close menu
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!

What If THOR: RAGNAROK Were Actually Made in the 1980s?

What If THOR: RAGNAROK Were Actually Made in the 1980s?

Final Images from Cassini Are Stunning

Final Images from Cassini Are Stunning

The First TOMB RAIDER Movie Poster and Teaser Trailer Are Here

The First TOMB RAIDER Movie Poster and Teaser Trailer Are Here



  1. Jim Hankemeyr says:

    Chris, That was amazing. I am both a sci-fi geek and a bowler. I actually have watched videos of your dad on youtube several times and think my dad bowled against him in the 60’s (my dad was good but never quite got on tour). That was an awesome episode you guys did.

    Just wanted to say that

  2. C. Cousins says:

    Great show! Gotta love Dad talk.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Chris, Your podcasts have been amazing to me. I have been trying to catch up on them since February going through at least 4 a night at work (overnight retail). I finally got to this one last week and I was floored. I almost started crying in the backroom at my store. I had to fight tears, and that isn’t something that happens often when I am listening to things.
    My father died 16 years ago when I was fourteen (about the time I was watching you on singled out! Haha. 🙂 ) I was just really getting to know my dad as a person at that point in my life and I was very close to him. I wish I could have gotten to know my father the way you have been able to talk to him. I have been hearing stories and talking to relatives about my dad to piece things together, but it will never be the same. I always wonder how my life would have been different and how our relationship would have been had he been around longer. Hold on to your relationship with your dad, Chris. It’s a treasure that can never be replaced. And thank you for sharing that with all of us. Yes it made me sad, but it was a good sad. You always skirt around your past in episodes that don’t talk about your career, which I understand you want to keep some of your life private from your public life which is a very great thing! I think more celebrities need to do that. But sharing something like that really help those of us who are huge fans, love the things you do and are very proud of you and what you have done for the “nerd” community understand more about you.
    Enjoy your burrito and I hope you get to read this.

  4. MisiFaye says:

    Chris, I’m going back and forth playing catch-up on pod-casts . I HOPE you see this. THANK YOU, I cannot believe how seamlessly you and your dad both just kept GOING. You BOTH make it SEEM effortless which it OBVIOUSLY is not (to anyone who knows having issues) over the history of everything. It’s just TRUE. You both have ALSO, built up something incredibly valuable. elementally AWESOME and I MEAN it that way.

  5. Steven says:

    I am a big fan of your father and have watched all the youtube videos of him competing.
    I am trying to get a handle on exactly how he rolled the ball.
    I hear some commentators saying that he was a Full Roller but also that he threw a very straight slow ball and that he played an accuracy game.
    The quality is poor on the youtube videos so I can not see the ball rolling on them.
    – Was your father a Full Roller?
    – How did the spin on his ball look like going down the middle part of the lane? Did it have a 90 degree axis rotation?
    – How would you compare his ball motion to what you see today from the modern game?
    – What board did he usually roll the ball over and where did he usually stand?

    Anything you can provide would be great as I really want to know more about his bowling style.
    Thank you!

  6. sean wickett says:

    one of the best podcasts i’ve ever heard.

    your dad’s relationship to his father helped me with mine. i really appreciate it.

    again, hands down, great conversation. thank you.

  7. Matt says:

    Attention potential listeners:
    Do not be deterred by the fact that this is a longer podcast, as it is not at all boring.
    Billy Hardwick has many interesting stories and insights, and is great speaker just like his son Chris. What struck me the most was how open and honestly Billy talked about his early life, family issues, and so on. Some parts of it hit a little too close to home (e.g., Billy’s father being cold and neglectful towards him, yet friendly to people outside the family), but that’s okay because there is a bigger message: look beyond these “blemishes” and try to find at least one good thing about the people close to you.
    After listening to this episode, I am now really interested in having some in-depth conversations with my parents that I wouldn’t otherwise have considered.
    Thanks, Billy and Chris!

  8. Julie says:

    Chris- Of all of your podcasts, this is my favorite, maybe because of your obvious connection and affection for him. Or maybe because your longtime listeners can see your dad’s story and life choices are reflected back to him in your life and story. Your dad reminds me of my dad in that they are both natural storytellers and have a charisma that draws people in. Thanks Billy and Chris for the great show. Made me call my dad!

  9. Ben says:

    I had an early life very similar to your dad. And am in a place now where I am trying to move past all of it. My fiancee, my best friend, are fraying and finding me tough to be around. Listening to the perspectives of someone who has gone through things like I have and managed to make the effort to pull themselves out was really special for me. Thank you very much Chris.

  10. Kristi says:

    Can’t even begin to express how beautifully touching this podcast was to me. Your dad is an amazing man, and you, Chris Hardwick, are an amazing man. If you had a son, he would grow up to be an amazing man, I can just feel it! Thank you again, and the hug at the end? I cried real tears.

  11. paul hardwick says:

    Wow! Really enjoyed the discussion! Hubert was my dad, Louis’s brother and Billy and I are first cousins. Glad to hear Billy is doing so well and that you both got a chance to share. Please give my best to Billy.

  12. A.Schaal says:

    Great show! You need to bring your dad back to do another show!

  13. Steve says:

    Ah, what a wonderful conversation! To everyone who hasn’t had a really good chat with their dad (or mom – being from Aus, I feel like a traitor writing mom, but I live in the US now…) if this episode doesn’t prompt you, nothing will!

    My dad would have been the same age as yours but passed away 12 years ago. My parents were divorced before I was one – I must have blocked it out, I just don’t remember anything – and I got to see him every so often. We talked but never a lot about his early life. I’m at the age now (43) where I’ve lived a good chunk of life (to all the 86 year old’s out there: ok, ok), and so to hear him reflect on his life and experiences that I could now really understand and relate to would be great. So thanks for the proxy father-son talk!

  14. Julia says:

    Your dad is a sweetheart, I enjoyed this podcast immensely. Thank you for sharing.

  15. D43m0n says:

    This was a fantastic episode. Your dad is a very interesting person and a very good story teller. This is one of my favorites.

  16. Edward says:

    This was one of the best episodes! It was a great Father’s Day treat to hear you and your dad talking about his life and times, as a professional bowler. Obviously, he had a special drive to excel in light of his life and circumstances. I always wondered what he must have been like whenever you mentioned him. He seems like he’s a great guy, who’s lived quite a life!

    I really loved hearing all the places he mentioned as he grew up in the Bay Area, especially in San Mateo. Many of the places he mentioned are still there to this day, such as Bel Mateo Bowl and even the Hillsdale Garden Apartments. I tried to imagine what it must have been like back in those days.

    My dad also bowled, although not to your dad’s level. He wasn’t a pro but he did frequent the same places your dad did back in those days. He was a year older than your dad so I wondered if they ever crossed paths during those days. Who knows.

    Anyway, kudos for a thought provoking, touching interview with your dad. He sounds like a very lucky and happy man these days. Thanks for sharing his story and yours with all of us!

  17. raphael says:

    My all time favorite episode of any podcast ever. New dad here, rocking my 7 month old boy to sleep as I listen. When I hear how oddly parallel your lives are it really made me see the parallels my own dad and I have. your dad is proud of you and he has every right to be. Well done, to both Hardwicks.

  18. Anne says:

    Just listened to this. Really sweet, touching podcast. Billy Hardwick sounds like just a really sweet, loving dad. Thanks for sharing that with everybody. Really touching. My jaw did almost hit the floor at one point, near the end of the podcast, when he mentioned having to go to Rising Sun, Indiana to pick up a car. I grew up there, and it’s tiny (not even a stoplight, even now) and I have yet to run into anyone who’s ever even heard of it. Wow.

  19. Donna D says:

    Wow, this one really knocked me over. My ex-husband and I lost our son, and what Mr. Hardwick says is exactly how I felt. When someone tells you they understand, they don’t. When you meet someone who has lost a child, you do have a sudden bond with them. And trying to have a marriage with all that loss in it is nearly impossible. Thanks, Chris, for sharing your dad with us.

  20. Noah Smith says:

    Just wanted to join the chorus to say what a great episode this is. Thanks, Chris, and Billy for sharing this with us.

    Also, I’m thrilled to learn Chris’s grandfather was named Hubert Hardwick. With that name, you have to be either a hobo or a character in a Joseph Heller novel.

  21. therese says:

    thanks for sharing this with us! i loved it!!

  22. Katie says:

    I think this is your best podcast yet. I really loved listening to you interview your dad. I had no idea you could be quiet for that long. 😉 This was just a really great episode.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  23. Andrew says:

    Thanks for this one, Chris.

    What a special thing to put out for the public to experience.

    I’m seeing my dad (who also lives halfway across the country) in two weeks and this has had a profound affect on my outlook.

    Now I want to hear a bunch of weird old stories from MY sappy-and-recently-religious-yet-persistently-curmudgeonly dad too – – and that could not be said with more sincerity.

    Thank you. : )

  24. Caroline says:

    This was a delight and an amazing episode. Thank you for sharing it with us, and give your dad a hug from all of us. Thank you, Chris. You’re a wonderful and awesome man.

  25. NateW says:

    Everyone’s already said it, but I think it cannot be said enough. This was amazing! Thank you for sharing this, and your clearly loving and amazing dad with all of us. What a gift. It’s no accident that you’re as awesome as you are when you come from such thoughtful and fantastic stock as that. Thanks Chris.

  26. saya says:

    that was one of the best episodes of any podcast i have ever listened to. your father is a gem and it really made me miss my dad! thanks Chris. i’m going to try and finagle a long sit down with my dad, i don’t think we’ve ever talked for longer than 10 minutes! okay tearing up now. thanks again. really amazing.

  27. Mark D says:

    What a great episode Chris, not what I was expecting at all. Your dad sounds really cool. Shit he could have a show on the Nerdist network. Thanks

  28. Kevin says:

    I’m listening to this episode now. What a treasure!

  29. Sam d says:

    This is a beautiful episode, Chris. I’m always freaked out and ineloquent when I’ve said hello after shows (SF and Chicago and next month in SD – yay!) but the podcasts – guests and conversations -have been amazing. But this one with your dad transcends them in all ways good and important.

  30. I’ve been a Nerdist listener for a couple of years now and this is, hands down, my favourite episode (never thought I’d say that about a non-Matt Mira show…).

    It was touching, funny, amazing stories and just kind of neat the obvious rapport that Chris and Billy share. I’d say it inspired me to have a conversation like that with my father, but truth is I have to anyway – he’s getting married again this year and I have to write a best man’s speech…

    Anyway, just chiming in with everyone else – thanks again, Chris & Billy Hardwick!

  31. Shana Dumblond says:

    Wow. Thank you so much for putting this up and allowing your listeners into your personal life for just a little bit. I laughed, I cried, it was great. And it definitely illustrates how important it is to just sit and talk with the older generation while you have the chance. I have been very fortunate to enjoy my grandparents as an adult but as much as I do know about them and about their past, there is so much I don’t know. And this has inspired me to pay my surviving grandparents a visit and hear more of their stories. And I will also have to sit and be scolded for not visiting enough.
    Thank you again, Chris and Billy Hardwick!

  32. Travis Sanders says:

    This podcast was amazing. I recently spent this Fathers’ Day without my Dad. It was the first since he passed and it was great hearing this. Just wanted to say it made my day.

  33. Ben Z says:

    Awesome episode. I’m not quite done yet, but just heard the story about your father’s first time. Hilarious and awesome. I don’t know if I will or could ever have a relationship and discuss topics that came up on this podcast with my parents like you do, but I hope to be able to do that with my kids.

  34. Chuck W. says:

    J-Rod I agree with the All Star Bowling idea.

  35. Aaron Crampton says:

    I am not sure I will add to what is already been said, but this was a fantastic episode. It was so genuine and real. It is always nice to have a reminder to forget any issues you had with your parents and get to know them. Thanks Chris

  36. M.C. says:

    Interesting, illuminating, even inspiring…and hilarious. Thank you for sharing your loving father and his life wisdom with us all, Chris.

  37. Josh says:

    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!

  38. Jess says:

    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.

  39. Lenny says:

    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.

  40. Becca says:

    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.

  41. Jeremy oh says:

    So very powerful. Super funny. Chris you have an amazing dad. I got done listening to your podcast and immediately took my old man to lunch.

  42. mariel says:

    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!

  43. This was by far my favorite podcast! It had some great stories and we really got to dive into Chris’s dads amazing stories and shaningans.

  44. Josh says:

    Really glad this comment thread made it to 100+ comments! Got goosebumps reading some of these. Nerd hugs to all y’all!

  45. Evan says:

    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.

  46. SamKusek says:

    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

  47. JetpackBlues says:

    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. 😀

  48. 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.