Interview | Chris Hardwick Talks About Upcoming ID10T Fest

Photo: NBC (Getty Images)

You probably know Chris Hardwick from the Talking Dead or the Nerdist podcast or maybe even from MTV’s Remote Control back in the day, but the media mogul/comedian/tv host’s biggest contribution has been helping to make geek chic.

Also: Giveaway | Win 2 Tickets To Chris Hardwick’s ID10T Festival

Hardwick hasn’t just broken nerd stereotypes (dude is married to supermodel Lydia Hearst), but made it okay for people to embrace their inner geek. Now, he’s throwing his fanboy hat into the festival ring with the ID10T (pronounced I-D-Ten-T) festival and Comic Conival.

Fittingly taking its name from an inside joke in the IT world, the inaugural ID10T is part music festival, comedy showcase and comic convention.

I caught up with the hyper-busy Hardwick to talk about the idea and process behind putting together the two-day event, which will be coming to the Shoreline Amphitheater on June 24-25. Check out the schedule below.

Crave: How did you come up with the concept for ID10T Fest

Chris Hardwick: I was touring with the Oddball Comedy Tour with Louis C. K., Sarah Silverman, Aziz Ansari and the promoters asked me what my ‘festival’ would be like. I told them that I’ve done a ton of music and comedy festivals, Comic Con, but I’ve never seen anything that has all of those elements. I envisioned something where you could go to panels during the day and then in the early afternoon you could go see standup and then you could go see live music bands and then after that there’s EDM DJs and cosplay. It was just about taking all the things that I like and smashing them together. 

Crave: There’s a big gap between coming up with a concept and actually executing it. What’s been the biggest learning curve in putting ID10T Fest together? 

Making sure we have enough stuff so people don’t go ‘oh, they didn’t half-ass the Comic Con part.’ But, I also don’t want people to feel like ‘oh there’s a lot of shit here.’ The experience has to be consistent for everything. And, even if we pull that off, I’m just waiting for one porta potty to clog so people can go ‘Fyre Festival 2!!!’

Well, at least you know what the festival floor is?

Yes. We know that you can’t just give people half of a cheese sandwich and tell them to shit in a bucket. As long as we don’t do that we should be okay.

The public knows you from Nerdist and The Talking Dead, but a lot of people don’t realize that you have a background in music.

I worked in radio at KROQ in LA in the ‘90s so I feel like I’m a music guy, but then I’m around someone like Jonah Ray (Nerdist Podcast co-host) who’s really a music guy and I go ‘oh I guess I don’t know as much as I thought I do.’ But, every year every year on my birthday I create a Playlist with the number of that age I turned. As I stumble across songs that I like I throw them into that playlist so I have this musical diary from the last 12 years of my life. It takes me through everything I was experiencing at that time.

The ID10T music line-up is pretty legit with TV on the Radio, Car Seat Headrest, Jai Wolf. There’s something for everyone, yet you don’t play it safe. 

Thanks. It was very much a collaborative effort. We made lists of bands we liked. Then, whittled it down trying to balance in the lineup so it didn’t feel like a bunch of the same thing.

Is there someone on the music lineup that you had to have? 

I saw Weezer like four years ago at a party at Comic Con and they were fucking amazing. I was very excited that they were ready to hop onboard.

What about on the comedy side? 

Marcella Arguello. I saw her at the Improv. She killed so I had to book her for this festival. 

The stereotypical music festival crowd is quite different from the Comic Con crowd. How are you expecting them to interact if at all? 

Sure, the groups might seem to like different things, but they’re both into the things that they like equally. There’s room for some crossover. If you hate Comic Con than just show up for the music and comedy part, but I’m hoping people will discover that they might like stuff if they give it a chance. 

So, you’re hoping ID10T Fest festival bridges the gap between the “nerds” and “cool kids” in a sort of way?

Everything that I do is really like trying to pull together a community of people for something whether it’s Walking Dead fans or @Midnight or Nerdist. 

Each music festival seems to have its own trademark headpiece, from flower crowns to cowboy hats to plush animal hats. What will ID10T Fest‘s be?

Oh, it’s got to be the Iron Crown from Game of Thrones

For tickets to ID10t festival and Comic Conival go (HERE) and check out the full schedule below: