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Five Nerd Heroes From LA Weekly's New People Issue

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Wed, May 18, 2011 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Patton Oswalt and Grumpus
  • Patton Oswalt and Grumpus

LA Weekly's brand new People Issue, out on newsstands Thursday, has enough nerd heroes to fill a whole, err, nerds don't know sports. But they do like systems and categorization, and so we put them in a list:

5. James Urbaniak

Liz Ohanesian interviews the actor who voices Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture in Adult Swim's cult hit animated series The Venture Bros. He's also known by his friends as "Dr. Red Herring" for his frequent guest star appearances that throw mystery-show investigations off course. He's so creepy-looking that he always looks like the culprit -- which is why it's never him.

"When I first moved here, I started getting a lot of guest slots on TV shows, one-show appearances," Urbaniak says. "It's hard to be good on TV...If you're just coming in to be one person on the show and you kind of fit into the formula, it's hard to make it seem real and make it seem lived-in."

4. Igloo Tornado

Siran Babayan interviews Tom Neely, Gin Stevens, Scot Nobles and Levon Jihanian, an artist collective responsible for Henry + Glenn Forever, a mini comic book that turned the friendship between Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig into a gay romance.

The group feared retribution. "Please don't punch us in the face. We love you," the book pleaded. Jihanian opted to withdraw his name from the list of authors for fear of a backlash. Now he jokes that the book is "the one thing I'd love to get beat up over. That'll be, like, the highlight of my life."

3. Chris Hardwick

Nicole Campos reconnects with the Nerdist impresario, who was the host of MTV's short-lived game show Trashed when she was a contestant.

Over the din of a packed lunch crowd at the Griddle on Sunset, we giggle while discussing comedy that we both like, such as Bobcat Goldthwait's raunchy film Shakes the Clown. "I haven't seen that movie in years," Hardwick says. He then does exactly what one expects of the man behind Nerdist.com: He whips out his iPhone and declares, "I've got to see if it's on Netflix Instant!"

2. Donald Glover

Rena Kosnett visits the former 30 Rock writer and current Community star.

He's so busy that he hardly ever has time to stand in, let alone appreciate, the mostly empty house he purchased in Silver Lake -- although he has a chair now. "I would love to get some food in here, too," Glover sighs, "but I'm never here to eat it."

1. Patton Oswalt

Campos interviewed one of geekdom's most-heralded pundits, who has been known for his passion at the mic.

"If I talk about something that I don't like or something that I love, I want to be as honest with my anger and disgust as I am with my joy and exhilaration," Oswalt explains, sitting on the porch of his Los Feliz home on a warm afternoon, while his French bulldog, Grumpus, suns himself on the front walk. "And also be very honest about how inarticulate our feelings can make us."

Follow Zachary Pincus-Roth on Twitter at @zpincusroth

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