Episode 219

Nerdist Podcast

Billy Hardwick

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Nerdist Podcast: Billy Hardwick

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!! It’s a special episode with Chris’s dad (and Hall of Fame professional bowler), Billy Hardwick! It’s a longer episode, but a great and personal one full of stories about the pro bowlers’ tour, Hardwick family origins, overcoming anxiety, pursuing passions and more!

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  • Chris,

    Felt sick at the announcement of your loss. I’ve listened to the podcast since the beginning–always smiled when you mentioned your Dad and especially during the episode with him. I’m so glad that there seems to have been some mending amongst your family in the last year. It was really nice to hear about your folks getting along during your trip back to Memphis.

    Please feel all the love that people are sending your way during this shitty time.


  • Chris,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I was wondering if you would even be on tonight, but, yes it does help to have distractions sometimes. Losing a parent is extremely hard. I cried when you announced it on the show. So true what you said about family. Hugs to you and your family! My deepest sympathies…

  • Chris,

    Heartfelt condolences to you and your family and all the folks who loved Billy. I really enjoyed the podcast you did with your dad. It was easy to see that he is very proud of you.

  • Chris I was fortunate to have had the pleasure to meet your father at

    his bowling alley. Myself and my family have bowled there for many

    years. It was a sport that made my father and I closer. Your father was

    an extremely nice and one the most personable people I have ever

    met. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family in this

    difficult time.

  • Chris, From the beginning of the show I could sense something was very off. You seemed to not be yourself. At the end of the show you shared your tragedy with us all. I cannot tell you how heartbroken I was to hear of your loss. Know that all my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am so terribly sorry for your loss.

  • Chris, although I never met your Dad I followed his Career from the beginning. He was a great Bowler and Ambassador for the sport. My Prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.

  • Chris, I’m very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family and all of your Dads friends. It’s nice that you had great times together, these memories will help. This I know from when I lost my Mom about 15 years ago. Think about her all the time.

  • I’m very sorry for the loss of your Dad. Listening to the podcast now and love the candor you and your Dad shared. This hits so close to home for numerous reasons: My Dad loved bowling. I bowled a few leagues in school, gave it up and returned to league bowling 5 years ago. One of two leagues I bowl in now is at Bel Mateo, where your Dad got started.

  • I enjoyed this episode so much. My father passed away over 10 years ago. I have a half-hour conversation recorded with him on tape… and it’s one of my most prized possessions.

  • I’m buying a recording device and/or podcast gear just so I can do this with my Dad. Great talk with your Pop, I really enjoyed the interview. Hats off to you for doin’ Talking Dead last night. All the sympathy in the world to you and yours, sir.

  • After seeing your touching tribute to your Dad on Talking Dead this week I decided to listen to this podcast and I’m so glad I did, he was really an amazing man. His outlook on life and wonderful stories were fantastic. After listening to this podcast I feel like I knew him too now. I’m so sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace.

  • Hey Chris-

    I know there’s not really words that can do much for things like this. But you shared so much with us, including this- which is still one of my favorites, and a podcast I’m revisiting in honor of your dad.

    I never got to know my dad- he died when I was a baby. I know the hole someone leaves in your life when they’re gone, and I know that even if you didn’t get a chance to know your parents, you’ll always want to. I’m so glad that you had this time with your dad, and so sorry that you will feel that hole in your life.

    I hope you know, as weird as it may sound from internet strangers- that you’re genuinely cared about. But that’s the thing…this podcast is unique because it really makes us feel like your friends. And friends are there for you when you’re hurting. So…internet hugs. It’s a start.

  • Chris, so sad to hear of your father’s passing. Ben reading comments on CNN & reddit all day on the verge of tears. Being from a bowling industry family, I knew of Billy long before I found your nerdiness so enjoyable. My good friend Lenny Nicholson spoke of Billy often and with great fondness. How wonderful that you have this podcast as a remembrance of him. Warm hugs to you and your family from both the nerd world and the bowling world.

  • Dear Chris, We were so sorry to hear of your loss.

    We were at Barry’s on Saturday when he got the news. He was quite torn up but told us the story of Perry the Pooping Penguin.

    We hope you have lots of sweet, and funny, loving memories to ease your grief and help you through this difficult time.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  • My heart goes out to you and your family, Chris, in this trying times. Please stay strong and accept my love and support. Thank you for your hard works, also in Talking Dead, which always been the cherry on top of big bowl of Walking Dead Sundays.

  • My parents watched your dad bowl when I was growing up. You and I are actually only a couple of months apart in age. Billy was one of my dads all time favorites! My dad also passed away from a heart attack, very unexpectedly at age 65- also in November just before Thanksgiving. I am not saying I understand your pain, because each person grieves in their own way, but I do relate on many levels. I am sending you oceans of love and support. We LOVE your show and watch you faithfully every Sunday. You feel like family to us and we grieve with you.

  • so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing away, just listen to the podcast and man he sounded like a phenomenal guy. so sad to hear about his passing. I lost my mom in April and if it means anything to you especially at the holidays, you get sad about what moments you didn’t have with family you lose but you got to focus on the moments that may have seemed mundane that you did have with them, those are the ones that mean the most at the end.

  • Chris,
    Just watched our DVR rec of Talking Dead and heard your announcement. I wanted to extend my deepest condolences to you and your family, and applaud your work ethic and your great message. My father is dying and this may be the last holiday I’ll get to have with him, so your message hit home rather hard. It was a great reminder to all, unfortunate to have it come at great cost to you.
    I wish you and your family peace this holiday season.


  • This couple of hours of talk between you and your dad was terrific. I watched your dad as a young man when he bowled in jersey. He had a grip different then anybody.He used his pointer finger not his ring which I and many others tried with no success. He did bowl in best years of bowling 50s to 80s.Sad to say but the best is gone never to return. You did make a great finish on the TV when struck out to win a couple years ago. Thanks for sharing your talk with dad with the world. Bob Serbe

  • Hi Christopher,
    I am enjoying your Podcast about your Dad and my Brother.
    I am so happy to hear your interview with your Dad.
    I was there through it all.
    What Billy didn’t see was how much my Dad did love him. He would sit and cry when he watched Billy Bowl.
    He was so proud of Billy but, could not express it in person. We were so proud of Billy, he was the Star in our family. Billy was the President of our Grammer school. ”
    He got straight “A”s in Grammer School. He was the Captain of the traffic Patrol.
    I am so greatful Billy forgave my Dad. My Dad had a horrible childhood. He never had love or affection.
    My Mother’s Mother died when my Mom was 5yrs old. So she was put in different Foster Homes.
    So, Billy , Nancy, Michael and Liz were all raised by our Parent’s to the Best of their Ability.
    My Dad said he wished they had had more children. My Parents really did love us.:)
    Hugs to you Christopher,
    Aunt Liz

  • Chris, after listening to this interview the past 2 days I now understand why when I met your dad for the first time I felt I had known him my whole life…kindred spirits when it comes to bowling :) The scrappiness, the focus, wanting the pureness of a shot and the rewards of that were my own impetus and have now translated into my “second” career. Bowling gave me personality as well. Again so sorry for your loss and sorry I could not have been in Memphis tonight to raise a glass in a party celebrating his life he would never want to leave :) Kim A

  • Chris, I had the pleasure of bowling against your father in a charity tournament in Dayton, Ohio in the late 70’s. He was a class act and left an impression on me that I have never forgotten.


  • Chris: I worked with your dad, first with the PBA during the mid 70s and later with him as a client in my sales region for Ebonite. I got to know him a little during the PBA years, but really grew to appreciate him when I would call on him at the bowling lanes in East Memphis. Great sense of humor and a warm fellow to be around. I will cherish my memories of those few times we ‘socialized’ and he even bought a few products from me! Would have liked him even if he didn’t! Hope that your memories will be many and smile-inducing.

  • Chris, since I first saw you on G4 I’ve been a fan. I’ve also been a huge fan of the Walking Dead, so I was delighted to see you hosting Talking Dead, and I haven’t missed an episode of that OR @midnight. I don’t want to send any sorrow over the loss of your dad, because I’m sure you’ve gotten enough of that, but rather I’d like to send some happiness your way, that you might remember the good times, as no amount of sorrow or happiness will bring Billy back, and given the choice of the two, I’d rather receive the latter. I took a trip from New York to Senioa, GA the weekend before that episode aired, and I got to sit next to Robert Kirkman at a bar. The following weekend aired a great episode of the show, which was followed by your announcement. It was a roller coaster of a week for me, and way more so for you. My point is that even in the face of such adversity, you sat on that couch in front of a few million people and entertained them. Your dad was awesome. I guess it runs in the family. Much love, -Nick

  • Hey Chris, dude I was SO sad when I heard about your father, man… My heart goes out to you and your family big time! I teared up when you took the last few minutes of Talking Dead to share, it takes big balls to do that and I/we are glad and proud that you did!
    I lost my father a few months ago unexpectedly so it hit me hard….
    I love you, I love ALL the work you do and follow whatever you’re involved with… @midnight is the BEST damn show and can’t wait for it to return!
    Take care of yourself, brother <3

  • Hey Chris, I know you’re probably getting this a lot from everywhere on the internet, but I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost my Mom years ago and it’s a big loss to go through to have to say goodbye to a parent. So my heart goes out to you and your family. I always enjoyed watching you on Space. Take care <3

  • Hi Chris. Sorry to hear about your dad. He sounds like he was a cool guy and must have been a great dad. I like the picture of him above about to bowl a strike. He looks a bit like Steve McQueen in that photo. Take it easy dude.


  • First, I wish to offer my condolences. Your announcement at the end of TD, really hit home for me. I too, lost my father very suddenly a little over 20 years ago. I was 28 at the time and felt cast adrift after that.
    Someone told me at the time that you don’t really become a man until your father dies.
    In many ways I have found this to be true.
    Thank you for those heartfelt words at the end if the show. I know, I mean I KNOW, exactly how difficult that was. I have had a strained relationship with someone in my family, and up to that point was going to skip the while thanksgiving ordeal with them.
    Chris, you made me reconsider. I am ever grateful. Peace

  • I’ve been having a cherry picked nerdist marathon for the last couple of days and finished the one with your dad while on the way home from work. I think it’s great that along with the memories that you have of him you also have this wonderful moment in time to come back to whenever you want to hear his voice. When he tells you that he loves you toward the end was truly a touching moment.

  • Just finished listening and I have to say, out of all the podcasts ive listened to, I think this might be my favorite. I lost my dad when I was 19 and, strange as it sounds, listening to you and yours talk reminded me so much of him. I never got to have that kind of sit down, but i know it would have been just like that. Funny, heart warming, and real. Not that your others aren’t, but i hope you know what I mean. Anyways, i was saddened to hear about your loss when it happened, and though it’s still a tender subject im sure, this conversation was an amazing gift. Thank you for everything you do.

  • Chris, I was sad to hear about the passing of your dad and a longtime friend. I remember you when you were 4 or 5 yrs old in Hialeah Lakes in Florida and you got your first bowling ball. When your mom and Billy lived in Louisville we became close friends and then I bowled on your during his best season with 7 wins. My wife and I spoke to Billy in October and were planning on meeting up with him while we were in Florida in January 2014, not knowing he had passed away in November. It was a shock. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Ron Moore’Louisville, KY

  • What a lovely episode! Billy seems like such a sweet guy, and a lot of great advice there too. You can really see how Chris learned from him and shares his positivity and self belief after listening to this – even how they both went through problems with drinking and were able to bounce back. Great to hear the bowling stories too – you can tell how much Chris means to him that he remembered right away that his highest score was 287.

    It’s nice to think that Chris will have this to listen to as he gets older, so much good stuff there and positivity, good lessons, I had to pause it a couple of times to stop myself shedding a tear at work! Probably wouldn’t be appropriate…. Hard not to think about your own life when you hear stuff like this though. Really sorry that your dad passed away Chris, maybe it’s because he figured it out and advanced to Level 2? : ) Seems only fair really. I don’t know you of course, but I think it’s great what you do and it’s nice to think that good people are overcoming tough times and doing well. All the best : )

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