Comedian- Musician - Speaker
Laughing is his life ... Laughing is his business
Dick Hardwick is best known for his comedy, but he is also an excellent speaker and musician. His ability for entertainment and fun makes him a wonderful master of ceremonies for any event. Although many know Dick Hardwick for his comedy, Hardwick is an accomplished musician. He has played the drums since the age of eight and was in his first band when he was nine. As his interest in entertainment grew, he went from playing rock-and-roll at fraternity parties to Dixieland in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
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.
This 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 of shtick".
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.
He 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 MACHINE.
When he was hired to play drums behind Jerry Van Dyke, he learned about the craft of comedy and honed his skills at "The Happiest Place On Earth." His clean and energetic comedic style is the result of hundreds of performances over ten years as the star of Disneyland's "Golden Horseshoe Review" in Anaheim, California. At Disney, he also continued his music. (If you listen to the soundtrack on its Mark Twain Steamboat, you can still hear him playing harmonica and jaw harp!). Dick has appeared in countless comedy clubs and has been the opening act for such performers as Kenny Rogers, Smokey Robinson, and Reba McEntire.
Laughing is his life - Laughing is his business.
"Dick Hardwick has that Red Buttons personality... when he smiles you smile and you're not sure why!" - Corporate Client
"Dick Hardwick is the funniest person I have ever heard. He is an extraordinary comedian." - Johnny Mathis
"When it comes to comedy Dick Hardwick is my soul and inspiration." - Bill Medley
"I love his sense of humor and his ability to make the audience laugh without taking the low road by resorting to X-rated humor." - Reba McEntire
"Dick Hardwick is the best comedian/entertainer out there!" - Barbara & Louise Mandrell
"When you asked me not to worry about our employees laughing, I had no idea we would all be bent over our chairs laughing so hard!"
"He began his show business career as a musician, but somewhere between playing drums for Jerry Van Dyke and washboards for Jon Prine he developed his sense of comedic timing without ever missing a beat." - Bob Eubanks (TV Host)
"Thank you for making our 27th Annual Convention our most successful show in Safari Club history. I have received excellent feedback and many compliments noting that President Bush and General Schwartzkopf were both laughing pretty hard!" - The Safari Club
"You are a very gifted comedian and performer, and I would recommend you to any organization looking to keep the audience laughing. " - Author Anderson
"What impressed us the most, as you emceed our Top Ten event, was how much you genuinely cared about each of the people you introduced. You showed respect and admiration for all the efforts of our winning managers. And, you were funny!" - Kentucky Fried Chicken
"I would highly recommend Dick Hardwick for anyone living and breathing who likes to laugh." - Michigan Assoc. of Fairs & Exhibitions
"Dick Hardwick's performance at our National Sales Meeting surpassed our expectations! It's been 30 minutes since Dick's show ended, and my cheek bones still hurt from the constant smile on my face"... - The Taylor Company
"Our incentive audiences were thoroughly entertained in each venue... I don't believe there is a day that goes by now that the phrase 'There ya' go'... isn't muttered by an attendee who fondly remembers your appearance"... - Mike Ross, Dir of Special Events, UNISYS Corp.
"Anyplace I put Dick Hardwick he is always a success. He is immediately likable, dependable and a tremendous talent. I recommend him to anyone wanting a successful event... he is a special person." - Sonny Anderson, Sonny Anderson Associates, Inc.
"The man is marvelous!" - Conrad Janis Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band
"I have never failed to see Dick Hardwick reduce an audience to Jello, he's great!" - Orson Bean
"We have used Dick Hardwick for everything from a MC for our 13 hour Countryfest concert attended by 250,000 to headlining entertainment for many corporate convention shows. Dick is a great benefit for any company seeking talent with versatility and a performer with the utmost professionalism." - Greg Janese, President Avalon Entertainment Group, Inc.
"A wonderfully creative performer. A man that relates the funny experiences of life in a way that you can relate to. A very gifted musician and comedian." - Mike Davis, Vice-President Entertainment Division, Disneyland
"Dick was a big hit at our June seminar, he's easy to work with and a genuine nice guy." - Reggie Churchwell, President International Entertainment Buyers Assn.
"Hardwick has built up a very profitable career since he got on the corporate track in the mid-80's. The Indiana native's profanity-free humor is a throwback to the days of witty one-liners and rapid-fire shtick, making him a good , noncontroversial hire."- Jon Matsumoto Los Angeles Times
"Quick draw lines!" - Orange County Register
"Impressive!" - The Hollywood Reporter