There was a time where my mornings were spent driving to work listening to the ESPN Radio app so I can hear Mike and Mike In the Morning (my sports program of choice), this is especially heavy during football season. Even more so if my Giants are a relevant team. If they play like crap I’d rather not listen to the show on Monday in fear of possibly having to re-live that trauma. Seriously, it hurt enough the first time. Lately though I find that I’ve strayed a little from Mike and Mike, and it isn’t because of a lack of interest. Quite the contrary, sports continue to be a big part of my life even if the Giants have been eliminated from the playoffs (*sigh*), what changed is I said I wanted to do a podcast. Ever since I made that proclamation (and it’s going to happen Geeklings) I found that it might be important to listen to some actual podcasts to try and get a feel for it. Novel idea, right?
With the winter having less then ideal weather conditions, I haven’t been walking as consistently as I’d like, but when I do I find that I really enjoy listening to a podcast. It’s not overbearing and can be a fun way to ease into the morning because let’s face it, mornings blow. If the show happens to be particularly good I carry the listening over to the car. Seems natural but does leave Mike and Mike on the outside. The rate at which I listen means it takes me like two to three days to complete an episode of a podcast, but it quickly has become something I look forward to. Enjoyable and inspiring. Lighting those creative fires.
Right now I religiously listen to Harmontown (from Community creator Dan Harmon and something mentioned on the Week In Geek here) and the Nerdist Podcast which is hosted by geek idol Chris Hardwick. Both shows couldn’t be any different. Harmontown has a town hall on acid feel to it and really makes the audience a participating member of every show (if they tour this year and come to New York I am totally going to those shows!) while the Nerdist Podcast is more Hardwick having a conversation with a different celebrity. While vastly different both podcasts have quickly become an integral part of my week and are helping me lay down the foundation for the I Am Geek podcast which coming this year.
All of that is sort of besides the point though. Last weeks Nerdist Podcast had the one and only Mark Hamill as the guest, and as you can surmise I got really excited for this show. I mean, duh of course I would. Clearly there would be some pretty big Star Wars discussions (come on Episode VIII), but Hamill has become so ingrained in geek culture that to hear him and Hardwick (who in a lot of ways helped to inspire this site. Felicia Day as well.) speak was enough to fill my heart with geekish delight. On the one hand you can hear the excitement in Hardwick’s voice to be conversating with someone he obviously looks up to, and on the flip side just to hear how cool and casual Hamill was. Half way through it though something dawned on me, and I can’t believe I haven’t put it together before now. But it went off like a light bulb. Just ding!
Geeklings, Mark Hamill is all types of awesome. No, for real. I listened to this Nerdist Podcast and I couldn’t help but think, “holy shit, Mark Hamill could be the most awesome person alive”. Saying it out loud now makes me feel kind of foolish because when you look at the evidence it seems pretty obvious. So today at I Am Geek I would like to take the time to celebrate the awesome that is Mark Hamill.
- Let’s start with the most obvious reason. He’s Luke effin’ Skywalker. Now, I can hear my dear friend Brandan, rolling his eyes from here, but allow me to explain. My friend and I constantly have arguments about Luke Skywalker and just how powerful of a Jedi he was. As I’ve gotten older I’ve kind of balked on the idea of Luke being the end all be all of Jedi (Yoda for life), but in my heart of hearts I know how awesome of a character he is. Yes, he’s a bit whiny and can sometimes come off as a nag but the films put him in a very unique position. Luke becomes the lone Jedi, the one man chosen to rebuild an ancient religion, and that’s pretty immense. Not to mention everything he does at Jabba’s Palace is really cool and he’s able to put aside his hate and refuse the Emperor something his father could never do. Luke Skywalker for a lot of people my age was the first real movie hero we experienced, and while it’s fun to bust my buddies chops about him there is no denying his importance to the Star Wars saga… or the Jedi order (shut up Brandan). While I may find Yoda to be a better Jedi it would be silly of me to admit to thinking Luke was a joke.
- When push comes to shove Hamill might just be the best Joker ever. No, for serious. For those of you who don’t know, Mark Hamill voiced the Joker in the 90’s Batman: The Animated Series and again in the Arkham video games aaaaaand again in The Killing Joke animated movie (was the only highlight of that mess). For a lot of people when they think of the Joker it’s Hamill’s voice they hear and it’s a tough position to argue. Hamill gets all the little things that make the Joker creepy and such a fascinating villain, and all of that character drips out of every word he utters. Whenever the Joker is on screen you feel yourself drawn to him because the voice work demands your attention.And that laugh. That laugh. If you need further proof Hamill has been reading Donald Trump tweets in the Joker voice and it could very well be the scariest thing ever. Listen to this and try and tell me it’s not plausible.
- You guys ever see Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back? Well you should, for a number of glorious reasons, but one of the highlights is seeing Mark Hamill show up to make a cameo in the most surprising of roles. Seriously, Hamill has like five minutes of screen time (if that) and is known as the Cock Knocker. A villain in a marijuana Star Wars knock off. No, you read that right.While this role is ridiculous it just goes to highlight Hamill’s sense of humor.
- He played the Trickster in the 90’s version of The Flash television show, and has returned to play the Trickster in the current version of The Flash television show. That’s pretty badass.
- Which brings me to my next point. Personality wise, Mark Hamill is just as big a geek as you and me. While listening to him and Hardwick talk I couldn’t help but feel that he was one of us. He’s the type of guy who goes to conventions looking to find comics or some rare collectible. He has spent a lifetime immersing himself within this type of culture, even before he became Luke Skywalkker. And I think that’s what makes this even better when you consider just how big a part of geek culture he is. Mark Hamill is an icon but it hasn’t stopped him from geeking out about things like the rest of us. He hasn’t pulled back from his interests and what he enjoys, if anything his Star Wars role has enhanced that. That’s what makes him so perfect for his role in pop culture. He becomes like a geeky ambassador.
- He can do a pretty stellar Harrison Ford impression (couldn’t find a good audio but he does it on the podcast).
There’s so much more I could mention like his appearance in cult movies like The Guyver, a movie I was briefly obsessed with when I was thirteen or fourteen. I don’t know, I caught it late night on Showtime or something and was like “what is this”. Isn’t that how many brief childhood obsessions start? Granted I grew out of it but that movie holds a special place in my heart. The long and the short of it is Mark Hamill is the geeky icon that we not only need but deserve. Someone who understands his place in pop culture and rather than running from it he embraces it. So, today I’d like to raise a glass in celebration of the awesome that is Mark Hamill. Many huzzahs good sir.