Laughing is his life...
Laughing is his business
He wasn't the local jokester.
He wasn't even the "class clown".
But instead, Dick Hardwick was one of the really
COOL guys- a hip kid and an "A" student
of the arts-who began playing drums for pay with
college bands by the time he was 11 years old.
It seems his father frequently served as a hometown
public speaker... and he also had the only danceband
in town... so every Fri-Sat night Pop Hardwick turned
into a local "star!" "I was only
three years old when I'd sit at the edge of my daddy's
bandstand," Dick Hardwick recalls, "and
I would just be fascinated with the sparkle on their
drums. That's what really initiated my interest
in playing drums at such an early age."
The oldest of five children, he grew up in the
tiny town of Greencastle, Indiana... close to the
campus of DePauw University... and as a youngster
he always imagined wanting to be just like his college
buddies, who didn't seem to have a care in the world.
But that didn't exactly happen. He spent time working
at a grocery store and delivering the local newspaper.
After turning 18 "legal" years old, young
Hardwick soon embarked upon a long-awaited journey
to New Orleans to have his first look at Mardi Gras!
He had taken three of his hometown friends along
on the trip and they all discovered a sound called
Dixieland-- something that was brand-new to their
ears. It was on this trip that they heard the legendary
Pete Fountain for the very first time.
sound was absolutely intoxicating to Hardwick. It
was entertaining! It was so different from what
he had been playing! And it gave him a deep desire
for wanting to "beat his drums"... so
to speak... performing this exciting, new, sassy,
sound. So they returned to Indiana and promptly
landed a job at the local Legion's Club.
This marked the true birth of Hardwick's career
as a comedian, although he was totally unaware of
any milestone at the time-- because to him it was
just "horsing around" in-between songs!
A quick study in many musical instruments gave Hardwick
an obvious edge, but he also had something else,
maybe even more important.
He ENJOYED it.
He LOVED it.
And to this day, Dick Hardwick can cut straight
through to the heart of any crowd... anywhere...
because it still makes him happy to see folks having
a good time.
Following their Legion "gig" the team
known as HARDWICK & HOPKINS returned to New
Orleans. It was on this trip they were introduced
to another type of music known as ragtime which
they immediately added to their repertoire of sounds.
Then they played pubs. And they played pizza parlors.
The next thing Hardwick knew, he was rolling down
the river on the Delta Queen compiling his own "bag
Following that he spent a short time studying at
the Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio, but
after 9 months he returned to the Delta Queen.
moved over to the Robert E. Lee in St. Louis and
formed a ragtime trio. He performed shows everywhere
from Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas, from the Carolinas
to California; and he landed a job playing drums
with Jerry Van Dyke. But it wasn't until Disneyland
hired him that his future as a comedian started
to take shape. It was a 10-year "boot camp"
of sorts for the fledgling funnyman. He learned
how to work an audience... to bond with them...
and he worked show after show. In fact, Hardwick
worked 8 of the 10 years as a comedic star at Disney's
Golden Horseshoe Revue-- eventually finding himself
in the Guinness Book of World Records under the
"longest run" for a live theatrical presentation.
When the Revue finally ended it had been seen by
more than 16-million people.
In turn, the Revue also helped pave the way to
his tremendous popularity in today's Corporate America.
"Disney always attracted a lot of corporate
people," Hardwick explains. "After they
watched my act, and saw firsthand that I didn't
use any 'blue' humor, I would get instant offers
to entertain at their company's functions."
They still book him. They still come back for more.
And the reason is still the same. "Because
I can do my entire routine without using one 4-letter
word," Hardwick insists. It's a huge part of
why this zany comedian is in constant demand for
conventions and meetings.
Hardwick, who makes his home in Hollywood, has taken
his humor to such impressive venues as The Las Vegas
Hilton, Silver Legacy and Caesars Palace to name
a few. And over the years, he has worked hundreds
of dates for many national names such as AT&T
Wireless, State Farm and McDonalds and more. He
has entertained TV audiences on several well-known
shows and he has walked away as a Comedy Champion
on Ed McMahon's "Star Search".
Dick Hardwick has played as a musician on John
Prine's Grammy winning album "The Missing Years".
He appeared as an actor in Jackie Gleason's final
film "Nothing In Common", co-starring
Tom Hanks. He's done radio and television commercials.
And he's been featured with major acts like Johnny
Mathis, Gladys Knight, Ray Charles and so many more.
Back in the beginning, it was Hardwick's dad who
first taught him to play those "sparkling"
drums, but since that time he has expanded his musical
expertise to also include string bass, guitar, harmonica,
jaw harp, bones, washboards, and calliope. However,
the instrument he has truly mastered is the LAUGHING
Laughing is his life.
Laughing is his business.