Kevin Reader is a member of the comedy troupe "The Nerdologues", a group of folks who love to create comedy based on all the things geeky. In addition to their monthly "story telling nights" they have a revue called "The Skywalking Dead" where they riff on everything from A (as in Anakin Skywalker) to Z (as in Zombies).
With the new show set to start on July 6th, Kevin took some time to tell me about The Nerdologues; the new show; what happens at a story telling night; and who would win in a conflict between vampires and zombies:
Geek To Me: Hey Kevin! Tell me about The Nerdologues! How long have you guys been around? How did you start?
Kevin Reader: The Nerdologues began right here in Chicago! It all started in the fall 2010. A bunch of us would gather in different people's living rooms and porches while working on other comedy projects, and we'd take some time to do some writing prompts. We'd all share these awesome stories that were so touching and hilarious all at the same time, and would eventually always come back to how we were “SUCH a nerd”...that it all just struck me one day. This is what we should be doing. Being honest, sharing the ridiculous stories and points of view that we had about the world. We're all nerds, so the rest just fell into place.
G2M: What can somebody expect when they go to one of your shows?
KR: For anyone who comes to see a Nerdologues show, they can expect a few things: 1. Honest stories from a nerd's life. 2. Heart, which we’re trying to bring back to the nerd culture. 3. Ridiculous sketches. 4. Star Wars jokes. 5. Lists, sometimes.
G2M: Do you really have to be a geek or nerd to "get" the jokes?
KR: As nerdy as we are, we're comedians too, so we like to keep it accessible to everyone. There's definitely a few jokes that the muggles won't understand. But the overall attitude of a show is welcoming to anyone. There's themes and honesty there that everyone can latch on to. In a way, it’s like the Avengers movie - enjoyable by all, but if you “get” it, you love it more.
G2M: What goes on at one of your monthly story telling session?
KR: Every month we have a monthly storytelling night that we host called Your Stories. We also turn it into a podcast that you can find on iTunes. We started it because we wanted to give other nerds a chance to do what we do, and have their voice heard. Basically what happens is we pick a theme, and then people share stories that surround that theme. Some people write songs, some write fiction, some poetry, but at the heart of it, there's always endearing and truthful stories from people's lives. The night is emceed by an awesome duo of our friends who play cover songs, Eric Garneau and Dwight Haesler. They rock and pick out some awesome songs that stick to the theme. Also, it's free and is BYOB. It’s a really awesome time.
G2M: What's the deal with this new show "The Skywalking Dead" that you guys have coming up?
KR: Every few months or so, we try to slow down our touring schedule and write a completely new sketch comedy revue to put up here in Chicago. In The Skywalking Dead, we explore the timely thought of what the End of the World means to us. We offer some monologues that riff on the theme, ranging from personal “end of the world” moments to more theoretical pieces about why our culture loves the idea of the “end of the world” so much. In between these stories we spin off the theme through an arc of the end of the world, shown through sketches that take place before, during, and after the world ends. Of course, there are plenty of jokes and bits along the way.
G2M: Can a zombie become a jedi knight?
KR: If zombies were cognizant enough that they could wield lightsabers, I would be very afraid. But then again, there are some weird aliens in the Star Wars fiction already that can be Jedi, so I’m sure anything is possible. In any case, we all saw Darth Vader when he took that mask off … he was pretty zombie-like, wasn't he?
G2M: Vampires versus Zombies! Who wins?
KR: Ironically enough, this is a conversation we have had recently. I, for one, am much more terrified of a vampire apocalypse than a zombie one. Zombies are a force of nature. They don't think, they just move. Vampires are smart, hundreds to thousands of years old. They have deeper knowledge. They'll keep on keeping on. Not to mention, depending on your mythos, they can fly. I'm not messing around with that. But, if a Vampire bit a Zombie that was infected, and that infection was viral and could affect the other undead … holy smokes. But then again, they'd just turn into a dumb zombie. Okay. This is a hard one to answer. Vampires. Yes. I'm sticking with Vampires.
G2M: Jedi Apprentice or Starfleet Academy Cadet, which would you be?
KR: I used to be an archaeologist. I'm much more interested in the past. So, the whole, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away … " piques my interests. Not to mention there’s that whole, you know, "Force” thing. Also, I'm pretty sure I'd end up as a redshirt for the Starfleet. We all know how that is going to end ...
G2M: Doctor Who versus Bill and Ted, who is the most awesome?
KR: If we're only talking about the role of a phone booth ... I'm giving it to Bill and Ted. If we're talking about the longevity of literary characters, Doctor Who is going to win. I don't really want to see a rebooted Bill and Ted. However, I am very curious to see who the next Doctor is going to be. A trickier question might be, who is better: Rufus or any of Doctor Who’s companions? George Carlin is awfully hard to beat … !
G2M: Favorite nerd pick-up line.
KR: I gotta refer back to my archaeologist self here, but when out on some hot summer digs, we'd toss a few around. My favorite was always, "Are you a carbon sample? Because I want to date you."