Stand-up comedy always holds up a cracked mirror to society, so it only makes sense that stand-up comedy is getting geekier by the day. Whether it was Tina Fey’s casual dropping of “By the hammer of Thor” on NBC’s 30 Rock all those years or Patton Oswalt’s signature nerd rant about going back in time to kill George Lucas that paved the way for nerdier comedians today, stand-up comics are constantly exploring new and fertile material when observing their favorite video games, movies, comic books, and more. Here are five comedians that are making me laugh when talking about their geeky passions.
Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani got to live the nerd dream as a guest-star in an episode of The X-Files after his popular X-Files-themed podcast potentially helped pave the way for that show’s return. His endless curiosity to dig deep into his obsessions makes for hilarious storytelling in his act. On his debut stand-up album Beta Male, he breaks down the strange complexity of new video games by comparing Heavy Rain to a classic 8-bit experience. In this clip from that album, Nanjiani talks about the Call Of Duty and why he’d be great at the level that’s set in his home town of Karachi while also chastising the game developers for their laziness. Totally poignant and sweet.
Comedian Jackie Kashian has a podcast called The Dork Forest. On the podcast, she chats with other comedians and performers about their passions (from beer to board games and beyond). Her album from 2014 is called This Will Make An Excellent Horcrux and Kashian spends time riffing on being a ‘spooky reading girl’ growing up, blue-collar Batman, Magic: The Gathering as it relates to sexual advances, and more. On the Conan appearance above, she talks about the benefits of being married to a game designer and pirate weddings, dryly throwing down observations that will stay with you long after the joke’s ended.
Ron Funches’s debut album, The Funches Of Us (a riff on the video game The Last Of Us), is just one of the many charmingly dorky things to come out of this comedian. He often talks about having a sweet and sensitive demeanor, the absurdity of captcha, the show Muppet Babies, and bonding with his son over video games and cartoons. In the above snippet from his appearance on The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail, Funches explains his passion for wrestling and turns the tables on the naysayers who try to ruin it for him. His sets are always full of surprises. He’s an incredible delight.
Aisha Tyler is a unstoppable force. A comedian, actor, and avid gamer, Aisha Tyler has hosted numerous Ubisoft Conferences at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), introduced the beta to Halo: Reach, and even appeared as herself in the game Watch Dogs. In the clip above, Tyler jokes about society’s expectations for adults (women specifically) and her reality, in this case preferring to play Xbox over having children. She leaves no stone unturned and her wit and charm will leave you rolling on the floor in awe.
Comedian Dan Telfer is a nerd extraordinaire. On his latest record, Ocean Of Panic, Telfer comments on the pros and cons of the geek revolution by way of comparing the Game Of Thrones show to the books, explains the real history of Santa Claus, and why it’s tragic that birds aren’t called avian dinosaurs. Speaking of dinosaurs, in this clip at Chicago Underground Comedy, Telfer unleashes a fury of dinosaur knowledge on the audience that is completely insane and must be seen to believed.
Tell us who your favorite geeky comedians are in the comments below and share your favorite clips too!