It's day 3 of my 30-day challenge, and I'm continuing my series on YouTube channels. Yesterday was Geek and Sundry, and today, it's the Nerdist!

The Nerdist channel was created by the Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick, who began the Nerdist empire with a podcast called - you guessed it - the Nerdist. (Hardwick is a stand-up comic and has written a book called The Nerdist Way, which he has described as a sort of productivity guide for obsessive-minded people.)

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Hardwick and his two friends Jonah Ray (whom you may recognize from the Microsoft Bing commercials) and Matt Mira, who are also stand-up comics. I would call Ray a music geek, while Mira is awesomely a NASA nerd, and has done some work on the TV network G4. Here's a picture of them all bearding it up with Zach Galifianakis.

The Nerdist's genre is in the middle of a venn diagram of comedy and nerd culture. The YouTube channel has followed in this vein with programming that touches on both. One of my favorites is Neil's Puppet Dreams; each episode features Neil Patrick Harris falling asleep, at which point we are sucked into his dream world. His dream world is populated by puppets; and not just any puppets! Henson puppets. (But videos are NSFW.) I posted one below that features my favorite gag of all of them: Puppet cookies. (No, that is not a euphemism.)

Another program that I find entertaining on the Nerdist channel is All-Star Celebrity Bowling. Hardwick's father was a professional bowler, and still holds many league records, and he seems to have passed on some knowledge. But the show is team vs. team, so it's never a rout. Plus the competition is for charity, which is always nice. Here's Team Doctor Who; I think we can all agree that Arthur Darvill is the coolest, don't ya think? (Although Karen Gillan, despite having never bowled before, displayed uncanny skill.)

They've also hosted Team Mad Men, Team Breaking Bad, Team Mythbusters, Team Conan (Team Coco?), and others.

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The Nerdist channel has other good shows in its lineup; they managed to wrangle Neil Degrasse Tyson for a video version of his Star Talk podcast. (Which, if you haven't heard, SHAME ON YOUR HOUSE! I highly recommend the shows recorded live at the Bell House, such as this one featuring, oh, you know, an astronaut!!) I'm not sure the YouTube videos quite capture the essence of Star Talk but I hope they continue to tweak it.

The channel also has Nerd Down & 10, which is quite funny, and Write Now! with Jimmy Pardo. Write Now! has a great premise, which is to have comedy writers listed to a stand-up comic and write jokes on the spot. Pardo then chooses his favorite and gives the winner some cash. (It doesn't matter; the highlight is Pardo reading out the jokes.)

Oh, one other thing I think is awesome about Nerdist - they founded the Course of the Force, which is a lightsaber relay for charity! They started it last year, and this year they're going from Skywalker Ranch to San Diego Comic Con. You can sign up for a 1/4 mile part of the relay. Oh, and the pace car is a sail barge!

Anybody else dig the Nerdist? What other shows do you like?