Denver Comic Con 2015: Dominion of the Nerd

Panel Name: Nerd Feud with King of the Nerds

Topic: Our time with the contestants of King of the Nerds

Featured Guests: Colby Burnett, Amanda Liston, Ben Tully, Heather Wensler, Jacob Rubin, Jonathan Adler, Kaitlin Spak, Lily Rutledge-Ellison, Ori Peri, Thomas Vollum, Todd Landree 


One Mile High and over Memorial Day weekend, the nerds of the nation gathered to revel in collective and shared passions of the nerdverse in the glorious city of Denver, Colorado.  The fourth annual Denver Comic Con (DCC) hosted a slew of stars and celebrities.  If you were in Denver last weekend you had the chance to meet the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, witness Alan Tudyk autograph and give away random crap he had in his satchel, and maybe even snag a picture drooling next to Gwendoline Christie.  What was probably not too high on anybody’s radar (including mine) was that a majority of the cast from the most recent season of King of the Nerds would also be in attendance.  They came to host a variety of panels and partake in some interactive sessions with the con-goers.  Being a fan of the show I thought, “Oh cool.  It’ll be neat to see ‘the nerds’ up close.”  And that was it.  The thought passed as quick as it came.  So you might find it surprising to know that by the end of DCC, my personal highlight was the interaction I had with “the nerds.”  Beyond just generally being awesome, I found there was a deeper meaning in having the nerds present.  Yeah, that’s right – I’m gonna get poetic and shit.  But first!… Let’s talk about how cool being a nerd really is.

“We’re Going to a Van”

My experience with the nerds culminated to a series of encounters with various cast members at different moments of the con.  The first was with Colby.  And the experience was actually that of my brother.  We both are fans of the show and we both rooted pretty damn hard for Colby throughout.  It took me by surprise when Evan (my bro-ham) darted across the trade floor screaming Colby’s name.  I followed while Evan screamed at me, “GET YOUR CAMERA READY!!”  Colby and some of the other fellow nerds had just finished up a nerd war session with the con-goers and were now transporting boxes of what I assume were either weapons of mass nerd-struction or severed heads of fallen nerd enemies.  Nearly grabbing Colby by his whole body, Evan asks, “Can I take a picture with you?!”  Somewhat offput and maybe a bit frightened by the grown ass man that just came charging his way Colby says, “Uhh… We’re going to a van…”  Evan returns with, “Can I walk with you?!”  Colby smiles, shrugs and says, “Sure!”  As I fumble with my phone camera like a paparazzi newb, Evan awkwardly walks next to Colby and his box of heads just smiling, waiting for me to click a few pics.  Colby took it like a champ.  We get the photos and Colby and the nerds move on.

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Your Mom Watches Jeopardy

The next interaction was with a big group of the nerds.  I was standing in line with Hush Comic creator/owner power duo, keeping them company while they were waiting to get Amy Acker’s autograph.  I was busy staring and drooling (mostly drooling) at Gwendoline Christie who was signing autographs in the next line, when Adrian – the main reason we were in line in the first place – bolts out from the filing stack of people and heads towards the end of the line.  It takes me and Sherif a minute to realize she’s spotted Colby not too far away.  Here’s a fun fact about Adrian.  She loves Jeopardy.  Maybe more than your mom loves you.  She’d been following Colby since his Jeopardy days.  His role on King of the Nerds was just extra sauce for her.  I watched from afar as Adrian drew information from Colby about his glory run on Jeopardy, picking up pointers on how she too could land a spot on the trivia show.  I think she tried Vulcan mind melding with him at one point.  It was hard to tell from so far away.  Off to the side of the brain session happening were a collection of some of my favorite nerds!  Thomas, Todd, Brian (from season 2), a cardboard cut out of Raychell and (my super favorite) Katie.  They took pictures with everyone from the Hush team.  All of them were incredibly friendly and approachable.  So approachable in fact, that I may have asked Katie to marry me.  As weirded out as she was, she didn’t outright say “no.”  Yeahhh…I think I still have a chance ***Walks away in cool slo-mo but trips on incredibly flat surface anyway***  Point is – these nerds just kept getting cooler.

Hot Amanda

It’s half-way into day two of the con and my legs don’t like me very much at this point.  I reluctantly succumb to their sissy fits and take a seat against a wall in one of the panel halls.  After a few moments I spy two more of “the nerds” walking down the hall.  Like a fifth grader with a crush on his math teacher, I shoot my hand in the air, waving.  Followed up with a “Hi nerds!” once they were in ear shot, I was really surprised when Heather and Jonathan both looked at me, stopped, and proceeded to address me.  THE presiding King of the Nerds stopped to talk to me, one of his underlings!  I don’t even remember what it was was we talked about, but it was magical and awesome!!  They then invited us to attend the Family Feud-style panel session they were having later that day.  They also told us there were more nerds from the show down the hall.  I thought, “Cool!  I’ll go say hi when the whole feet throbbing thing dies down.”  To my continued surprise, Jonathan and Heather RETURNED with said other nerds.  WHAT?!?  Like… don’t you have important, kingly nerd duties to attend to?!?  In that moment I actually debated on whether or not to bow to Jonathan.  How cool are these nerds that they’re willing to gather for a simple group of fans that enjoyed the show?!  But wait people, it gets better.

The other nerds that returned with the King and Heather were Lily and Amanda from this season.  Both of these awesome ladies ranked among my favorites of the season (if not, then of all time) and it was so freaking cool to meet them!  But let’s talk about Amanda for a bit…  You know when you start watching a new show (i.e. King of the Nerds) and how it takes a while to learn everyone’s name?  We’ve all been there.  Well, my brother – the same one that practically attacked Colby – had a nickname for Amanda before he learned her name.  It was simply “the hot one.”  It didn’t take more than halfway through episode 2 for that name to transform into “Hot Amanda.”  After telling Amanda this story and then asking to for a photograph of me hugging her for the sole purpose of making my brother jealous, she one-upped me and suggested that the impact would be much greater if it were a cheek kiss instead of hug.  Done and done.  When I showed Evan the picture I thought he might actually slug me.  Evan and I attended the Family Feud knock off game show event where we and a bunch of other nerd fans got to laugh and learn more about our nerd royalty.  At the end of the event, Evan goes charging through the crowd again (Evan’s good a charging) right at Amanda, desperate for a picture.  After two-hand shoving an old lady and punting a little nerd boy out of the way he reached “hot Amanda.”  As I snap a pic, Amanda recognized me, looks at Evan and asks, “Is this the guy?!?”  Evan answers with, “YES!  I’M HOT AMANDA!!”  It didn’t make sense, but we all got it and Evan ended up with his own cheek kiss.

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To be Nerd is to be King

Here’s where I try to bring this somewhat aimless collection of stories a degree of significance.  Upon reflecting on my DCC journey this year, I can honestly say that the interactions I had with “the nerds” was the best part.  Better than telling ALL the artists and collectors to shut up and take my money, better than being close enough to Gwendoline Christie to pass her a basketball (or my beating heart), better than enjoying the phenomenal cosplayers – the highlight of my convention was unequivocally to the King of the Nerds contestants.  That might sound weird, especially since I only had a few encounters with “the nerds” and they probably had no idea I was paying such close attention.  But think of it this way:  how often do you get to hug and talk to famous people (FOR FREE)?!  Some might argue that this group of nerds aren’t “famous,” but that’s not the point!  Here’s a bunch of individuals, that felt so strongly and passionately about being a nerd and loving a thing that they were brave enough to share it with the world from behind a camera and then do it some more in the mile high city for three days.  Not only did they share, but they cared!!  A Care Bear just earned its wings (don’t correct me… just let me have this one).  What I mean by that is in every interaction we had with “the nerds” it always felt sincere.  It felt real!  To think that this band of uber-nerds, who were undoubtedly flocked and charged at all weekend long took time to interact, talk and even kiss fellow nerds is amazing!  The theme of “be nerd, be who you are, be proud” was heavy and apparent in more than one panel session or con-event.  It’s a theme so appropriate for DCC (for any con really).  The King of the Nerds team that visited Denver this year embodied that better than ANY celebrity, movie star or illustrious writer or artist I’ve ever come in contact with.  Granted, that list isn’t too long, but the impression left on me by “the nerds” was in no way, insignificant.  Nerds!  I pledge my aligence to thee!… To thine?  To thone?  to… Oh whatever.  You guys rock.  Thanks for making DCC great!  Oh… And Katie, if you’re reading this, know that my marriage offer still stands.  Ohhh yeah! *** Slo-mo, trip, uncontrollably careen down flight of stairs***

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Hush Comics’ 2015 Midseason TV Preview

TV season is upon us! No more having to make conversation with your boring roommates. Now you can live vicariously through all the fantastic shows that are returning to action. Make sure you’ve got plenty of DVR space, because there are some great programs coming your way. Check out the list below to see which ones you need to see.

Mondays

Gotham – FOX, January 5th

Jim Gordon may not have done so well in the eyes of the mayor, but he has led us to the heart of Arkham, and that is A-OK with me. We also get to meet Leslie Thompkins, played by Morena Baccarin (Firefly‘s Inara), which should automatically bring in a slew of fanboys and horndogs, alike. Gotham’s bleak future will likely have a see-saw effect on Gotham‘s future.

Eye Candy – MTV, January 12th *NEW SERIES*

Hot tech genius hunts a serial killer. Based off an R.L. Stine (Goosebumps) novel.

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore – Comedy Central, January 19th *NEW SERIES*

This show is replacing the time slot left by the Colbert Report. No pressure, Larry. Another Daily Show alumnus gets the spotlight. Has great potential.

House of Cards – Netflix, February 23rd

Ahh! I only have a month and a half to catch up on two seasons of House of Cards before the 3rd season is available to stream. Everybody is talking about this show, and I look forward to catching up on it.

 

Tuesdays

Agent Carter – ABC, January 6th *NEW SERIES*

A spin-off of sorts from last year’s Captain America 2: Winter SoldierAgent Carter will flesh out the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D., with name-drops and Easter Eggs from the Marvel Universe. Peggy Carter is one bad chick, and the timeline of the show has me even more interested.

Parks and Recreation – NBC, January 13th

It had to happen eventually. Parks and Rec‘s 7th and final season will be only 13 episodes long, and surely leave a gaping hole in the sitcom world. As sad as it will be to end, I’m sure the finale will be worth it.

The Kroll Show – Comedy Central, January 13th

I have no idea how this show is still a thing. Nick Kroll, who you may recognize from The League, has quietly held this sketch comedy show for two seasons. Good news is that this will be the last one.

The Flash – The CW, January 20th

This line-up of comic book shows had one of the craziest series of cliff-hangers I have seen, and the entrance of the Reverse Flash was no exception here. Look forward to more meta-human nonsense and hopefully some clarification to the giant mystery that is Harrison Wells.

Justified – FX, January 20th

Another long-running series is coming to an end. Raylan has come a long way as a character, so it will be interesting to see how the series wraps up.

Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – ABC, March 3rd

After the crazy reveal at the mid-season, Agents is taking a prolonged break to avoid competition with Agent Carter. The weird, crawling pace of this show can be frustrating, but I just close my eyes and say, “it’s Joss Whedon; he has a plan.”

 

Wednesdays

Empire – FOX, January 7th *NEW SERIES*

Terrance Howard and Taraji Henson face off as ex-spouses vying for control of the record label they helped create. It’s a continuation from Hustle & Flow, probably the last movie I ever expected to live on as a TV series. Could be interesting.

black-ish – ABC, January 7th

Anthony Anderson’s racially-charged sitcom comes back for more.

American Horror Story – FX, January 7th

AHS: Freak Show has been one of the most interesting installments thus far – but by far the least frightening. There have been clues alluding to an inter-connected story, but with only 3 episodes in the season left, it had better cut to the chase. More clowns!!

Man Seeking Woman – FXX, January 14th *NEW SERIES*

This is the End (and How to Train Your Dragon)’s Jay Baruchel stars as a mid-20’s guy looking to get laid. Or true love. It’s not rally clear yet. What a concept. Hopefully there is more substance to this show, because I find Baruchel hilarious.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – FXX, January 14th

This show remains one of the last standing long-running sitcoms on television. It’s a winning formula that has kept a cult following for nearly a decade.

Arrow – the CW, January 21st

Uh, I need Arrow, and I need it now. After the mid-season cliff-hanger (heh, not exactly), I have been in hysterics about what the heck is going on in Star City. There are SOOO many loose ends here – what a spectacular show.

The Americans – FX, January 28th

Just ten years ago, Keri Russell and Phillip Jennings were known for their roles as cutesy-wutesy characters in family shows. Now, they are murderous Russian spies living next to an FBI counter-terrorism operative during the Cold War. If you love Murrica (or hate it, whatever), you will watch this show.

Fresh off the Boat – ABC, February 4th *NEW SERIES*

With all the sitcoms dying out, it’s great to see a new one pop out. This is like an Asian-American version of Everybody Hates Chris, where the show’s creator, chef Eddie Huang, tells a loosely autobiographical version of his life. Note: this show will air regularly on Tuesdays starting February 10th.

CSI: Cyber – CBS, March 4th *NEW SERIES*

I will usually be the first one to wave off a new CSI series, as I have found them extremely formulaic and unprogressive since their inception. CBS must have heard my cries because after having two of their spin-offs cancelled (NYLA), they finally decided to catch the show up to current times, targeting cyber villains. Oh, and Bow Wow is in it. Sold.

Thursdays

Archer – FX, January 8th

Last season of Archer took a wildly different approach by dissolving ISIS (no relation) and making the group a bunch of outlaws. It was quite entertaining, but I sincerely cannot wait for the show to get back to its roots this year.

Big Bang Theory – CBS, January 8th

Will Amy and Sheldon finally consummate this relationship in coitus?

This is Not Happening – Comedy Central, January 22nd *NEW SERIES*

I’m always a sucker for new stand-up comedy. It’s great background noise, and I feel the most accomplished when I can clear it from my DVR. This is Not Happening is a simple concept; comedians tell stories of things that have happened to them. It’s like listening your friends, but likely much funnier, and you can hit fast forward when you don’t think they are funny.

Scandal – ABC, January 29th

Seriously, stop being a bitch baby and watch this show! I consider this my guilty pleasure because I do know how utterly insane the storyline has gotten, but I can’t stop watching. Kerry Washington is just too beautiful, and Joe Morton (Olivia’s dad) is downright terrifying.

How to Get Away With Murder – ABC, January 29th

How many dead girl phone penis shots does it take to convict a guy, jeez! This super raunchy, ultra dramatic show is back after a bombshell of a mid-season finale. It might seem a bit ridiculous to the casual viewer, but if you can just enjoy the ride, you’ll enjoy yourself.

 

Fridays & Saturdays

Glee – FOX, January 9th

Say goodbye to Glee, you guys, because this sixth season will mark the show’s last. The concept has been great; the show has given power and a voice to so many under-represented groups in our culture. Jane Lynch has been phenomenal, and it’s still the only place you can find Gwyneth Paltrow singing Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You.”

King of the Nerds – TBS, January 23rd

King of the Nerds may be the only reality competition show I have ever been excited for (aside from maybe Skin Wars). Pitting a variety of nerds against each other to see who is the nerdiest results in one of the funnest displays of geekiness on TV. Chances are you will hate everybody who is good at this in one way or another, but living the competition vicariously through them is as close to the show as most of us will get.

 

Sundays

The Simpsons – FOX, January 4th

You know… The Simpsons, man!

Bob’s Burgers – FOX, January 4th

Bob’s Burgers didn’t win Best Animated Series of 2014 here at Hush Comics for no reason. The show is hilarious, and one of the few out there that I really do not care what happens in it. Archer voice actor H. Jon Benjamin is perfect in this role as the only normal one in a home full of lunatics.

House of Lies – Showitme, January 11th

This is one of those that nobody watches because it’s A) on a premium network and B) not easily pirated… so I hear. Don Cheadle (Denver, represent!) is amazing in House of Lies, the story about a marketing exec who chases the high life more than his own life. The characters are dynamic and the main characters have just hit a huge road bump. I can’t wait to watch this live.

Girls – HBO, January 11th

Girls is coming back and it feels like it’s been forever. Hannah was accepted into the University of Iowa writing program, so it looks like she and Elijah will be out there, Shosh is finally a real adult. And Jessa and Marnie are still the same. What I’m really looking forward to is Ray’s story. He’s by far the best character, and I hope that something good finally happens to him. Plus, it isn’t Girls if we don’t get an awkward sex scene in the first episode, so there is that to look forward to, as well. Did I mention this is an adult-themed show?

The Walking Dead – AMC, February 8th

It’s off to Alexandria we go! I mean, right? It has to be… The Walking Dead gave us a big kick to the shins and ran away to end the midseason last year, and we haven’t quite recovered. All I know is that the walkers will get more and more disgusting, and more people will surely die.

Better Call Saul – AMC, February 8th *NEW SERIES*

No description necessary. Will we watch this show? You’re goddamn right.

Last Night Tonight With John Oliver – HBO, February 8th

Hot damn, are we in for a treat this day or what?! In one evening, we’ll get to enjoy Hush Comics’ Best TV Series of 2014 (TWD), what will likely be 2015’s Best New Series, and also the 2014 Best New SeriesLast Week Tonight, the exposé news show from John Oliver that tells it like it is, no matter who he offends.

Battle Creek – CBS, March 1st *NEW SERIES*

We know Vince Gilligan is a genius, so anything he creates carries a life-time seal of approval from us. In addition to Better Call Saul, Gilligan is also producing Battle Creek, a cop dramedy set in Battle Creek, Michigan. Before the success of BrBa, Gilligan couldn’t even get networks to look at Battle Creek, one Heisenberg later, and CBS ordered a full 13 episodes without even seeing a pilot.

Last Man on Earth – FOX, March 1st *NEW SERIES*

It may be a tired concept, but with all these post-apocalyptic horror shows out, it’s refreshing to see a sitcom that answers “what would it be like to be the last man on Earth?.” Well, if you’re Will Forte (SNL), then it freakin’ rocks. It’s only been approved for 4 episodes – due to the highly likely chance that it will crash and burn.

Game of Thrones – HBO, April…ish?

No official word as to when GoT is coming back, but we do know that the story gets even further spread apart than it has already been. Characters will change like never before and I am extremely excited to see how the Martel family reacts. The only bummer so far is that there will be NoMor Hodor or Bran this season.