The Tom Hanks Typewriter Saga

What a fun week! I suspected the Tom Hanks podcast would do well, but it has seriously blown up in a way that shouldn’t have surprised me, given what an amazing fellow Tom is. You guys have been SUPER nice and it makes me proud beyond words of the Phone Radio thing we make, as one delightful listener’s son called it. Not to get all mushy, but yesterday (Oct 8th) was my 9th anniversary of “Hey I’m probably not someone who should be allowed to put alcohol into their bodies so I better knock this shit off,” so the posting of this episode on that day was a wonderful celebration of that decision and all of the good/exciting things that have followed it.

The idea to send Tom a vintage typewriter actually came from one of our genius talent bookers, Ashley (who formerly booked for Conan and who now deserves chocolates and foot massages every day). I decided the best way to go about this was to type out the invitation on said typewriter, leave it in the carriage and send the whole thing in a pretty box. We found a snazzy 1934 Smith Corona portable, in good shape and fully functional:

Place letter in typewriter, roll, close case, send:

And this was the letter I wrote:

Dear Tom,

Please accept this typewriter–o–gram as a formal invitation to be a a guest on my wildly-popular-with-the-kids Nerdist Podcast. It is a super relaxed, fun chat that will probably cover comedy, NASA, and whatever else you want to talk about — a new WEBSERIES, perhaps?? We are nice guys who are easy to get along with and have never murdered anyone. Other guests have included folks like your son Colin, Tina Fey, Conan, Jimmy Fallon, Bryan Cranston, John Lithgow, Willem Dafoe, JJ Abrams, Neil Patrick Harris, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Joel McHale, Jon Hamm, and THE MUPPETS. It would be an absolute dream come true to add you to this list. Please accept this 1934 Smith Corona as a gift for even considering this request. It should only VERY SLIGHTLY affect your decision.

Hugs and high fives,

Chris “Vintage Typewriters” Hardwick

And this was the response:

Dear Chris, Ashley, and all the diabolical genuies at Nerdist Industries.

Just who do you think you are to try to briibe me into an appearance on your
’thing’ with this gift of the most fantastic Cornona Silent typewriter made in 1934?

You are out of your minds if you think… that I… wow, this thing has great action…
and this deep crimson color… Wait! I’m not so shallow as to… and it types nearly

I will have my people contact yours and work out some kind of interview process…

Damn you all to hell,
Tom Hanks

PEOPLE REALLY WIN ON MTV!!! Wait–that’s not what I meant to say. But this is still one of the greatest things I’ve gotten to do and I appreciate the shit out of it. Tom Hanks is a glimmering example of what every person who is fortunate enough to live his/her dreams should aspire to be and will definitely sit atop my pantheon of role models in fashionable yet not-too-revealing Zeus robes. /fanboy

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  • I was so excited to see Tom Hanks on the podcast, not because yeah he’s Tom Hanks, but because I remember in the beginning he was always one of the guests you always dreamed of being on. I love the Nerdist and so happy to see people finally appreciating it.

    Never change,

  • “And from that day on, he was known as Chris ‘Vintage Typewriters’ Hardwick.”

    If I ever meet you in person, I expect you to sign my copy of your book as such.

  • two words after hearing the awesomesauce podcast and then seeing this great followup:

    Goosebumps and Giddiness.

    Chris: Happy Anniversary you crazy son of a bitch!! There’s no question that your decision and will power over booze has played a part in everything you’ve become and the HUGE amount of happiness your podcast brings to we nerdist fans. Well done dude. Well done indeed!

    Peace .n. Hanks for the memories.


  • Chris first congrats on your anniversary … I’m glad all the hard work that came with your decision and your subsequent work ethic is being rewarded by such amazing success.

    Second it was such a great podcast ( please let Mr. Hanks know if you can that I admire that despite all his success and awards he is still an awesome down to earth person. – a characteristic you both share it seems! I mean those letters frickin awesome!) and it was a real delight to hear Mr Hanks and be reminded of his humor is still alive and kicking !!

  • Congrats Chris on 9 years! That’s a big accomplishment and you’ve turned your life into an extra super awesome one. Also, how many people can say they’ve had typewriter correspondence with Tom Hanks? Probably no one else. Nice job!

  • OMG! I’ve been looking for/wanting a portable Smith Corona for years. And knowing that Tom Hanks collects vintage typewriters makes him just so much more awesome. Best episode of the year!

  • Very clever invite.

    Because of his excellent serious work I always forget that Hanks was a comedic actor for the first half of career. Mentally, I remember the Bosom Buddies and Bachelor Party days, but his role in Saving Private Ryan is the emotional memory I have of his acting abilities. Even Gump, while funny, is serious throughout and Hanks handles it all wonderfully.

    And I think he’s able BECAUSE of the comedy background. it makes him human.

    He’s a great guest on other talk shows, so I can’t wait for this one.

  • omg, Tom Hanks was a Deeeee-light on the Earphone Talkies (my attempt at beating a kids wonderfully adorable nickname for podcast) and this just confirms it. :D the world needs more of his kind.

  • This was one of the greatest episodes ever. Jonah and Matt were able to be there and everyone was firing on all cylinders. Even Tom Hanks was firing riffs into the stratosphere. Maybe Tom is just a naturally exciting person, but it was really one of the most high energy and amusing podcasts I’ve ever listened to.

    I am so grateful to have all this free entertainment with all these great people in my ear holes. And let all the nerd peoples sing their praises, ad infinitum.

  • TOM FUCKING HANKS is awesome and YOU ARE AWESOME HARDWICK – without you i would have many hours where i just sat on the car listening to bad radio.

    THANKS for the free podcast :)

  • this was a wonderful podcast and goes up on my favs thus far. congrats on the anniversary and thank you for all the wonderful hours of entertainment you provide us!!!!

  • The closing of his letter was very Stewie Griffin-esque. Thing is, could hear his voice as I read his response.

    Even if it wasn’t necessary, sometimes a little bribery goes a long way….

  • I can’t wait to hear the podcast and want you to know you have brought the medium of podcasting to a whole new level. You are on a trajectory similar to the Beatles in the sixties and you’ve just released your Sgt. Pepper.

    Congrats on the anniversary of your soberhood. I remember seeing you in the early oughts on Talk Soup and thinking “this guy is going to be a force to reckon with”.

    When I first heard the Nerdist podcast (three years ago?) I was in my first semester of College after spending fifteen years in the printing industry. I had no money and the economy was at its nadir. My Dad had died suddenly three weeks into my first semester and I was a mess. All I owned was a laptop and an ipod. I started downloading podcasts because it was the only free entertainment available to me. I would sit in the commons numbed out and listen to the Nerdist. I’m not exaggerating when I say you, Jonah and Matt probably saved my life. I graduated with a pretty good GPA and I’m making good money again. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • I admit I am not a regular Nerdist listener even though I think Hardwick is whip smart funny. Tom Hanks did not disappoint! Holy Sh*t, I did not think guys like this in Hollywood still existed. You can tell he is a super cool nice guy that is REAL!!!! This totally gives me faith that we are not relegated to a Kardashian existence. Love ya Tom, don’t ever change!!!!

  • The Tom Hanks podcast was perhaps the best episode you guys have done yet. It’s very obvious that everyone involved was having a ridiculously good time and it was a great time listening. Kudos, sirs.

  • Amazing, amazing, amazing!!!! What a great podcast! If anyone ever doubted that Tom Hanks was a nice, down to earth person, this podcast will prove them wrong. Have you noticed how many guests say what a great interview the podcast is? I am so happy for you Chris, and everyone at Nerdist industries for the wonderful thing Nerdist has become.

  • Just wanted to say I came here because of the Letters Of Note thing, and I’m absolutely entranced by this podcast. I intend to listen to others now – thank you so much for this!

  • First off, congrats on your anniversary! From some close friends, I know how hard it is to make the choice to be sober and how difficult it is to stay sober. Your commitment and hard-work are paying off in big (and super awesome) ways. *hugs*

    I hope you’re getting Tom’s reply framed so you can proudly display it at Nerdist Industries HQ. And wallet-sized copies made so you can carry one around with you at all times.

  • Tom Hanks is a delight to listen to — he seems like a genuinely engaging, interesting person.

    I was so eager to listen to this that I even managed to overcome my ordinarily formidable loathing for Chris Hardwick and endure his vile presence on the podcast. For me, that’s really saying something.

  • Zou guzs are really fantastic. I loved everz minute of this episode, Tom Hanks is a true gentleman and a scholar, not to mention hilarious! I’m going to go rewatch That Thing Zou Do now!

  • Saw this posted on reddit, so I decided to pop over and check out the podcast. What a great episode. I may have to come check this site out more often. Congratulations on the success, and job well done with the typewriter.

    Speaking of which, I have always wanted to own my own personal typewriter. Not one of those electric-new fangled ones. I mean the original, authentic, mechanical typewriters with the keys that make a clear sound when you type. The 1934 Smith Corona that you sent to Tom is a great example. Do you have any advice/tips on how to acquire one? Obviously there is ebay and amazon, but are there any other avenues I should be exploring? I just want to make sure I cover all possible ways. Thanks and congrats again! I really loved that episode.

  • Beyond words.

    This is absolutely amazing. Creativity, genius, willing and curiosity-powered guest – and an A-list performance by your good self, to boot.

    This is the best story about podcasting I have EVER heard.

    You just set my world on fire. Thank you. And again. x1m.