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Tom Cruise Does Nerdist

We knew this day would come. We knew, somehow, the planets would align and the biggest movie star in the world, maybe the universe, would sit down with Hardwick and Company to talk about, well…not much actually. Truth be told, I wanted a lot more than what I got from the Tom Cruise episode of Nerdist.

Tom Cruise Nerdist

I know Cruise is an actor who’s been burned countless times by “the media” and typically handles interviews delicately, but I really wanted to know more about his personal life.

Despite his eternal A-list status, I’ve heard he’s one of the most pleasant and relatable guys you’ll come across in an industry not necessarily known for it genuineness, and that certainly comes off in this interview. He’s funny and down-to-earth; the guy even manages to be inspirational without coming off as a douche. And let the record show, I will still be seeing Edge of Tomorrow, the movie he’s promoting, in the theater.

But there’s just no meat here. He talks about his love of film, and the discussion goes no deeper. I’m certain this is entirely by design, and his publicist probably forwarded the Nerdist folks a line-item list of things that were not to be discussed. And I’m sure I would agree with a lot of the items that were on that list. I completely respect the guy not wanting to talk about his kids or his divorces. And I understand why he wouldn’t want to rehash any Scientology traps the media have set for him in the past. But nothing about his personal life? 

Like doesn’t Cruise have dyslexia? Never came up. How about his upbringing. Barely touched on it. I wasn’t looking for WTF-style catharsis here. And don’t get me wrong, Cruise did have some cool stories about the films he’s been in, but even some banter about what he had for breakfast would’ve made this episode more engaging.

The verdict. Not bad; I clearly just want something I cannot have.

William Shatner on Nerdist

William Shatner is 83 years old. And I hope I sound like he does should octogenarianism (made up word) be a thing I understand first hand some day. Suprisingly, Shatner had never done Nerdist before, and even more suprisingly, Matt Mira, the show’s intrepid Star Trek enthusiast, was nowhere to be found on this epic episode.

shatner nerdist

Given the archetypal understanding of all things nerdy, Shatner was long overdue for an appearance. But had he been on the show three years ago, the conversation would’ve probably panned to preconceived notions about listenership and what they want to hear from their guests.

This episode took an entirely different turn than I expected it to; Hardwick just let Bill do his thing. Kirk barely came up. They  talked about life and what transpired stuck with me for days. Sure, some of the things I assumed about Shatner’s personality were substantiated, but what I didn’t know about him, and how he thinks, really made me like him. Steady as she goes, Mr. Shatner.

King of the Nerds Curtis ‘Booger’ Armstrong Does Nerdist

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.

booger nerdist

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.