Diane Haitman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Chris Hardwick, host of BBC America‘s new series The Nerdist, explained today on a TCA panel how podcasts are becoming the new showcase for today’s comedians. “The podcast movement was really a creative survival mechanism for standup comics,” said Hardwick, whose show based on his Nerdist Podcast has been commissioned for a full-season order and will make its debut in the spring. “The comedy boom died in the ’90s, even now there is not much standup comedy on television. We comedians just needed a way to express ourselves in public in a way that would let people know who we are and what we’re about.” Nerd culture, Hardwick said, was just something he needed to talk about because “I was feeling suffocated in the industry.”

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Part of Hardwick’s varied past is a mid-1990s stint as co-host of MTV’s Singled Out with Jenny McCarthy. He was asked to comment on that experience. “I don’t think that’s a superlative memory,” he reflected. “I remember on the first day of taping I was waiting for Jenny and she hadn’t come out yet, was she having a ‘famous’ moment?” Hardwick recounted. McCarthy finally popped out of her dressing room, frazzled, and asked if somebody had a plunger. “She spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to unstop a toilet without asking anybody,” he said. “That really encapsulates what Singled Out was like.”

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