Today I had one of those abrupt realizations: This world needs more John Hodgmans ("Hodgmen"). Until cloning technology is sufficiently advanced, we will have to settle for Hodgman impersonators.
There is some precedent for Hodgman impersonation. There was this guy:
He was supposed to resemble the PC character Hodgman plays in the Apple ads. But he's a little stern and a bit of a downer (perhaps because that is what was required of him for the commercial), so I'm not even going to link to the actual Microsoft commercial. Instead I'm going to move on and list some individuals for whom impersonators are available:
Trinity from "The Matrix"
like every single Harry Potter character
and Mark Twain
And that's great. But if you are going to pay someone hundreds of dollars to pretend to be someone else, you really would prefer to get an actual Hodgman. Hodgmen should be available to entertain at your child's birthday party or to referee at your hipster croquet outing.
If you know where I can find a Hodgman impersonator, or if you ARE a Hodgman impersonator drop me a line. Soon.
UPDATE: I found a New York Times article about Microsoft's reponse ads to the Apple ads, and in particular, information about the guy who was cast to play the Microsoft version of the PC character, based on his resemblance to Hodgman.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Even the biggest John Hodgman fans may not realize how many times he has appeared on public radio's This American Life. Here are all of the episodes that contain Hodgman segments (if an episode can really be said to "contain" Hodgman).
- This American Life Episode 178: Superpowers
Act 1: Invisible Man Vs. Hawkman.
Hodgman's first appearance on This American Life was the famous piece now known as "Flight vs. Invisibility":
"John Hodgman conducts an informal survey in which he asks the age-old question: Which is better: The power of flight or the power of invisibility? He finds that how you answer tells a lot about what kind of person you are. And also, no matter which power people choose, they never use it to fight crime. (14 minutes)" This segment appears on a TAL greatest hits CD: Crimebusters & Crossed Wires: Stories from This American Life
- This American Life Episode 190: Living the Dream
Act 2: Agent To The Stars.
"Writer John Hodgman in New York tells the story of how he dreamt of getting to know the B-movie star Bruce Campbell, and how his unlikely dream accidentally came true, partly to his delight, partly to his horror. (16 minutes)"
- This American Life Episode 205: Plan B [February 2002]
Hodgman is in Act 1 (It's Another Tequila Sunrise).
"Writer and contributor John Hodgman first encountered Cuervo Man on a press junket to Cuervo Nation, a small island owned by Jose Cuervo Tequila. Cuervo Man was wearing nothing but a Speedo, wraparound shades, and a red cape. Occasionally he'd stick a toilet plunger on his bald head. John was fascinated and eventually got to know Cuervo Man, whose real name was Ryan. Though the Cuervo act was Ryan's Plan B, it had a special power that John couldn't help but envy." (19 minutes)
- This American Life Episode 226: Reruns [November 2002]
Hodgman appears in part of Act 2 (Marriage as Rerun), starting at around 35:20. He tells a story about breaking into a zoo. And Ira Glass interviews him!
- This American Life Episode 232: The Real Story
Act 3: Jar Jar Head.
"John Hodgman tries to tell the real version of a war movie that's already been written, filmed and released on DVD—Star Wars." (10 minutes) You can buy this and all other TAL episodes through the Amazon mp3 store.
- This American Life Episode 243: Later That Same Day
Act 3: Slingshot.
This is a 9-minute story in a very different style for John. Much more somber.
- This American Life Episode 298: Getting and Spending
Act 3: Mall Rat.
"John Hodgman provides an occasionally true account of seven days spent at the Mall of America. After crossing mall officials, he goes rogue, drinking from the flume ride and exploring what he describes as a secret tunnel lined with human skulls." This hilarious piece appears in the book and audio versions of The Areas of My Expertise. (10 minutes)
- This American Life Episode 305: The This American Life Holiday Spectacular [December 2005]
Hodgman is in Act 2: No Tenenbaum, No Tenenbaum.
"This American Life receives an emergency transmission from a rooftop somewhere in New York City, where John Hodgman reports on the true-life origins of Christmas traditions." (7 minutes long)
- This American Life Episode 329: Nice Work If You Can Get It.
Act 1: I'm Not A TV Star, But I Play One On TV.
Hodgman on becoming famous. This was recorded in front of an audience as part of the 2007 This American Life live tour. A lot of this piece is also in More Information Than You Require and its audio adaptation
Friday, November 12, 2010
This is not an exhaustive listing of recordings of Hodgman in motion, but it's a pretty damned good list:
- John Hodgman's talk at Google - as part of the Authors@Google series, Hodgman and Coulton appear [November 2008]
- Hodgman's TED Talk: "Aliens, love -- where are they?" - a more serious performance by Hodgman, but still awesome. (There is also a version with Chinese subtitles. Hodgmaniac will also have a Chinese version, as soon as the TED translator comes by and converts the site for us.) [February 2008]
- All Hodgman Daily Show appearances (on the Comedy Central site) (plus some extraneous non-appearances in which he is just mentioned like the Drew Barrymore interview in which Jon Stewart discovers that Drew is not dating Hodgman after all)
- Just the "You're Welcome" segment videos
- Hodgman's first appearance on the Daily Show - promoting The Areas of My Expertise [November 2005]
- Hodgman on the Net Neutrality Act - John Hodgman explains the Internet, and how it is not a series of tubes [July 2006]
- Hodgman at Cody's - One of my favorites is this bookstore appearance with Jonathan Coulton, promoting the paperback version of The Areas of My Expertise
- Hodgman's 2009 appearance at the 2009 Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner where he roasted President Obama.
They Might Be Giants' Venue Songs DVD/CD set, Hodgman portrayed the Deranged Millionaire, the archnemesis of They Might Be Giants, who forced them to write a new song about each of the venues they visited on their Venue Song tour.
- Hodgman co-stars in Huge Pacino a short comedy video, satirizing cop films. [August 2010]
A really long interview with Hodgman - though it demonstrates Hodgman's uninterviewability. Skip to about the ten-minute mark to get to John's entrance. Around 1:42 (yes, one hour and 42 minutes in), he starts to introduce his reading from a David Foster Wallace essay, citing DFW as a massive influence, particularly on his use of footnotes.As noted in the comments, this interview has been pared down to a much shorter audio program. [June 2010]