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Nerdist Podcast: Simon Amstell
Episode 624: Nerdist Podcast
Simon Amstell
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Simon Amstell

Comedian Simon Amstell talks with Chris, Matt and Jonah about how he got his start in comedy, doing jokes about the Queen, and Chris’ secret dream to be a British comedian. He also talks about finding jokes in therapy and his upcoming U.S. tour!

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  1. Alecia says:

    I love when people talk about the deeper reasons why they do what they do. This conversation with Simon Amstell was so great and I hearing about the craft and inspiration of comedy is so interesting. Great podcast as usual.

  2. VincenzoSZ says:

    Thanks for another great podcast.  and for introducing me to a quite funny guy.

  3. George Jefferson says:

    Okay, I briefly paused the interview at 18:33. I love Simon Amstell, but sometimes I find the dubious, self-denigrating British comedians a bit . . . off-putting. (Another example: Richard Ayoade. Dude, take a compliment. It’s not poison.) I’m sure that Chris will pull this interview together, but I would be charmed if, just for once, he did not. Mr. Amstell wants to be abused, let THAT sit in the air like a stale fart.

    • Twirrim says:

      It’s not just comedians.  It’s more of a brit culture thing.  We don’t take compliments all that well generally.  Can’t be seen to have a big head or any such nonsense.

  4. Tron Howard says:

    Huge Simon Amstell fan. The fact that Chris, Matt, and Jonah got him to open up at all is a testament to their personable interviewing skills. Really enjoyed this.

  5. Nikki says:

    I wasn’t familiar with Simon before this podcast, but I already love his humor. His laugh reminds me of Ricky Gervais (that’s a good thing because Ricky is amazing….ps, Chris, you should get him on the podcast)

  6. itchy says:


  7. Shockingmood says:

    I’d like to hear an interview with Simon where he answers every question with “what do you mean by that?” or snapping back with the same question or simply shrugging.

  8. ericmci says:

    Going into this one now I have sort of avoided listening b/c the pict of Simon here- He just looks absolutely miserable.   And looking through the comments has me a bit cautious but here we go.Also Chris desire to be British is No secret.Speaking of recurring themes the British anything is better than the American version is def up there.I listen every week because I really enjoy the show- but a 1000 hours of podcasting will no doubt create themes most great some not as enjoyable.

  9. XFiles2015 says:

    This one turned out alright at the end!  I did not know Simon before this podcast, so I was bummed that the room felt uncomfortable in the beginning. I don’t know if it was the guys’ riffing in the beginning where maybe Simon felt excluded (the three of you together is just too awesome) and/or bringing up the Conan set. When he kept saying it was up to the host(s) to make the interview interesting, I wasn’t sure if that was genuinely his experience or if he was commenting on the riffing in the beginning.  I don’t have visuals so I can only garner what I thought I heard.
    It was great to see Chris, Jonah, & Matt really work at it to break through any barriers. I went from being very off put to actually rooting that his tour does well here. Simon got to some real talk towards the end and I hope he understands that IT IS fascinating. If only we could see his reaction at the end when you told him you do not edit. Matt’s “NOPE” was perfect. Having listened to the whole thing, even with the uncomfortableness in beginning, I wouldn’t want it edited because all of it was just real.
    I hope you can all do a Simon Amstell Returns! 
    PS, Chris you are ruining me from ever listening to short form celebrity interviews! I used to love them so much but all the radio, talk shows, press junkets just don’t it anymore. Please don’t stop distributing because I am addicted.

  10. Fannypack says:

    Thank you for having Simon Amstell on! I’ve loved him since Popworld ☺Fun fact, both Chris and Simon have survived Marilyn Manson interviews

  11. ernie says:

    “fuck you and your animals.” we need the marc maron tv show universe version of chris hardwick more often.  and jonah playing the annoyed record store owner. 

  12. Nico says:

    Was it just me, or was Simon sort of a defensive dick until maybe the last 20-25 minutes? Like, what better way to get Nerdist listeners to NOT see your show than to be insulting towards the hosts.

    • Andrew says:

      Chris’s mostly identical ‘introspective’ questions he uses on literally everyone aren’t realistically going to work 100% of the time.

      Unintentionally, I think Chris started coming across like a press junket interviewer.

      • Chris Hardwick says:

        ‘Quotes’ and ‘literally’ are snotty and would suggest that you are getting tired of this show. I’m sure there are many others that would suit your ‘discerning’ needs. I’m not a dick and I don’t mind criticism! It’s ok just to talk respectfully like a human being, though. I find that snarky people would almost rather be shitty than actually get an answer or solve a problem, so I apologize if I’m messing that up for you by addressing this.

        To your other point, I think Simon was exhausted and just not really in the mood to talk for the first half so I just started pulling from every angle to engage him. I ask different people some of the same questions because everyone answers them differently, and those are the ones that are of the most interest to me. Ultimately, I’m curious about why people do what they do and am partially a student in this podcast trying to learn things from smarter folks. 

        • GD says:

          Chris your interview style is pretty relaxing, so what is you bring in personal things from time to time. It engages the guest and can bring the conversation in a new direction – As a listener we do get to hear the same story once or twice from you but it has produced some interesting interview topics where the guest opens up (Jeff Bridges stands out for me).  Listening to this Simon was just being Simon, this is his style and the type of person he is comes out in his comedy.  It seemed clear that he was not use to the format of the show and thought it needed to be more streamlined and ‘fake’ like most interviews. 

          Keep up the great shows, and excellent guests – fan from Ireland.

        • Marsu says:

          I think the whole “learning from the guests” ship sailed with Max Landis (favor to Chloe, we know) and Maria Menounos.

        • Andrew says:

          You have to admit that you do re-use the same questions an awful lot, like the inevitable “how do you stay grounded”.  Simon’s a quirky guy, and you can’t help his exhaustion, but “Do you like America?” is the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  I mean, when your guest is telling you it’s your job to make the podcast interesting, he’s either being an asshole or there’s something to it.
          Just my two cents, I do really enjoy your podcast which is why I listen to every episode, but if you didn’t expect there to be some criticism in the comments of this one…

        • JFR says:

          It was apparent during the part that I listened to that Simon was, for whatever and likely perfectly valid reason, not keeping up his end of the conversation. It was good to hear all three of you trying different approaches to make something of it, almost a Master Class in Conversational Interview Techniques. I did ultimately stop listening to this episode, if only because I know how refreshing it is when your guest cares. Thank you for trying to give us a personal perspective on someone you appreciate, even if he wasn’t in a position to let us in.

        • Brad says:

          That feeling of envy, self-loathing and admiration is what I decided to refute when I started creating. He thinks he COULD do better, but fears he never WOULD do better. It’s not haters who hate. It’s self-haters who hate.

      • JetpackBlues says:

        Don’t fret! I hear Chris has a new podcast in the pipe for people just like you!
        It’s called Pregnant Paws and it’s him asking meaningful questions to animals for an hour plus, but conversation dies down every 7 or so minutes….

    • Brad says:

      Yeah, at first I thought “Wow, discount Russel Brand is kinda being a douche. But after he got to talking a bit, I realized he was just a bit neurotic. And once he settled in a bit, I started to like him.

    • Nikki says:

      it’s just his sense of humor!

  13. Samm says:

    Saw him at the Bell House last spring workshopping this tour material and it was fabulous. I can’t wait to see the finished product. <3

  14. English Dave says:

    Anyone else experiencing an unearthly humming sound on this podcast or is it just tinitus…?

  15. Andrew says:

    Simon was the best part of Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

  16. Adonees says:

    Chris is always great but it kind of irritates me when he has to ALWAYS circle back to himself and his life. Isn’t the point of having someone on the podcast to hear them and their story? Not so much on this podcast but Chris does it often. Regardless…a pleasant episode anyway. Sorry to sound negative. I don’t ever comment but I had to add that to the collective meaningless negative Internet comments. Carry on… 😛

    • Adonees says:

      not so much on this episode**

    • Wes says:

      It’s not really an interview. I actually like that he talks about himself as much as the guests, because they’re also there for him, and to talk to him.
      Us listening is more or less just a bonus to them.

    • Blimes says:

      Always.  Three times, 3 times (!), on the Gillian Anderson podcast he tried to bring up his girlfriend’s mom’s show dogs while Gillian kept unintentionally cutting him off by just being adorable. 

    • Chris Hardwick says:

      If you just ask a person questions about themselves it starts turning into an interrogation. From my almost 1000 hours of experience doing this I’ve found that people don’t always love answering questions about themselves for an hour and fifteen minutes straight. It puts them in junket mode. A conversation, which I believe these are, is two or more people relating to each other, building on that and learning stuff. That’s all. Sorry it bugs you! It’s not going to change.

      • Adonees says:

        i mean, it’s fine and i am not talking about normal back and forth. he sometimes tries to circle back to himself intentionally like he just wants to talk about himself. regardless of all that though i think he’s great and hilarious. just self-obsessed haha 

        • Nick says:

          You do realize you are replying to Chris himself, right?

        • Dave says:

          I absolutely disagree with your point Adonees.
          What makes the Nerdist great and so different from other interview formats is the fact that it’s a two way conversation. This allows for genuine, open and meaningful dialogue. Chris, just like anyone else, can only speak from his own personal perspective however this gives the guest a chance to share their own feelings and experiences in response.

          Anyway, great pod. Keep it up!

    • Leslie says:

      I think the point of having a guest is to learn something about them (or from them) that they want to share. Most traditional interviews are forced, rehearsed or are simply not that interesting. Because of the podcast’s long-form conversational style, it takes away the pretense of marketing and turns it into two people discussing stuff, and when the guest is at ease, they are naturally more engaging.   

    • ultimafullmetal says:

      A real conversation has to go both ways.

    • George Jefferson says:

      You know who doesn’t talk about himself? Larry King. I hate that old format of interviews. It’s dull. Podcasts are gaining ground for a reason. The conversational element transforms everything.

    • carlos roots says:

      For us it gets repetitive, but for the interviewee, it’s refreshing to have a real conversation vs a barrage of questions. I prefer this way.

    • Robert Nunez says:

      I hear what you are saying and I’d agree with most interviewers, but Chris is a fellow comedian/performer and his openness brings out deeper responses from the guests. Sometimes, I think Chris downplays his own life and I’m always eager to hear more. He’s an interesting person, a big talent and has such amazing success. He’s like the Internet Oprah!And Nerdist is much more of a conversation than a Q & A show. 

  17. Samael Caceres says:

    I want to know about the robot eye! Bring Aristotle on the next hostful

  18. Bryan says:

    Billy Joel IS Darth Vader