We're dorky for the hilarious comedy of Jackie Kashian, who brings her podcast The Dork Forest to NerdMelt at Meltdown Comics, with guests Dana Gould and James Urbaniak. While on vacation in Australia, she kindly A'ed our Q's.
L.A. WEEKLY: Congratulations on 45 episodes of The Dork Forest. What's in store for the July 7 show?
JACKIE KASHIAN: Well, it's 45 of The New Dork Forest. There are 213 previous episodes in varying degrees of audio quality but with plenty of dorky goodness out there if people get desperate. This live show is going to be fantastic. My guests are Dana Gould, one of my favorite comics of all time and writer for The Simpsons, and amazing actor and voice of Dr. Venture himself from The Venture Brothers, James Urbaniak. They have many interests, but what they can both go on about forever is old-timey Hollywood. I will learn much, as my knowledge mostly revolves around Tony Curtis.
You're finally broadcasting from a comic book store — what took you so long?
I KNOW! And Meltdown is a fantastic comic book store. That theater in the back of it makes dork/nerd live events a twofer. I can pick up titles I need and see or perform in a great show. Do I sound a bit advertisey? It's worth it; it's a great space and Chris Hardwick's Nerdist theme shows are perfect.
What will you wear for this special occasion?
Ah, that IS the question. She-Hulk? ZaSu Pitts? I'm torn.
Who are some of your dream dorky guests?
Right now that list grows every time I log in to Twitter. I can say anyone, right? It's my dream, ya bastards. Albert Brooks, Dick Cavett, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall (I'm gonna bet she loves true crime), Bill Murray (Indian food). And then the traditional dork luminaries (new and old): Leonard Nimoy, Nathan Fillion, Andrew Lloyd Webber. Really … everyone. Perhaps weirdly, I'd like to talk to everyone on the planet about their dorkdom.
What dorky thing about you do we not know?
It's weird what the listeners do know. Someone started a Wiki page for me and I realized I let a lot of information trickle out there. I don't know if people know that I'm a pretty good Hacky Sack player. Not a star, but good for the circle.
Is there a difference between a dork and a nerd?
Some people think nerds have better social skills and others think the reverse. I think dork can be used as a verb easier. Everyone is a dork for something. Being nerdy about something requires info; dorks just need enthusiasm. I just made that up.
Have you ever done a Dork Forest on Disneyland? Just a thought.
I have done several Dork Expeditions; one to a coffee importer in Seattle, Atlas Coffee, one to a comic book publisher, Image, and then a game store, Games of Berkeley. I certainly know a lot of Disneyland dorks. I should go to Disneyland with one of them, you're right.
Why do people think nerds are cool these days? (See: Chris Hardwick)
Hipster nerds. There's a lot of talk about cred with nerds and dorks these days, but I say there's room for everyone. The real answer might be that there's more people playing with what are considered toys well into adulthood. Previously, it was just the caricature of the comic book guy from The Simpsons, but now everyone's mom is playing Farmville and collecting pie-birds (or whatever). So, everyone is a nerd and cool people are still cool, but they're also collecting and doing nerdy things. Hence the hybrid. See my published works when my thesis is done in 2019.
What are your goals for The Dork Forest?
I love the interview format. The meeting of new kinds of dorks and the enthusiasm that comes from them. I feed off of that enthusiasm and am a chameleon dork. I would love to do video “Dork Expeditions” as interstitials and then as full Discovery Channel–like length shows where I meet the people in their natural habitat and then we tour the world they love (BBQ, action figures, horror films, romance novels, bees) and we all get to learn and play. It's like Biography Channel for dorks.
For the podcast, my goal is keep doing it as long as I'm enjoying it. The listeners seem to enjoy it and more people I meet want to come on and talk about what they love. Everyone is certainly welcome. It's a safe space.
NerdMelt at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; Thurs., July 7, 8 p.m.; $10. (323) 851-7223.
Thu., July 7, 8 p.m., 2011