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Nerdist Podcast: Henry Winkler
Episode 612: Nerdist Podcast
Henry Winkler
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Henry Winkler

Chris and Jonah chat with the wonderful Henry Winkler about his plan to be an actor when he moved to L.A., how he got his first role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and his time playing the Fonz on Happy Days. They also talk about Henry finding out he was dyslexic, and the children’s books he writes, Hank Zipzer, that are made for kids with dyslexia!

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  1. Rowland says:

    I was having a truly lousy day at work, but you guys and Mr. Winkler have totally reversed the course for me!  Thanks for cheering me up! this is probably my favourite Nerdist episode so far.  Henry was hilarious, gracious, thoughtful and candid.  Sharing an experience like the Jagger encounter was something I would never expect, and that ending….that was a wonderful surprise!  You guys just seem to bring out the best in your guests!  Keep up the great work!

  2. Carlos Perez says:


  3. Minda says:

    I grew up obsessed with The Fonz. From what I had seen and heard from others, he seemed like he’d be a super nice guy. OMG! He’s amazing, kind and funny, just like I hoped he’d be. I would have been so sad had he been a total asshole. But what a sweet, charming man (as Jennifer M said). Then at the end, he’s just a zinger! Thoroughly enjoyable.

    Chris, you are one hell of an interviewer. I’m impressed every time.

  4. Nikki says:

    amazing that he started his acting career at age 27! Gives me a little bit of hope for my pipe dream since I’m the same age…but then again, I don’t know if someone would have it so easy starting out at that age now.
    the “please pass the salt” line reminded me of seinfeld’s “these pretzels are making me thirsty” episode

  5. Chad says:

    I have finally done it. I found your podcast around 2 years ago. I have an extremely boring job but at least have the ability to listen to things while being there. So I started with episode one listening to 5-10 a week, and I have listened to all 612! It was a fun journey through a great podcast. All three of you are great, and like most say, Hostfuls are amazing. Now I unfortunately must slow my consumption to a normal rate. Look forward to being time relevant for each future podcast. Thank you to everyone involved in the production! Written fellatio complete.

  6. Matt Carney says:

    I think this was the best Podcast I’ve heard in a long time. Each one is so great, but this felt like it was above the rest. The “interruptions” from dogs and family members made it feel like we saw into Henry Winkler’s day-to-day life. I really like the intimacy we get and learning new things from the Fonz himself. Chris and Jonah did another amazing job connecting. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the Podcasts I’ve missed!

  7. Faolan says:

    What a delightful podcast. Henry Winkler is such a kind and wonderful person. He’s got a great sense of humor and rolled with you guys into skits so nicely. Such a great podcast Chris. Really amazing. Thank you.

  8. Jason says:

    I’ve always adored this man and I want to thank you for such a delightful podcast with one of the greats. He inspired me so much.

  9. GrGunderson says:

    I would like to propose a new podcast: Dear Henry. The premise of the show is that Henry would read listener’s emails, about a problem in their lives.
    He  would then give the most random, inappropriate advice possible, but in his normal/sincere Winkler voice that only he can do.
    For example: Hi Henry, I’ve been having a lot of problems with my pet dog Lola, she keeps having accidents on the carpet. What should I do?
    Henry (in the voice). Hey Justin. Thanks for writing in. Have you had herpes before? Man, because that is just the absolute worst sexually transmitted disease you can get. It really puts things into perspective. Hang in there Justin.

  10. M Rowe says:

    Henry Winkler was such a joy! I agree with Chris that it’s wonderful when the podcast happens in the interviewee’s home – it feels wonderfully relaxed, and there are the odd moments like with Scruffy! (I’m assuming the exclamation point is part of her name) running around. Thank you to Winkler for inviting us into his home.
    And how freaking awesome to have The Fonz wish you a happy birthday Chris. 😀 Continue loving every minute of your life.

  11. George Jefferson says:

    Arthur Fonzarelli called you a pussy!!! Best birthday present ever. I was crying and laughing at the same time. Two divergent but wonderful emotions.

  12. lalabandypants says:

    Henry Winkler is a treasure. A TREASURE. Thank you for this podcast magic, Chris Hardwick! 

  13. Todd Van Horn says:

    This was just the best!  I absolutely loved listening to Henry Winkler, and truly, the ending was PERFECT!!  I listen to the podcasts every day at work, and they help make the time pass wonderfully!  I really wish you could have had the chance to interview Harold Ramis.  That would have been awesome……keep surprising and pleasing us, Chris!!!

  14. Amy says:

    I had to come over to the website to say how much I LOVE this interview!

    • jason says:

      me too.  Geez I grew up watching the flippin’ FOnz, had no idea he was played by such a wonderful human being.  Henry Winkler is cool!!!  AYyyyyyy.

  15. Johnny says:

    Hi Chris, I look forward to seeing you in T3 even more than Arnold. I’ve sort of fallen out of love with Arnold Schwartzenneger, but then I’m like, “Hey, there’s my buddy, Chris Hardwick!” Of course I know we’re not actual buddies but listening to the podcast does bring us listeners into the community. You are doing a great job and thank you.

  16. English Dave says:

    Jonah – “What do you think of the French Franc…?” Well, they haven’t used it for about twelve years, come on, mate.

    Great podcast, what a lovely bloke!

  17. J. Smith says:

    Loved this so much.  

  18. josh says:

    Best. Ending. Ever. If my bucket list was creative enough, I definitely would have that on it — such a charmed life, C.H.!! Also, for the record, I like the intros — even the longer ones. A lot of times it’s a great place to check in and hear more about what’s going on in Nerdistville, the occasional banter with a surprise intro guest is always funny, and the groggy, sleepy, scruffy, in-bed intros feel more real-life to me, which is what I look for in a podcast. Not to leave you tormented, my vote is to keep the intros loose! “Loose is fast, and on the edge of out of control.” -Harry Hogge
    What a great episode!!

  19. Tracy says:

    Holy crap!  That special surprise at the end was amazing! 

  20. Mark says:

    Why are there intros?  They don’t accomplish anything, they sound like they’re recorded in bed, they all say the same thing, that the guest was great, and that Chris thinks we would wish we could hang out with all the people he interviews.  Well we’re not going to, and don’t sit around wishing we could.  We have our own friends, that we know, in person.  If you want constructive criticism, it’s this: If you ditch these intros before they get any creepier, and just open with the music, go straight into the ad or episode, and you’ve got 100% awesome episodes.

    • chris hardwick says:

      Well, I could see maybe shortening the part about who the guest is just to get into the episode (I always get excited about the nice folks who come on) but if we cut the sponsors out then no more podcast. It’s also the place where the guest gets his/her thing plugged so it’s how we’re able to get them in the first place. Look at it this way: it’s 3 minutes of your life. 3 minutes out of 70 to ensure that the show is free 3x a week with good stream of great guests. I’ll take the note of trying to tighten them a bit but the intros will never go away completely. Btw, some of them sadly ARE recorded in bed on my phone because it’s usually the first break in the day that I have to do them. Just know that we’re all trying the best we can to get these shows out and that our goal isn’t to try to steal your time or piss you off. I appreciate that you dig the show, though, so thank you!

      • Johnny says:

        To me you are right to make the intros interesting and engage people rather than make them pure commercials which are easier to skip. I’ll listen to the intro when I’m in the shower or on the subway, when I may not be able to catch every word but it’s okay. Then I reserve the interviews for times when I can give my full attention, such as cooking or trying to get my brain off of worry topics at the end of the night. I’m quite particular about which podcasts I play for whatever mood I am in.

      • M Rowe says:

        Bah, don’t take that single comment to heart. I love the intros and I think they are a great segue into the podcast. It crushes my spirit whenever I hear that a person I adore is something of an asshole, but with these intros, I can hear the joy and energy you and the others got from speaking with that person. More so, it brightens my day to hear someone living an amazing life and appreciating every minute of it.

        Thank you (and the sponsors) for providing these wonderful podcasts for no charge.

      • LJ says:

        Why feed the trolls? It’s a slap in the face to everyone who takes the time to type out a genuine question or a message of gratitude or praise?

      • Dewald says:

        Screw that, I like the intro’s! It is the closest thing to hostfull goodness we are getting… also remember to add the promo code “wtf”. But forreals the intros are fun.

      • Steve rehe says:

        you do anything and everything you have to do to keep this podcast going or I will hunt you down is the only thing that keeps me sane anymore these days I’m married with children don’t have time to nerd out play games video games tabletop anything,i nerd out like vicariously through you an hour a day!

      • Lauren says:

        Hearing your genuine emotional cues and reactions to the guests is honestly my favorite few moments of the whole experience. I remember them. Like how you felt about Jason Schwartzman. And the reason I decided to listen to the full Winkler one is because of what you said in the into. Some of us have to chose which podcasts we will plug into and which ones we will skip and your feeling of connection to the guest or lack thereof is a cue for me as a regular listener. Thanks, Chris.

    • Bianca says:

      You cannot be serious? this is a complaint, WTF is wrong with today’s society. It’s a freaking intro dude, get over it. 

    • dicklimelight says:

      Here’s some constructive criticism for you Mark. Create your own podcast and you can structure it however you want.  This highly professional and successful podcast doesn’t need to change based on your personal taste. Nobody should be thinking, “Let’s  check with mark to make sure the nerdist podcast is good.” 

  21. Lucille Bluth says:

    Barry? He’s very good. 

  22. Maria @LaughtAndLived says:

    What a lovely man and what a marvelous podcast. Thanks for putting a silver lining with this splendid pod on this cold and rainy monday

  23. Doug B says:

    “A Schwinn.” Chris Hardwick, President, Nerds Of Anarchy.

  24. Nick says:

    Henry Winkler is… pretty goshdang excellent.

  25. Jennifer Maloney says:

    Henry Winkler is so sweet, charming, and funny…  What an absolutely adorable man.  As a second grade teacher from northern California, I appreciated what he had to say about children and education.  I have been reflecting all morning on what he said…  By the way, I really enjoyed the show at Cobb’s in S.F. on Friday night.  You spoke with my friend (the 5th grade teacher whose students put double sided tape on the substitute’s chair to make her skirt slip off).  We were both excited to be there and that made our experience so much fun!  Thanks for the great energy you bring to every podcast and your shows!  You are awesome!

  26. David says:

    The Little Rock paper is The Arkansas Democrat Gazette but in the early 70’s it was just the Democrat.