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Episode 219: Nerdist Podcast
Billy Hardwick
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

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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  1. apsutter says:

    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.

  2. Lee Lee says:

    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 😛

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

  3. 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!

  4. G Ballou says:

    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!!

  5. JakeRaven says:

    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.

  6. J.Smith says:

    That was awesome….so good. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. Chris Hardwick says:

    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.


  8. Ivan says:

    Exceptional episode!!!

  9. Mark Rajca says:

    Really; this is an hope diamond amongst gems.

  10. Eric Cousino says:

    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.

  11. agirlyman says:

    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. =)

  12. Deanna says:

    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

  13. Todd says:

    Loved this, thanks for posting Chris.

  14. Patty Marvel says:

    @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 😉 ].

  15. Lori says:

    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!

  16. Ariel says:

    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!).

  17. Josh says:

    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.

  18. Alain Williams says:

    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.

  19. Pauline says:

    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!

  20. Nich Hustler says:

    This may be my favourite Nerdist podcast ever. Nice one Chris!

  21. Stephanie says:

    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.

  22. Al says:

    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.

  23. Brian Reilly says:


    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!


  24. Garrick C says:

    Wow Chris, what a great podcast! Thanks for putting it up, thanks for giving us a little glimpse into your early life.
    Just thanks

  25. bastien says:

    Great episode. Billy’s sharp as a tack.

  26. Oh, almost forgot.
    @MG *awkward self conscious man hug with two quick back pats*
    There ya go.

  27. Frank says:

    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.

  28. 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.

  29. Nate says:

    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..

  30. Roberto Hernandez says:

    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.

  31. QPRK says:

    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.

  32. Patty Marvel says:

    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!

  33. erik2690 says:

    Thanks for this. Very amazing episode.

  34. Ryan says:

    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

  35. Bryce says:

    That was truly wonderful. Thank you!

  36. Ross says:

    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.

  37. Max says:

    This really made my night. Thank you!

  38. Josh says:

    Wow. This episode was beautiful. I really can’t think of any other word. Other episodes are hilarious, fascinating, entertaining, all that jazz. But this episode? Beautiful.

    Billy Hardwick is a dude who seriously did his effing best to enjoy his burrito, and is seriously enjoying his burrito now. That story of the man who overcame the asshole father and became an awesome father is my dad’s story too. How awesome is it that your success, and your amazing personality, is your dad’s triumph! I agree with everyone: Thanks so much for this. Completely, totally, undeniably, incredibly, amazingly awesome.

    Oh, and as one of the probably many dads listening to the podcast, thanks for the ‘Happy Fathers Days’ y’all! Happy Poppa’s Day to all you other brothers of fatherhood!

  39. sybarite says:

    Hey Big C,
    This episode is amazing. Thanks for sharing this. So many good moments and interesting idiosyncrasies. My favorite is hearing you refer to “my mom” instead of just “mom” even though you’re talking to your dad. I think I sort of get it because of the extended nature of your family. You mentioned coming to Atlanta soon. I hope you use that as an excuse to go see your dad again since you’ll be in the neighborhood, relatively speaking. =)

  40. Jeff G says:

    This is one of your best podcasts yet! I really enjoyed hearing your dad’s stories and how they relate to any type of performing. He’s a very wise man.

  41. Kablanis98 says:

    Hey Chris, (I listen and watch you so often, we are on a first name basis)

    This podcast kept me company on a drive today and really, your dad has an amazing story. The podcast was inspiring and made me really want to call each of the three men I call dad and hang out more with my granddad. Not to mention inspire me to be the best dad I can be to my two rug rats. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  42. Louis O'Raga says:

    I am touched by this.

    It’s making me think about A LOT of things. I am a man with lots of daddy issues.

    Time for a bit of inner soul searching.

  43. manjiscud says:

    The second I stop crying I’m going to call my step dad. What a wonderful gift Hardwick. The best things in life truly are free.

  44. Chris Hardwick says:

    Holy craps you guys!!! I figured people might be mildly interested in a “hey your dad how bout that” kind of way, but the response is super special to me. THANK YOU. This means a lot to me. And it would to my dad, too, if I were able to get him to understand what a podcast is.

  45. Adam A says:

    I’ve been listening since the beginning and I really think this was the best episode so far. Thank you, Chris. I am nerdist

  46. jessica says:

    this was really fantastic.

    thank you.


  47. Crankbunny says:

    So touching and wonderful. I always enjoy all the Nerdist podcasts, but this one is super super special and amazing. Anyone who shits on this podcast officially seriously has no soul.

  48. simply clear says:

    The best nerdist podcast ever. And I’m only at 21 min. Good job !

  49. What an excellent episode!

  50. Scott R. says:

    Your best podcast yet.

    I really identify with your father’s struggle. Bad dad, 18 year-old son died, drank a shitload. It was very cool to hear his perspective. Coincidentally, his positive words are realizations that I have come to on my own over the past year or so, finally.

    They say “what does not kill you makes you stronger”. In that case I should be soaring through the skies fighting crime with a red “S” on my chest.