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Chubby Emo Chris Hardwick of 2003 Says, “You Can Do It!”

Ah, 2003! How I don’t miss you. I had JUST quit drinking, dyed my hair to establish a departure from my previous identity and was hard at work losing the “20 beers a day and 4am pizza rolls” weight, which amounted to 40lbs that I am thankfully no longer forced to transport around this planet. Fortunately, I cleverly preserved this rock-bottom-proximity snapshot on VH1’s popular I Love the 80s program, on which they reminded people about things that existed in the past. I did several of these shows for no money, so you know things were going well. What you can’t see out of the frame is the globby bag of mayonnaise that was my gut hanging over large, baggy jeans. GOOD. TIMES.

I am grateful for this picture! It reminds how far I’ve come and how you can turn your life around for the better. Honestly. I was at a total dead-end with little hope of resurrecting a decent life. I humbly place my lowpoint at your feet and tell you that if you’re thinking about making improvements in your life, TODAY IS THE DAY TO START. Quitting drinking, starting exercising, eating better, pursuing your passion, hugging more puppies–whatever it is. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Over-thinking the “hows” and “why comes” will put you in a neverending loop of inactivity. You have the power and ability to change the future with a simple “pro-you” decision.

Today is the day you stop beating yourself up and start making those incremental changes that will drastically affect the outcome of your life in wonderful ways you can’t yet imagine!

Happy Sunday! I <3 U!

top pic via @Ness90

Images: VH-1, Chris Hardwick

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  1. ThunderBeard says:

    I am pretty sure I missed your entire “chubby” way of life, I first came across you when I used to watch WebSoup and AttackOfTheShow. Two shows that I loved dearly growing up. You have the Nerdist now and I wish I could just, sit in the room for a day during a podcast with your guest and friends, It would probably be amazing. But! My life is all but exciting, seeing as I am a CAD technician in Pittsburgh, work is my life and listening to your podcasts while I work makes it go by a lot faster, so thank you sir.


  2. Ryan says:

    Fat chris from 2003 looks like Rutger Hauer.

  3. damiansix says:

    OMG u fat bastard..

    Seriously, you look great!

    I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your dad.

    SOunds like he was a great guy.

    I’m glad you were able to spend his last days together..

  4. Kathryn says:

    SO psyched I stayed in the room while my husband watched the God awful Terminator 3. The sheer joy I feel knowing I recognized Chris mainly from his voice inspired me throw my fist in the air and scream “I am F#@^ing AMAZING!!!!” Chris always brings me such pleasure. Thanks Chris.

  5. Danny says:

    Hey, thanks man…I quit sucking down a fifth of Crown Royal damn near daily on 1-29-10 and from time to time I wouldnt mind a sip but such tales as yours help those waning moments.

  6. Sam says:

    Thanks Chris, I am currently working my way through The Nerdist Way and making many positive changed to my life, The anxiety section especially helped me. I was actually in the middle of an anxiety episode when I was reading it for the first time so yeah it was just what I needed.

    I am going to try my hardest to stick to this new routine and live a very nerdist life, I think you are a great guy and yeah.. just thanks.

  7. RandyNYC says:

    Was just flicking through and I saw you in terminator 3 on tv…I said no way that looks like the guy from mtv…and then I thought about talking dead and said wow he really lost some weight….I to have clean up my act….I weigh 175 and need to get back to 150 I just want to say thanks for posting on here you definitly have given me some motivation to get going here….I too strugle to find work in this economy and money is tight…but my well being and health is what will bring back. Thanks for the kick in the ass!!

  8. Spencer says:

    I remember seeing you in T3 and thinking you looked a little unhealthy. Glad to hear the changes you have made in your life. I also have made some similar changes in my life (quit drinking over 11 months ago, have lost 30 lbs) but need to work on the “pro-you” part of your plan. I intend to pick up your book and hope it gives me a few tips. Thanks for sharing your story ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Jimmy Olsen says:

    Fat? That’s positively svelte by modern American standards. Not in Hollywood, I suppose.

  10. Lisa says:

    I love this post, Chris!

    I’m the same way – I’ve got a picture from 40lbs ago, when I was dating a douchebag, drinking/eating too much and not doing much of anything but playing MMOs.
    NOT to say MMOs are bad! I’m looking forward to a few. Just… moderation, kids.

    And yeah, if the big stuff looks like too much to take on, figure out a little right action to do every day and stuff will get better.

  11. alice osiecki says:

    Hey, caught you on Married with Children and took a while to put the voice with the guy on the stage. Good for you Chris. I’m going to take off the sign that says, Do you want to be fat Elvis or skinny Elvis?, and put this up instead. Thanks.

  12. Kelly says:

    Thanks, Chris. I feel myself changing for the better also. Glad to see it in action. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Kevin M. says:


    I love listening to the Nerdist Podcast. Your podcasts make my hour-long commute to and from work a lot easier. My current position as a low-level corporate drone is just the latest in a long line of frustrating and unfulfilling jobs, so I can sympathize a lot with Matt’s job situation.

    Not only do I love how much you guys make me laugh after a stressful day, the positive message you have about life and our ability to make changes is a reaffirming, amazing thing for me. I don’t know if you read these comments, but I just wanted to say thanks to you, Matt, and Jonah.

    Recently, I’ve started to take little steps to change my life. After pretty much abandoning songwriting after a rotten band breakup several years ago, I’ve started working on some demos. I’m also doing an internship so I can get experience as a chef, something I’ve dreamed about for years. My super awesome and supportive wife, and the positive message you put out are helping me get started on a path which I hope will lead me to a better life and more enjoyable burritos.

  14. Nick says:

    I too was a huge bag of man in 2003, but am now 70lbs lighter thanks [in no part] to the Chris Hardwick Plan!

  15. Tasha Lee says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Chris. I’ve lost 50 pounds and am on a journey to lose a lot more, so it’s nice to see a celebrity with a positive, affirming message. You need to come to Kentucky!

  16. Catita says:

    Hmm…am I alone in thinking that the Emo screenshot is a bit Potter-ish in the face? ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. tyler john says:

    Much Love! Thanks for continuing to tell us this inspired message. If others are like me, they need multiple reminders and a few kicks in the ass to get up and on with this thing called life. Saw you at SF Punchline in march, had a total blast. You looked like a rock star up there, seriously.

  18. waxlion says:

    Considering how first I discovered Nerdist and then had to backtrack to faint memories of Singled Out, I missed that phase ever happened. (I’ve seen House of a Thousand Corpses screencaps/tattoos but given the context I couldn’t extrapolate since it kinda looked like Simon Pegg in a torture device.) The shirt aside though, the black-hair-period headshot doesn’t look too bad at all!

    That said, the latter one is still a very impressive/inspiring transition from a skinny Chris Farley. I’m likewise considering lifestyle changes for mostly shallow purposes but it seems encouraging that they can go so far as incremental steps towards life in general.

  19. n18pr says:

    Is it wrong that I look exactly like that picture of Chris in 2003, and I’m loving it?
    Am I seriously the only one who enjoys being chubby?!?!
    Just Think of the Bear Hugs!!!!!!!

  20. Lady R says:

    Hey there, Chris. I’m just a wee nerdling of 23, so I unfortunately missed out on your MTV days, but after laughing myself silly at Web Soup, the Nerdist podcast and your countless appearances on AOTS, let me just join the choir congratulating you on turning your life around and doing what you needed to do to be the best you ever.

    It’s kind of creepy that I would come to the Nerdist site today and see this post, especially since I recently decided to make some changes in my life as well. After countless years of trying (but mostly failing, and feeling like a defective sack of lameness) to learn how to drive, I finally figured out that it was directly tied to a learning disability that I’ve had my whole life. Now that I know this, I’m scouring the Internets for tips on how to get testing accommodations and study help in my city, so that one day soon, I won’t have to stand on a train platform or at a bus stop and freeze/roast to death because no one could give me a ride or I couldn’t afford a cab. With my license, I’ll literally be able to go farther than I ever thought possible, and a lot more doors will open up for me.

    So thanks for sharing this post, Chris. Thanks for being a hilarious, inspirational guy, and for cranking out the nerdy awesomeness on the regular. Keep up the great work ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Zachk Donovan says:

    You do not know how happy this makes me. Not that you were fat, of coarse, but this is just so inspirational. Kudos Chris Hardwick. Kudos.

  22. dharju says:

    Well done sir. Have you ever investigated Kaizen? It’s a japanese management philosophy, but it applies to everyday life. At it’s core, the idea is that all things can be improved on one level or another (even a microscopic one) every single day and when we ignore the opportunity to improve even a tiny bit we fail. The orange instead of the twinkie, the gym instead of the couch, the mythbusters instead of the Kardashians. Every decision is important.

  23. Roy Campos says:

    Very inspiring, and I must say i expect nothing less from your book! (which ive already Pre-Orderd) I applaud you good sir and I only wish continued success with your career and work!

  24. Ken C says:

    I was the guy who asked you to sign those “fat Chris Hardwick” postcards in Chicopee. I am on a quest to have fewer cells also. So. Many. Cells.
    You are the inverse Elvis of win. Way to go.

  25. Double R says:

    I’m glad you lost the weight, and quit drinking so much.

    Dumb Questions:
    After seeing that old photo from the ‘I love theโ€ฆ’ series, I have to wonder: did they make any jokes about you concerning your shape during and after Singled Out?

    Who do you think would go further as a contestant: you in ’03 or ’11? or would htey both be doing that ‘shame stroll’?

    Dark Question:

    Comedy is a rough business, and when you consider the fates of Hedberg and Giraldo, I must ask: how strongly do you believe you would have suffered the same fate if you continued drinking?

  26. Jen K says:

    This is why I love ya. Thanks.

  27. Sean Storrs says:

    Thank you. This gave me the nudge I needed to roll the dice on a long shot and reminded me that a slim chance is better than no chance at all.

  28. Nick Tomlin says:

    You bastard for putting this post up before easter. Ahh the dichotomy of delicious easter eggs versus the virtue of better eating!

  29. smartbunny says:

    “Disgusting.” What, did yo momma say that when you popped out?

  30. Liz C. says:

    As always, Chris…thank you. <3

  31. Craig says:

    This was posted on the day that I drove three hours to write a final exam for the first year of a program I don’t really care about. Coincidence? Of course. But still.
    “When this semester is over,” I told myself, “I’m going to get down to business. I’m going to work on the website and start losing weight so I can run in that 10k in a year…
    “If I can get paid to do something I love rather than for doing something I can only ‘handle’, then I’ll consider myself a success.”
    I’m doing this for me, but also for my kids and for my wife. I want to be the kind of dad and husband they can be proud of.
    Even if I fail, I’ll know that I tried and did the best damn job I could.
    Thanks for the encouragement Chris. Today is the day I TRULY start to enjoy my burrito.


  32. Kevin Bacon is helping me make my life better. And now Chris Hardwick, too. Thanks for this post.

  33. Luanne says:

    Holy shit- great transformation… 2003 looks like a fat(ter) Simon Lebon. And please, for the love of God, don’t EVER go blond again! ecccchhhh

  34. Quazo says:

    Chris, your post has inspired me to make this:

    Chris did it, I did it, and so can you!

  35. branden says:

    2011 – cut; lookin sharp! i need your diet plan.

  36. Josh from Europe says:

    Chris is right. I have to change some essential things too.

    I have some hard days in front of me. Now I have the joice,
    do i take the “Path of the Jedi” or “the path of a Sith” to get through these week . I have to tell you, that one path is very easy to walk, but the results will not be as good.
    I think, that I need more positive thinking and self motivation.

  37. JulWright says:

    Thanks for sharing your energy & enthusiasm, Chris. You are terrific!

  38. my-name-here says:

    That settles it… I’m getting a puppy to hug!

  39. Wesley Marshall says:

    @smartbunny Ok Computer, definitely an album to live by great track with a great choice of words.

  40. Kevin W. says:

    Holy crap, dude. Had no idea until I listened to the podcast today (and I’m a relatively new listener). Impressed. Did the same thing myself with the weight loss not too long ago. Lost about 70 lbs, look like a different person. Gained a bit back by the tail end of last year (stupid delicious holidays), but got back on the wagon and have since dropped 20+ lbs since X-Mas.

    Still drink, but not nearly as much as I used to (maybe a couple beers a week, tops). Still eat crappy food from time to time, but always in moderation.

    Now I just need to find my way out of my mind-numbingly blech tech job into a more respected tech job.

  41. Brian E. says:

    Awesome post Chris. Thanks for sharing this.

  42. sewdotcoe says:

    It’s never too late to start something awesome! I stopped drinking almost a year ago, and I started learning how to play roller derby.


  43. (I sort of hate to say it, but you sort of look like one of the Doctors in the 2003 pic of you in that last graphic. Just saying.)

  44. Tera says:

    Thanks for sharing, Chris. I’ve been on a self-improvement kick in 2011 and I credit your podcast for keeping me going. I joined an improv group and I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, including trying many of Tim Ferriss’s tips. I feel like I’m losing weight and venturing into comedy with Matt. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  45. smartbunny says:

    Fitter… Happier… More productive… Comfortable
    Not drinking too much!
    Regular exercise at the gym three days a week!
    Gettin’ on better… with your associate employee contemporaries!

    (New York Yankees 27, Baltimore Orioles, 61)

  46. SlaveToTheGrinds says:

    Wow. That’s amazing Chris, thanks for getting your shit together to become one of my favorite podcasters. I need some of that motivation mojo you have going sir.

  47. Jademarisa says:

    So happy to hear of stories like yours…makes me see a ray of hope for myself. A year ago I was at my lowest point, not exactly 20 beers a day but almost, not to speak about junk food and bad habits. This month the 26th it’s been a year since I said enough and quit everything: drinking, eating junk food and not caring for myself. Seems that I got it: I lost almost 50 pounds and starting looking like myself again. Unfortunately, the economic crisis didn’t help me and I’m still struggling with unemployment and lack of money, but not with myself anymore.
    By the way, Chris, I want to thank you for a tweet you sent me when I was only 6 months of abstinence, that cheered me up at that moment, it inspired and motivated me.
    Love your site. You and your mates are awesome!