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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. Dave says:

    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.

  2. kimberly says:

    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

  3. Liz( Hardwick) Lange says:

    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

  4. Bob Serbe says:

    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

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, Chris :[ My dad died last February and I’m still dealing with it. I’m glad Talking Dead was a great distraction and support for you

  6. Jenna says:

    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.


  7. james says:

    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.

  8. Debbie says:

    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.

  9. Sarah says:

    I’m sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. I’m so sorry. Sending love from nyc.

  10. June Davis says:

    Lenny Nicholson has been a lifelong friend of Billy Hardwick. Len has posted his tribute to Billy on his “Phantom Radio Show” at

    The bowling community is mourning the loss of a good friend.

  11. Ashwini LR says:

    Sorry about your loss Chris…My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. June Davis says:

    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.

  15. Marielle says:

    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.

  16. John says:

    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.

  17. Joe E says:

    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.

  18. Paul says:

    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.

  19. Lani Chin says:

    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.

  20. Chuck Gilbert says:

    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.

  21. Chuck G says:

    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.

  22. Eric Walden says:

    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.

  23. Alex A says:

    This is a great interview…thanks for sharing. So sorry to hear the news about your dad, he sounded like a great guy….condolences to you and your family.

  24. MEL says:

    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.

  25. Stuart Kearns says:


    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.

  26. Don Agent says:

    Chris I am truly sorry about your loss. He will be dearly missed by all and I am proud to be able to have called him friend.

    Don Agent
    Kegel LLC

  27. FUMIE NAGAI says:

    I was very sorry to hear of your loss. May time heal your pain

  28. Mark Zambo says:

    Chris, I was very sorry to hear you announce the passing of Billy.
    I knew Billy from his bowling alley in Memphis.
    He was a good guy.

  29. Brendan says:

    I’m sorry for your family’s loss. Your message on TTD was moving, loving and sweet. I hope that this difficult time for your family passes quickly.

  30. Tracee says:

    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…

  31. John in Ohio says:


    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.


  32. Cindy Stuewe says:

    Chris — I was so shocked to hear about your dad tonight while watching “Talking Dead”. I’m so sorry and just wanted to pass on that I knew your dad when I lived in Memphis in the late 80’s — actually bowled in a league at All Star Lanes and my husband and I considered him a friend. He was a very nice guy, always had a smile on his face! I started watching Walking Dead last year, and then of course, Talking Dead. You often mentioned your dad and first time you did, it was a nice surprise as I live in Cali now and haven’t been back to Memphis since the early 90s. I also watched Breaking Bad and naturally, Talking Bad. You have such a great sense of humor and I hope that humor and the great memories of your dad will help comfort you and your family. Thanks for sharing your dad with us viewers, and bringing back some personal memories for me. I wish I could’ve bowled another game with your dad! He was a true legend!

  33. Jay says:

    Heartfelt condolences to you and your family, Chris. 🙁

  34. Mark says:


    My heart goes out to you. I just wanted to write and let you know others (that don’t know you) are affected by your loss and I want to offer my condolences. I happen to be the same age as you and have a father of age and am dreading that day. So I just wanted to say others care and are feeling your pain.

  35. Sarah V says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss, sending positive thoughts and hugs to you. Thank you Chris for being strong enough to have the show still and for sharing that special last piece tonight with all of us. Thank You Billy for making such an awesome son to share with the rest of us Nerdys. We offer deepest condolences to you and your family.

  36. Kathy says:

    Chris, I am so very sorry for your loss. I commend you for going forward tonight with the show; that must have been very difficult to do. Your loving words of your dad were sweet and touching, it made me cry. Family is special and thanks for giving everyone something to think about as we whiz by in life. We need to remember what is important. God bless

  37. Bryant stanfield says:

    Sorry to hear about your dad may he rest in peace i hope the best for you and the rest of your family
    also the speech at the end was very nice tot me a lesson sorry for your loss

  38. mike offord says:

    Sorry for your loss Chris. You have brought me so much laughter over the years, and I really liked this episode. Best of luck man.

  39. Cheryl Ennis says:

    Healing thoughts sent your way~ (warmest embraces) Remember the warm of his hand…

  40. Greg Sharrow says:


    I am so sorry to hear about you loss. The podcast with you and your dad is my favorite, my teenage son and I have listened to it multiple times. We like bowling , but it was much more than that, It was a human interest story and the relationship between a father and son that was extremely special.

    Our condolences for your loss.

  41. Ness says:

    Chris, I am a fairly new listener to the podcast and have listened to nearly a hundred episodes and heard you mention your father many times. It sounded like you guys had a great relationship. I don’t have a great relationship with my parents and losses like this, I hope to reconnect with them just the way your mom and dad were able to.
    My condolences for your loss.

  42. Ann-Marie says:

    Hey Chris

    I was sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. How you got through that show was truly amazing. I don’t know you you did it. Class & strength I suppose.

    I just wanted to say that I had wanted to interview my Dad for years. He was such an amazing story teller and had lots of stories to tell. I guess I just thought he’d live forever because I never got around to it. When he was in the hospital dying I didn’t have the heart to ask him. I didn’t want to seem morbid. So I missed my chance and I regret it so much. Thankfully on his last coherent day he sat in his hospital bed telling my sons some of his stories – like the summer day he and his cousin got in trouble for running around naked after reading The Last of the Mohicans. Now it is their favourite story to tell.

    What a gift you have given yourself and your family. The thing I miss most is hearing my Dad’s voice (except I recorded his answering machine message and listen to it when I miss him). You will always have this amazing podcast. Thanks for sharing.


  43. Jo says:

    I am a new fan of The Talking Dead and enjoy watching it. I sensed something was wrong while watching The Talking Dead this evening.I cried for you when you made your announcement. I am so sorry for your loss. It doesn’t matter how old you are when you lose your parent, it still hurts. I lost my dad unexpectedly to a heart attack 5 years ago and the loss that your parent is no longer there is overwhelming. I wish I had the bond you and your father had. May you and your family find comfort at this time.

  44. Catherine says:

    Thank you Mr. Hardwick and thank you Chris…