As a knowledgeable, well-travelled geek, you’re probably inundated with podcasts. Hell, many of you probably have podcasts of your own. I don’t, but I do appear on one regularly: The Nerd Degree, now in its second season.
It’s a panel-style quiz show, recorded before a live audience, with an emphasis on fun discussion and debate rather than correct answers. Each episode looks a different area of nerdy expertise - we’ve done shows on time travel, myths and legends, supervillains, and the animal kingdom - pitting two teams against each other in a wholly made-up competition. Like in Whose Line Is It Anyway, the points don’t matter - it’s all about talking nerdy shit and having fun.
The show was originally put together by New Zealand improviser and playwright Brendon Bennetts as a way to exorcise his and his colleagues’ geeky knowledge through comedy. Chief amongst its influences are British panel shows like Stephen Fry’s QI or Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s Shooting Stars. These are shows that ostensibly follow a competitive quiz format, but whose competition is absolutely secondary to the banter, discussion, and sometimes surreal comedy that goes on around it.
The latest episode is a Star Trek special, celebrating the franchise’s 50th anniversary (as everyone is doing). It’s hosted by yours truly, joined by improvisers Ben Allan, Wiremu Tuhiwai, and Henri Nelis; young adult author Karen Healey; and writer Laura Borrowdale. There’s some fun stuff in there, including deep dives into red-shirt deaths and all the occupations that Star Trek doctors aren’t.
I’d wager it’s worth a listen if for no other reason than to hear a dramatic reading of a piece of Trek fan fiction I wrote at age five, featuring Picard acting grossly out of character and also, for some reason, a whole bunch of weird bondage. Turns out I was a weird little kid.