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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  • Knowing intimately the cringe factor involved in your posting this conversation, I want to say bravo, and thank you. By default, I had some of these kinds of talks with my late father the first few years after my parents’ divorce(when I was just getting into my teens), and I’ve always wished I could have revisited this stuff with him as an adult. Sadly, it just never happened. So thanks for letting us get to know such an interesting(and entertaining) man along with you. Our fathers’ early stories/family dynamic are very similar, so–personal style of talking and the specifics of biography aside–it was like having another chance to listen to my Dad(who’s been gone a couple of years now, and who I still miss terribly). Again, thanks, Chris.

  • This was a great episode.

    I think its awesome you got to have a real conversation with your dad like this, I wish I got to talk to my dad on this level before he passed but since im only 18 I never got the chance to talk to him as an adult and since this is going to be my first Fathers Day without him I’ve been thinking about him alot so this episode was really nice to listen to so Thank You Nerdist

  • WOW! Hearing Mr. Hardwick say “She had big titties” make me laugh! That’s a great line coming out of anyone’s mouth, but especially from a 70-year-old man.

    @Chris – props to you for posting something so personal and so wonderful . Many thanks to you and your dad for sharing.

    Speaking of sharing, a social historian REALLY needs to interview both Hardwicks for a book. I was amazed to hear how a man could go from living in the projects to becoming a success in his professional field to watching his son do the same and then some. If that doesn’t scream “American Dream,” I don’t know what does. And I loved hearing stories about life on the road and meeting Colonel Sanders…shoot, someone from The History Channel should interview Mr. Hardwick ASAP!

  • thank you so much for posting this.
    I wish I could say something to make this comment meaningful, because this podcast was huge for me, but I can’t come up with anything.
    so just understand, hardwick family, thank you so much for this podcast.. Especially the parts about fatherly support–it made me more thankful that my dad is supporting me in my plans to be an artist.
    and thank you so much, Mr. Hardwick, for letting your son follow his dreams. He’s really made something wonderful here on the internet.
    I am nerdist, and I will enjoy my burrito.

  • Great episode. Honestly if your dad had a podcast id sit there and listen to all his stories. One of the first things i do when i get back from this deployment is hanging out with my dad.

  • Chris,
    I haven’t had such a personal reaction to this episode as other people, although it has kind of made me wish I could talk to my dad in the same manner. Despite that, I did LOVE the episode and could honestly listen to your dad on a regular basis if he had his own show. Or you could make him a semi-regular guest?! I loved listening to him, he just has a natural ability to draw you in and he had my full attention the entire two hours. It’d be great to have him on as a guest again. Thanks for a great episode, now I’m off to gather my friends to go bowling..

  • My absolute favorite moment of this episode was Billy talking about how he was 5’2” and 99 pounds in school and was always picked last in sports and Chris jumps in with a soberly delivered, “I’m familiar with the dynamic.” That, to me, was such a subtle and poignant moment that illustrated the striking similarities and differences between fathers and sons. It reminded me of the time when I was 17 and I was scared to death of becoming my father, and then it reminded me of the time when I was 25 and I came to the conclusion that my father is, and always has been, a pretty damn good guy and that if I had to become something I could do a lot worse than my father.

  • Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I miss my father so much, especially this time of year, and it makes me feel good to hear someone else connect with his father this way. I was lucky that my dad and I got to share all these things before he passed and understand that we loved each other. What a lucky thing it is to have that.

  • Chris,

    This is absolutely fantastic. This might be my favorite episode of the show. There is something terribly moving about the idea of capturing the stories and personality of a loved one. My mother had my grandma write her stories down. Now, with my parents both being 71 I’ve considered doing the same, but doing so via audio would lend to a more complete experience.

    Well done on the episode!


  • What is in this guy’s diet? He speaks more quickly than most 20 year olds and casually recalls specific dates, names, and locations from decades past.

  • Oh my, I haven’t gotten to listen to the whole podcast yet but I know I’m going to cry during this. It took a long time after moving away before I discovered my parents were actual people and I made the effort to find out who they are. And I wish I could record the conversations I have with them like you were able to record this one. I lived in Tennessee for awhile and listening to this makes me wish I’d have met your Pop before I left the state…. it’s crazy how we end up where we do. *hugs* Happy Fathers Day, Chris, I know how weird and wonderful this must have been.

  • I listened to this Father’s Day morning while preparing a lunch & pie to take to my 80 year old Dad. I can’t wait to see him to and really have a good talk. Even though I only live 5 miles from him, much of our interaction just routine, day to day stuff. Thanks to Both of you for a wonderful reminder to make sure to spend quality time together. +10 of awesomeness to the Hardwicks!

  • Amazing Podcast! Best one, hands down, Mr Hardwick(s).
    It tugged on the heart strings and inspired the shit out of me. I need to interview my dad now. Thank you for this.

  • Wow. That was the best one on one Nerdist podcast I have ever listened to and I have listed to every Nerdist podcast! Your father is a natural entertainer, incredibly humble and OMG is he quick witted! I guess you got a few things from the old man. It truly struck a chord with me and obviously quite a few others. Thank you so much for sharing this super personal stuff. I applaud the courage it took to put something like this out in the world for everyone to hear and talk about. I have to say it was truly inspiring and it is going to to change the whole way I approach this fathers day with my dad.

  • Thank you, Chris.

    Your relationship with your father is sweet, and this podcast really helped me frame my perspective of family and duty.

    Thanks a bunch, Nerd Oprah (that’s you!).

  • I always enjoy your podcasts, but this one was exceptional! Your dad must be a very strong person to overcome his upbringing and become the kind of father that elicits such love and respect from his son. And now, I’m off to hug my dad!

  • @Chris – Considering the 80+ positive responses to this podcast, maybe you should download these comment pages and snail-mail them to your dad. He should see all the kind words here AND he’ll get a sense of his son’s fan base [and how truly awesome most of us are ;) ].

  • Chris, What a fantastic podcast. Your dad seems like a good guy, who loves you very much. I lost my father 3 years ago, I wish I had sat down with him like this. Thank you, it was amazing

  • Oh man I have a feeling that his podcast is going to be fantastic! Father vs Son, “He is your Father, and the baby Daddy!!” Oh, and i’m going to listen to it later tonight on of all days “Father’s Day”. I just had a thought, your next Bowling show, you should have your father bowl against you on the other team!

    Unless of course your Father is scared to bowl against you. =)

  • Thank you for sharing this with us. It was a very touching conversation with your Dad. Oddly, I identified with both you and your father. When your Dad was talking about his Dad I related because I had a similar relationship with my stepfather. Also you both demonstrated many of the same traits during the talk. One in particular you both are very considerate of what you say about and to others. Your Dad was very specific on what he had said about his father and others in his life about not passing judgement etc. You also demonstrate this consideration to the people you interview. This shows a kindness in both of you. This, in world where kindness is sorely undervalued. This is something I too strive for. (Yes I know I ended that last sentence with a preposition. ;) Thank You.

  • There was a bonus in all of this that I never could have possibly imagined…my stepmother (who is the emailable one of the two) pulled up this page and my dad read every single comment as of last night. He called just to tell me that seeing all of this was the best Father’s Day present EVER. So thank you on his behalf! And thank you on mine, because this was much better than any material thing I could have given him. He also told me that when we were talking, he had completely forgotten that the mics were on and he really was just having a conversation with me. It reminded me that I need to do this with both my parents more often even when there are NOT mics around. They can give us so much more than just their genes, people!

    I can’t thank you all enough. If I stopped doing the podcast tomorrow it all would have been worth it to me just to get to this episode.


  • Look at all the comments!!!I know Chris avoids this feedback to miss the trolls (as he should), but could someone please make sure he knows how much this has affected his listeners. He seems uncomfortable with personal stuff, so his courage in putting this up is appreciated. Bravo.

  • I loved this episode! Almost made me cry whilst listening to it at work. It was extremely touching to hear the intimacy between Chris and his Dad. Makes me wish I’d done this sort of interview thing with members of my family! In fact, I think I will, the next time I get the chance!!

  • This podcast reminded me of an episode of How I Met Your Mother. And just like HIMYM, we still do not know how Chris’ parents met! I do love HIMYM very much so this is my awkward way of saying that I really like this episode.

    The fact that it turned out to be a fantastic Father’s day gift was icing on the cake so to speak.

    Happy Monday everyone!

  • I seriously loved this one. Like many have already said, this has probably been my favourite Nerdist podcast so far. I loved hearing your dad’s stories and his wisdom and about his incredible strength in overcoming his losses in life. But more importantly, I loved hearing the interaction between you and your dad.

    As someone who lost her father at a very young age, I always take a huge interest in hearing and seeing positive ‘dad’ stories. Possibly because I never got to experience it and so like to live slightly vicariously through the good fortunes of others, and possibly as a kind of ‘huh…so that’s how it’s supposed to be’ type thing.

    You are a lucky man Chris Hardwick, to have such a supportive and amazing dad, and your dad is a lucky man to have a son like you too.

    I just want to hug you both. But then I’m pregnant and highly emotional, so it could just be the hormones making me all creepy :P

    Anyway…long story short….freaking loved this one. Keep up the awesome work.

  • Awesome podcast! Chris, your dad was a hottie!! I always wished that you’d do one about your when I learned that he was a pro bowler and how good you are at bowling. Dad stories are the best stories.

  • Since I’ve started listening, there have been many, many episodes of this program which make me laugh out loud so hard that the cubiclemates at my day job look over at me. Not this one. I wish I could have heard it before Sunday…I would have stayed on the phone far longer with my Dad. He and my Mom poured everything they had into me, and listening to this made me realize I probably know 5% of their life stories…and now I need to find out more. NEED TO. You’ve done an amazing thing for the Nerdist community, Chris. Thank you so much.

  • Wow, that was pretty cool! You guys really went far down the rabbit hole on a few topics. Learning stuff as an adult, that you weren’t really in the loop on as a kid (or emotionally equipped to handle), can kinda leave you a little stunned.

    All the bowling talk dug up old memories of hanging out at the bowling center, with my Dad, where my grandmother lived. He’d take me there to get my spastic ass out of her house and distract me with the sites and sounds of the lanes. As well as getting away from his mother-in-law for a bit to kick back with a smoke and a beer.

    Then have it all ruined when I pitched an unholy fit when didn’t want to leave the lanes.

    I guess that’s why I like ASCB so much.

    And now you’ve set a precedent — next year you have to interview your Mom for Mother’s Day. :-D

  • I’ve been listening to the Nerdist for a few years now but this is one of the best episodes yet. The connection Chris has with his dad is incredibly sweet and realistic and Billy’s stories and insights on life are so eloquently presented and thoughtful. As Chris says at the beginning, we often forget our parents are just two people and there is so much more to them than we realize or care to ask about.

    I really enjoy the Nerdist for the the comedy and camaraderie between Matt, Jonah, Chris and the rest of the comedy community but I am not always interested in the acting and/or comedy backgrounds or advice. Not saying that they should forego that aspect of the show; just saying personally, that is not why I listen and enjoy the show. Its episodes like this and like the hostfuls that really bring a personal and invigorating nature to the show that are just so fulfilling to hear.

    This episode really transcends what the Nerdist has put out until now and is so touching and powerful that is something I intend to keep in my ipod and revisit for a long time coming.

    Thanks so much, Chris and be sure to send my thanks to your Dad.

    ~ Sam

  • Thank you Chris. This was the funniest podcast yet. This make me take the time and sit down with my dad for more than small talk. I heard some great stories that I had no clue about.

  • This was a fantastic episode.
    It was really sweet to hear a father loving his son even if they weren’t together every day, and things didn’t go to plan.

    I am very grateful that i’ve had these talks with my dad all my life, and i know alot about how they lived in a pretty crappy political time. Though i have no degree and a fancy job which makes lots of money, they are proud of me for following what i’m passionate about (travel), and i have inspired them to travel around and see the world.

    What a sweet wonderful guy. I hope Billy sees these comments. Now people who aren’t above 60 know who he is!

  • So I realize that everyone has said this already and far more eloquently than I ever could, but I still had to chime in and say this is indeed the best episode yet, incredibly powerful and touching. Thank you Chris for sharing your father with us.

  • GREAT SHOW !!!! I’m “the” Lenny that they referred to a couple of times. We have been best of friends for 56-years. Billy’s life story should be a movie… would make you laugh, cry, be proud and every other emotion that you have. What a bowler !!! What a friend !!!
    Thanks Chris.

  • Mr Hardwick – I absolutely loved this episode. Especially, at the end when your dad takes you to task for not telling him what is going on in your life. It was funny to hear him kinda talk to you like you are in trouble.

    I had a college assigment to interview one of my grandparents and this was just months after my grandpa (who I was very close to passed away). So I talked to my grandmother, who kinda lived in his shadow most of my life, and what was supposed to be an hour interview turned into 2 four hour interviews. I learned so much about her that shocked the hell out of me. She inspires me to this day and that was over 10 years ago.

    This episode touched me much in the same way as my own talks with grandma. So glad you have a relationship with your dad where you can sit down and talk to him like this. I agree with many commenters, best episode yet.

  • LENNY! Holy shit, Lenny chimed in!!!

    @Lenny I could use a bodyguard, you interested? Those stories about you and Billy Hardwick are amazing! I would definitely watch a movie about your lives together. Which actor do you think would play your role?

    It’s Lenny, everyone! So cool!