Nerdography: Confessions of a Nerd | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Nerdography: Confessions of a Nerd 

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Nerdography: Confessions Of a Nerd, at Live Bait Theater. This "one-nerd" show is a perfect disaster. Jason R. Chin is a better director and teacher than performer, and here a combination of nerves and underrehearsal compounds his awkwardness. The bits that enliven his "growing up geek" monologue seem hastily assembled and merely Scotch-taped to the vague story line. But nothing could be more appropriate to an apology for nerddom than the piece's perpetually imploding, ramshackle construction. And Chin is so charming, unpretentious, and painfully well versed in the culture he illustrates that Nerdography somehow feels like a success.

Gimmicky but fun moments help a lot, like pelting the audience with the title candy for passing little pop quizzes on comic books, Star Wars, and Dungeons & Dragons. A heckler gets bought off with a Hostess fruit pie. Chin opens the show in an ill-fitting Starfleet uniform, and when some friends drop by to sing G.I. Joe songs, they both wear Cobra T-shirts. Such deadpan dorkiness aside, Chin does a good Captain Kirk impression (the high point is a dissection of Shatnerian hand-to-hand combat) and throws down so many references that even the well-socialized might recognize some past, extremely uncool obsessions.

However, Chin's missed cues, half-assed props, and accidental destruction of equipment are what end up selling the show. Often putting buttons on jokes that otherwise have none, these contributions from his "inner nerd" save the day.

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