Nerdist Siren Jessica Chobot Raises Fanboy Pulses
By DAVID WEINER
February 10, 2014
It's only fitting that the host of the new Nerdist News online show is a nerd herself, albeit of the "hot" variety. The quick-witted and uber-friendly Jessica Chobot is a geek gamer's dream come true and loves left-of-center TV shows, all things Wonder Woman, and is a video game junkie who's actually written her first game for PlayStation Network, coming out very soon. She happily answers six pertinent questions for ETonline...
ET: WHAT ARE YOUR HUMBLE BEGINNINGS?
JESSICA CHOBOT: Well, most people know me from my one-hit wonder, my one-hit '80s single wonder of licking this PSP in a picture – and it's like one of those things where, yeah, it kind of like helps you start in the business … but at the same time, now that I’m older, I’m like, "Oh my god, how embarrassing. And of course everybody, always references it, I’m like, "Goddang it!" (laughs)
ET: ON NERDIST NEWS, WHAT SERVICE DO YOU PROVIDE FOR THE NERDS OF THE WORLD AND FOR THE PUBLIC AS A WHOLE?
JC: It’s quick little bites of pop culture information, brought to you in a hopefully entertaining way. That's kind of my job, is to kind of bridge the stories together, have fun with it, and interact with the people that are watching, whether it is onscreen directly, doing stuff the viewers send us -- which we might be doing on occasion -- or if it's just once the video's posted, I'll hop online and leave comments, or I'll do some AMAs with Twitter on occasion and Reddit. … I guess the best way to describe me is besides from being the host, I dabble in the social media aspect of it as part of interacting with our viewership.
ET: HOW MUCH DO YOU WRITE, AND DO YOU GET TO FIT SOME FUN IMPROV IN THERE?
JC: In the mornings we all get together and share stories that we have discovered throughout the day that we think are newsworthy stories. I obviously, because of my videogame background, usually gravitate more to the video game stories. We have a lot of really high-end TV and movie reviewers, and so they usually gravitate to the casting news and the TV stories and things of that nature. We try to talk a little about science news and the fun stuff in there once in a while so it's not just the typical movies-TV-comics-videogame stuff. … Then the writers will actually write the scripts, we go down to the studio, I'll do a run-through read just so I can get a rough idea of the cadence of the writing and the points that need to be made, and then after that we'll shoot. It's prepared, but then a lot of the little asides that you see, or the little personal comments that you see -- that's usually improve. You know, it's kind of 50/50 I would say, and then obviously doing the skits are an absolute blast, and those are very well planned out, because we need specific shots for those, but they are so much fun. It's probably is the thing I like to do the most. If we can have a show with nothing but skits I would be so down for that. … That's the great thing about my job, it's actually so much fun.
ET: THE NICE THING ABOUT YOUR FORMAT IS YOU HAVE THE ELBOW ROOM TO HAVE NICE, LONG INTERVIEWS WITH STARS. WHO HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE INTERVIEW SO FAR, AND WHY?
JC: Yeah, the interviews are fun. I actually like them at Nerdist much more than when I had to do junkets and things like that [where] you have four minutes , it's on their turf, they have to see tons of people asking the same questions because it's all relatively vetted through the PR company, you're sitting there on a Saturday afternoon, they don’t want to be there, you sure as hell don't want to be there, and you have to sit there and try and come up with questions and act like you guys are chummy chummy , and it's really awkward. Whereas [Nerdist news interviews] are so much more casual, they know what to expect, they know it's a website, they know is not going to be anything too restricted or structured -- not everything out of their mouth is a sound bite, and that makes it so much more fun.
My favorite interview was with Isaiah Mustafa and Michael Rosenbaum. This is so immature of me, but literally the entire conversation, with the exception of a few key points talking about the movies that they had coming out, literally the entire conversation revolved around farts. And I loved it. It was funny, you could see it was kind of like, 'We're gonna shock you,' and I was like, 'Oh no, sweetheart, no you're not. Do you realize I have a 10-month-old son, I’ve been pooed on, peed on, barfed on -- nothing you can say is possibly going to shock me. And on top of it, I think this is funny!' So yeah, that was probably the most fun, because is just kind of devolved into 13-year-old humor and it was a great time.
ET: ON THE FLIP SIDE, HOW ABOUT YOUR WORST INTERVIEW SITUATION?
JC: Everybody that's come on has been really awesome, and I'm not just saying that to say that, but the toughest one, because I didn't know how to talk to her about it, was probably Danica McKellar, because of the math. ... Math for me, growing up, was so difficult and such a scary thing – and still is in a lot of ways; I get around it now because technology does everything for us – but growing up I was just so turned off by it and it caused me so much stress (laughs). So I sit there and try to have a conversation with Danica about it, and she's so passionate about it and so fun with it, I just didn't know what to say. I was actually incredibly, incredibly nervous to talk to her about it. But everything can be fixed in post, thank god, and all the dumb questions I asked were edited out (laughs).
ET: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE POP CULTURE STORY OF 2013, AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE IN 2014?
Well, I am a massive Wonder Woman fan – you should see the amount of figurines I have in my house – so I'm always keeping an eye out on that story, whether it's the TV show that kind of thankfully went under or the regular rumors of a Wonder Woman movie, or on Batman vs. Superman or Justice League of America. … And The Dark Tower series being brought to the big screen and TV -- oh my god, I'd lose my mind if that happens, if they do it right. Oh man, please HBO, you mix Game of Thrones with my Dark Tower series, if you can do that, I will just absolutely go berserk! … And this upcoming year I'm also very curious to see how E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo) is going to be [and] where we're headed with all of this [technology].
And then my game that I wrote, Daylight, is going to be released on PlayStation Network [early this year], so I'm really, really excited for that because that was my first attempt at doing something with gaming more behind the camera than in front of the camera. It's more along the lines of those explorative horror genre games. … It's been quite an adventure … and it's definitely taught me a lot about what really goes on behind the scenes, and budgets and problem solving. It definitely opened my eyes.
Nerdist News is a premium YouTube channel show that covers all facets of pop and genre culture, from comedy and cosplay to gaming and comic books in bite-sized, 3-5 minute episodes, with the added bonus of original content, comedy sketches, interviews and reviews. Watch 'em on www.youtube.com/Nerdist and find out more at www.Nerdist.com.