If you want the insider’s rundown on the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), what better person to ask than Chris Hardwick? The 40-year-old comedian is the self-professed kingpin of a nerd media empire that includes the popular podcast “The Nerdist.” Hardwick also hosts the post-show discussion of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” called “The Talking Dead,” regularly appears on “Chelsea Lately” and recently launched The Nerdist Channel of original programing on YouTube.
To say Hardwick might know a thing or two about Chicago’s most geek-tastic event is an understatement.
“I attended my first C2E2 last year and even got to moderate ‘The Dollhouse’ panel,” Hardwick says. “I was impressed with what I saw. It’s a relative young con and as a result you don’t see the kind of bitterness you see at the older cons. The show floor was laid out pretty well and I like that the artist alley was part of the main. Everything felt like it was connected and the show had a really good vibe.”
Hardwick will be signing autographs at 3 p.m. April 13 and discussing his latest venture, the Nerdist channel at 4:15 p.m. on April 13 in the C2E2’s IGN theater. The entire Nerdist podcast team including Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira, will also present stand-up comedy and a live taping of their show at the Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield, at 8 p.m. April 13. Tickets for that show are $29 and are available at the Vic’s box office or by calling (773) 472-0449.
We asked Hardwick to give us the Nerdist insight into C2E2. Here are some tips:
1. Plan ahead. A list of signings, panels and screenings is available at c2e2.com. “Though C2E2 is known for being well laid out, you’ll still want to have a plan of action to make sure you see everything you want to see,” Hardwick says.
2. Pace yourself. Give yourself at least two days to do the con. “I’ve got to be in another city on Saturday night for another taping of ‘The Nerdist’ and I’m really bummed about it. One day isn’t really enough time to do a con. You need at least two days,” he says. “On the first day, you scope everything out, get the lay of the land and buy everything that you want that you don’t think will still be there the next day. The second day is when you make your final purchases.”
3. If you dress up in costume for the daily costume contests, make sure your costume is ventilated. “People forget that they’re going to be walking around a convention hall for several hours,” Hardwick says. “The coolest costume isn’t cool if it’s so hot you pass out.”
4. And put some time and effort into your costume. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money, just be creative and try,” he says. “Nothing ticks me off more than someone who throws a towel on their shoulders, calls it a cape and makes fun of everyone else who put some thought into their outfit.”
5. A little Febreeze goes a long way. “If you’re going to be wearing your outfit more than one day, I can’t recommend Febreeze enough,” Hardwick says.
— Misha Davenport