Published on March 8th, 2012 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Chris Hardwick, a TARDIS, and a Tale of Four Cities

When Chris Hardwick says he appreciates a fan’s gift, he means it.

Third Beat’s recap of Hardwick’s visit to Toronto last month mentioned a few of the offerings lavished upon him by fans, including “a homemade TARDIS”.

Turns out, this particular TARDIS has legs.


Joe Smith's TARDIS

The wooden model of the iconic Dr. Who time machine was made by Ottawa Hardwick fan and Whovian Joe Smith. Smith made the 450 km trek from Canada’s capital to see all four of Hardwick’s shows at Comedy Bar, which in itself is an impressive act of dedication.

When he presented Hardwick with the TARDIS – constructed thanks to Smith’s experience as a theatre propmaster – Hardwick was naturally excited by both it and its contents. Smith designed it to house a video library of Hardwick’s greatest and rarest works (view the full gallery).

“One of the things that really stuck out for him was the fact that I was able to track down a clip of him on MadTV from 1996 doing a Singled Out parody,” Smith says.

But there was just one problem.

While allegedly much more expansive on the inside, the project was quite large on the outside as well – too large to fit in Hardwick’s luggage.

Hardwick told Smith that he’d only brought a carry-on with him for the weekend, so something would have to be worked out to get it back to his home in Los Angeles.

Now, performers with a dedicated fan following are accustomed to receiving gifts, and a lot of those gifts don’t see a happy ending (remember the heartbreak of the crushed Conan cookie in Can’t Stop?). The sad truth is, gestures such as these tend to be re-gifted, or “accidentally” left it behind in a greenroom or hotel room.

Not so for the TARDIS!

A plan was hatched. One of the producers who brought Hardwick to Toronto, Ian Atlas, would coincidentally be in New York City the following week at the same time Hardwick would be filming his Comedy Central special.

So the TARDIS accompanied him on his trip, to have a fun-filled romp through the streets of Manhattan.


The TARDIS explores New York City. Photo by Ian Atlas.

Alas, Hardwick clearly likes to pack light. When reunited with his gift in New York, he faced the same luggage limitations as he had a week earlier.

Long story short, Atlas packed up the TARDIS and shipped it from New York to L.A., where it is presumably now in the care of Hardwick’s assistant.

As for its future?

Hardwick promised that “he will give it a home in his office at NerdMelt,” Smith says.

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About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

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