how Nerdist does it. My attention flags for a couple of weeks, and I stop checking my feed. Maybe it’s the natural arch of any content provider, but just as I’m about to lose interest completely, Crispin Glover shows up. And just as I was getting over that haymaker of an episode, they get Booger.
Curtis Armstrong immortalized the character Dudley ‘Booger’ Dawson in Revenge of the Nerds. He somehow managed to make a belching, misanthropic, narcotic ingesting, lewd t-shirt wearing, proto-nerd cool. He was a punk rock geek without a specific set of nerdy skills. He was simply an outsider, one of the marginalized in a sea of WASPy locker room types attending the fictitious Adams College, but he remains one of the most memorable characters from my childhood. He brought similar cache to Charles De Mar in Better Off Dead, Ack Ack Raymond in One Crazy Summer, and Burt Viola on Moonlighting. More recently, he received critical praise for his turn as Ahmet Ertegun, the sympathetic founder and president of Atlantic Records, in Ray.
Maybe this is the tail wagging the dog here. The R&D behind so many media ventures seems to have realized (in a really big way) my demographic–white males in their mid-to-late 30s–want and will cling to any shred of our childhoods, in whatever form they’re willing to repurpose it and spit it back out at us. And they’re partially correct. I’m probably at the apex and perfect union of caring about what happened to a character actor from an oft condescended decade and having disposable income. (The income thing is debatable.)
Armstrong is hosting the TBS reality show King of the Nerds with Robert Carradine, Lewis Skolnick from Nerds, in which they take two teams, who categorize themselves as ‘Nerds’ I’m assuming, and pit them against each other.
Basically, they put them in a house called Nerdvana, where they engage in silly competitions. It’s doing well on TBS, reinforcing the new found cool of nerd culture and the money to be made from it. Still not sure if this is a laughing with or laughing at venture, but I’m happy Armstrong has finally been offered a piece of the pie he helped bake more than 30 years ago. The finale took place last week, hence the timing of his appearance on Nerdist.
Anyway, Nerdist episode 491 reveals Armstrong to be as likeable off screen as he is on. But what sticks with you are his stories. Remember, he was working with the likes of Bruce Willis and John Goodman before they were household names. And that famous burp from the belching contest, you’ll never guess what it actually was.