One of the best things, if not the best thing, about nerdy and pop culture conventions is that people of all fandoms can gather and even if we can’t agree on things like whether we’d rather travel in the TARDIS, Impala, Millenium Falcon or Enterprise we can all recognize each other’s inner geek. And we’ve all had at least one nerdgasm. Now a nerdgasm for me (Loki in Hall H) might not be one for you, but trust me when I say if we’ve been to a con or two we’ve all had one, and perhaps no one explains it best than Tom Lenk who not only helps define the term but stands as an example for nerds every where in his new documentary Nerdgasm, which he shared along with Q & A at Fan Fest.
Nerdgasm, as a documentary is all about Tom Lenk’s journey, geographically, creatively and emotionally to Edinburgh Fringe Festival (the soon to be declared hipster version of San Diego Comic Con… trust me it’ll happen). The Fringe Fest is a 25 day performing arts celebration that has comedians, performers and artists entertaining. Tom Lenk went there to perform live for one night (something somewhat uncommon as artists typically do shows for the entire span of the festival)…. so you know… no pressure.
Well despite what a lot of the documentary’s blue humor would lead you to believe with scenes of Lenk’s honest insecurities, Lenk is able to pull off awesome under pressure, instead of falling apart as he feared.
How did he do it though? Nerdgasm is the answer. Let’s briefly go back to what a nerdgasm is, but before that, let’s address what a nerd is. A nerd is, according to Merriam Webster:
an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits
Now, let’s also consider adding “fandom-related” in the pursuits that one could be “slavishly devoted to”, and you have a nerd.
So, what’s a nerdgasm by definition? It’s that sensory overload moment when something you have loved/adored/followed is suddenly there before you (again, see Loki in Hall H for an example). Another example may be meeting Harrison Ford, Emma Watson, Patrick Stewart, or in the case of a particularly sweet Buffy fan, and nerds everywhere Tom Lenk.
Why would Tom Lenk bring you to nerdgasm, is it just because he’s part of the epic Whedonverse (LOVE him most as the intern in Cabin in the Woods)? Nope, it’s because not only does he define what nerds are in Nerdgasm, it’s because he’s the definitive nerd. Don’t believe me, he dressed up in Star Trek uniforms, in band. Yep, two things that individually would label one a nerd he has together (with the photos in the documentary to prove it).
Now, Tom’s a funny guy naturally, and he showed it during the Q&A, but what made Nerdgasm so awesome was he used himself and his nerdiness, something that he, and many of us, would have been (and likely were) picked on and bullied to be something greater and funnier than just himself. He made his show about embracing who we are and what we love, and that kind of freedom in fandoms (any fandom) is worth a nerdgasm!
When Tom was asked what it’s like now that nerdy is the new cool, and if he ever feels like a hipster who could say “back in my day… being nerdy was tough”, he was gracious and talked about how it’s great now that people can be fans and how conventions can bring them together. And he’s right!
If you want to experience Nerdgasm yourself Tom Lenk mentioned that at some point it was likely to be somewhere on the internet, so till that time stay nerdy, and we’ll post any updates as they come!