Hardwick was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of former professional bowler Billy Hardwick and Sharon Hills, a real estate agent in Pasadena, California. He was named after American sportscaster Chris Schenkel and grew up in Tennessee, attending St. Benedict at Auburndale K-12 School, then attended Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado, and then Loyola High School for his senior year.
Hardwick studied philosophy at UCLA, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity during his freshman year. Hardwick was roommates with Wil Wheaton for some time.
Hardwick was a DJ on influential Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM during the mid-1990s. In the fall of 1998, he starred in the UPN comedy Guys Like Us; the show aired 12 episodes before it was cancelled in January 1999.
He appeared in Rob Zombie's horror films House of 1000 Corpses and Halloween 2. He also made a small appearance in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In 2010 he was featured in the film The Mother of Invention. Hardwick was in episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Married... with Children, Boy Meets World and Zoey 101. He was also a guest commentator on VH1's I Love the 90s series which aired in 2005.
Hardwick voiced Alexander Hamilton in "The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd and Otis" in the Barnyard series. He also provided the voice for Green Arrow/Oliver Queen on The Batman and was the voice of Glowface in The X's. Hardwick also did voice work for The Minstrel Show from the rap group Little Brother and narrated the introduction video for the flash game George Plimpton's Video Falconry.
He was in a relationship with Janet Varney from 2004 until 2011.