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Walking Walkens, Sentient Cell Phones, and an Audience With the King: What We Learned at Nerdist This Week

Hey, recognize this guy?:

Sure you do. That’s Larry King’s back in a blurry iPhone shot. See? Life in Southern California is one big parade of celebrities, depending on how loosely you define the term “celebrity.”

This week, I was caught in the vortex that is Larry King for a fleeting moment. I was at a day-long seminar about talk radio, and it was as arduous and brutal as these things usually are, but the experience of being ignored by the former softball-question-tossing host of a cable news show was worth the numbing ennui. Except that it wasn’t. Larry’s shown up to several of these things over the years, and he tells the same stories each time, including the one about being a young overnight DJ in Miami and putting a long record on so he could rush out to, um, meet up with a female caller, and the record skips for hours and hilarity ensues. But, you know, it’s Larry King, so it’s perfectly okay that he does that, even if it plants the image in our minds of Larry King having sex. Plus, there were free bagels and soda.

Was Larry King the only celebrity I ran into? No, he was not. Say cheese, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa! I’m not your biggest fan!:

I swear, the man’s teeth are backlit. His expression says a few things: one, that he knows he’s being photographed, and two, that he does not want to be there and knows he’s entering the lion’s den, filled with people who don’t like how he’s been running the city. You’d have a tense, insincere smile on your face if you knew you were about to give a speech with jokes that will receive not even a single nervous laugh. Not his room, that’s for sure. But when you’re a big city mayor, you gotta do that kind of stuff all the time.

So that was the highlight of my week. (No, I’m lying. It wasn’t. My wedding anniversary was. But it’s more amusing to imagine that seeing Larry King’s back was the pinnacle of excitement) There were, however, plenty of highlights right here at, like:

1. Danny showed us the inevitable Walken Dead parody, and noted, with the help of a new website, that making Siri say goofy things is now a meme. I’d just like it (I’m NOT CALLING IT “HER”) to answer my questions instead of telling me to look it up on the Web.

2. Jake had five more Intentionally Funny Videos, and when you have Steven Wright, Maria Bamford, Portlandia, Barry Rothbart, and Brent Weinbach in the same week, that’s not bad.

3. That Community episode with the seven timelines? We saw all seven, all at once. Seven diferent routes to Evil Abed.

4. Arnie continued his DC reboot reviews. It’s great to have someone with a good eye for comics quality reading every single one of these rebooted series so we can get right to the good stuff.

5. Jay reviewed The Thing. He liked it. Didn’t love it. Worth a matinee. Or a rental.

6. A “Victorian cut-out” animation got Kyle thinking about the wussification of vampires.

7. Kyle dissected the trailer for This Means War, a movie coming out on Presidents’ Day Weekend, which is when studios release movies they know are going to bomb. Will this one bomb?

8. In the manner of Be Kind Rewind came a sweded Avengers trailer, caught for us by Nicole. I want to see the entire movie sweded.

9. Freakin’ awesome Nerdist Podcast animation, Jacky Dan. Freakin’ awesome.

10. Jake looked at an attempt to quantify comedy with a formula, and tried to come up with his own. Seems like it defies any attempt to reduce it to x + y = whatever.

11. We visited Ars Nova, a New York theater where they’re helping artists and writers grow. Check it out and you’ll want to go there. You may want to live there.

12. Kyle turned us on to British radio sci-fi serial The Minister of Chance. Theater of the mind… very cool. But I have a little bias in favor of radio.

13. Becca brought Abel Charrow in to offer a playlist of classic Halloween songs, along the way making me happy by mentioning John Zacherle(y), the Cool Ghoul, who people of a certain age will remember as a TV horror movie host (they used to have those, kids) and as a DJ on WNEW and WPLJ for years. But, Becca, really, you didn’t know “Monster Mash”?

14. Mindy showed you how to make cool Halloween stuff. The Zoidberg costume is just perfect.

15. We heard Shatner sing “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Blame Matt G.

16. Nerdist Network Podcasts: The Indoor Kids had Steven Johnson over to talk about reviewing games and hating games that others love, then gave us a mini-sode with a review of Ico, and asked us to name it. Sparks Nevada and his excessively enthusiastic and talkative steed Mercuty rode the Martian range on a new Thrilling Adventure Hour. Riki had Bitsie Tulloch over to talk about Making It. Sex Nerd Sandra, with her pals Dave and Ed, answered your emails and provided you with all the anal love bead information you’ve been craving. Ben’s Writer’s Panel featured Allan Loeb, Phoef Sutton, and Rob Roy Thomas, and they’re all accomplished, but Phoef’s resume includes Newhart, Cheers, NewsRadio, Boston Legal, and Terriers — wow. And Tom Wilson stopped by Todd Glass’ studio on his way to his very own Nerdist Industries podcast, coming soon.

17. Nerdist Podcasts: Matt let us know about his true ambition in the Hostful Podcast, and it was pretty simple. And then… John Hodgman! THAT IS ALL.

Remember, Talking Dead is back for another round of post-Walking Dead discussion Sunday night at 11/10c on AMC, this week with Robert Kirkman and Brian Posehn. Chris, Jonah, and Matt are in Portland Saturday night at the Aladdin Theater — if you’re in the area, GO TO IT. Pre-order The Nerdist Way with the link on this page while you’re at it, and enjoy, please, this excerpt appearing in Wired magazine this month. EYB, y’all.

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