Only Vancouver, B.C., Canada, could produce a media personality like Nardwuar the Human Serviette and allow him to thrive. He’s unique: annoying, insightful, relentlessly probing, and, above all, daring. His moniker comes from a complicated afternoon of juvenile goofing around. His fame comes from many thingsÐhosting a radio show on UBC’s campus radio station CiTR, his appearances on MuchMusic, writing for Chart, Razorcake, Roctober and Flipside magazines, starting his own record label while in his teens, his endless advocacy for gritty underground garage-rock bands like Tacoma’s Sonics, Neil Young’s early combo the Squires, Germany’s Monks, and our own Subhumans, plus his devotion to promoting all-ages concerts when no one else in town could be bothered. Oh, yeah, he’s a performer too, with the Evaporators and Thee Goblins. He also survived a brain hemorrhage at the age of 30–you have to give him points for that.
But what has made Nardwuar really famous–notorious, even–are his interviews of celebrities and politicians. He has a way of thinking up unusual questions and the fearlessness to ask them, even if he knows it’ll get him thrown out of the room. And yet, he’s not an instigator or some kind of put-on character designed to irritate people. He really is that guy, incredibly earnest and enthusiastic like somebody’s kid brother after you feed him way too much candy. Nardwuar’s one of those forces that gets unleashed into a room with unpredictable results, but it’s usually only the people who are full of pretensions and self-importance who end up squirming on the hook. Nardwuar’s a kind of litmus test for the personality lurking behind the capped-teeth smile.
Vancouver BC, Canada