Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Deranged millionaire John Hodgman answers our 11 questions

Illustration for article titled Deranged millionaire John Hodgman answers our 11 questions

In 11 Questions, The A.V. Club asks interesting people 11 interesting questions—and then asks them to suggest one for our next interviewee.


John Hodgman has played many roles throughout his life—deranged millionaire, Daily Show correspondent, book agent, author, PC—but he’s always displayed a level of consistent intelligence and wit that have helped him succeed. He’s on tour now, talking to us peons about what to do now that the world hasn’t ended. He’ll be in Milwaukee at Turner Ballroom tonight, and in Chicago for two shows on Tuesday, October 21.

1. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

John Hodgman: I’m tempted to say traffic counter, which was somehow dug up out of my past by the researchers for the Conan O’Brien program a couple of weeks ago. I was forced to recall these weird mind games that were played on me as a college student in New Haven, Connecticut, when I was sent out to various intersections with four or five numerical clickers to count which cars went right, left, forward, and so on. And then, I’d write down my findings on a piece of paper that I would hand to a woman that I would meet at a different restaurant each week. It was like some kind of weird spy intelligence. As I recounted on Conan, I once asked her, “What are we doing this for?” And she said, “We’re doing it to computerize the traffic signals.” And there was a long pause and then she said, “I think.” She didn’t even know. I began to wonder if we were both part of the same psychological experiment to see how long a young person would be willing to go out and take down meaningless data on nearly abandoned street corners without any supervision. I mean, at no point was I ever assured that I was ever monitored or watched or that my data was going into anything but a trash can full of fire that they kept at some psychology graduate student’s office at Yale.

The A.V. Club: If it was real, they certainly trusted you.

JH: Well, I’m a very trustworthy person, they found out. I showed them.

I nearly froze to death as the semester went on. It was my freshman year of college. I needed a job because I liked to work. And I would put on five pairs—no, not five. That’s an exaggeration. But three pairs of pants is not an exaggeration. Late November at 7 o’clock in the morning in New Haven, Connecticut, it’s very cold. And I would just sit there, not moving around, and it becomes unbearable. I’d wear two pairs of socks on my hands. It was a miserable, miserable job, but I don’t even think that that was my worst job because, you know, in its sheer boringness it was interesting.

Now, I can only say that my worst job was being a professional literary agent in my 20s in the ’90s, which was obviously a much more pleasant job to have. I mean, I loved the people that I worked with and I loved my clients and I loved books and writing and publishing and I liked going to lunch for free with people that threatened to buy books from me. And I liked taking naps in the agency in the afternoon. Book publishing in the 1990s was still a very nap-tolerant industry.

So in all ways it was a wonderful job except for how I knew it wasn’t the job that I wanted in my life. What I wanted was to not represent the creative people I loved, but instead to be the creative person. So I spent seven years doing a job that I knew, and representing authors, but misrepresenting myself to them and to the world and to myself. Because I didn’t want to do it. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, and I was wasting time and I knew it, and I was scared to do anything about it until I finally did.


It’s always the worst job you have. Having a bad job for a summer or whatever, that’s a story that you get to tell. But being in the wrong career and knowing it? And having to muster up the courage as an adult to make that change? That’s the worst. And in fact—we’ll get to the other 35 questions in a moment—but it was so bad that it totally replaced the anxiety dreams that I would have up until that moment. You know the dream where you’re in the dream, and you’re like, “Oh, I’m back in high school. I guess I never finished high school. And now I’ve got to take a test in a course that I haven’t studied in five, 10, 15, or 20 years.” I don’t have those dreams anymore. I have dreams that it’s the year 2014 and it turns out that I’ve forgotten that I’m still working part time at the literary agency and I have to go and read submissions.

But the agency was wonderful and I just was there two days ago to see my old mentor at the agency, a woman that I love, named Susan Ginsburg. And I had the greatest time. It was like stepping into my dreams to walk back into that office. Or my nightmares.


AVC: At least you saw an out with the traffic counting.

JH: Yes. Exactly. The worst job is always the wrong job.

2. What did your parents want you to be? Did they ever express a choice?

JH: They didn’t, and I wonder now why they didn’t. I think because I was an only child, and like all only children I’m automatically a member of the super-smart-afraid-of-conflict narcissist’s club. I really wanted to leapfrog past the anxiety and sexual adolescence and just become the 35-year-old gentleman bachelor that I felt destined to become. And so I acted as though I was 35 starting around age 13. And this convinced a lot of people that I was totally on the ball. And I was a good student and well liked by all my peers and teachers, so I think my parents decided, “Oh, he knows what he’s doing.” Of course, I didn’t. I didn’t know at all.


AVC: Or you thought you knew.

JH: I felt it was really important to convey a sense of maturity and self-assurance, but I was terrified to admit anything, even to myself.


So, I knew that I wanted to do something creative. And I had weaseled my way in high school into doing a radio show at Tufts University’s radio station, WMFO, which had a very questionable policy of reserving 30 to maybe even 50 percent of its airtime to community members. That is to say, non-students. And I think their intention was to invite local left-wing activists from Somerville to come in and talk about El Salvador. But a rather sizable loophole also forced them to accept a precocious, weird 17-year-old from an upper-middle-class background in Brookline, Massachusetts, to come on and play all of his favorite Tom Waits and Billy Bragg songs over and over and over again. So I thought I would go into radio.

I didn’t know what I was going to do. In many ways I still don’t. I just like doing the things that I like doing with the people I like doing them with and occasionally making something. The only thing that was ever requested of me, I think, from any sort of vague professional idea—well, I went to Yale University, another outward indication that I knew what was going on in my life. I studied hard enough and got into it—and my dad said, “You can do whatever you want in college, but just do one thing: Take an accounting course.” And of course that was number one with a bullet of things that I would never do, because he said it. And consequently I don’t know how—I mean, I know how to do math, but my finances are in terrible shape. I wish I had listened to my dad and taken the course.


AVC: You could always take it now.

JH: I know. I could do it today. I could probably watch a video online. But it’s like that time that Jonathan Coulton, my best friend, said, “You should read the novels of Neal Stephenson. You would like them.” I’m like, “I bet you’re right, I would like them, but I will never read them now.” Sometimes, some recommendations engender resistances. I did finally read the novels of Neal Stephenson and Jonathan was absolutely right and I loved them. So maybe I’ll take an accounting course and better myself tomorrow. Tomorrow.


3. Who would be your pop culture best friend?

JH: A non-existing person?

AVC: Yes, a fictional person.

JH: A fictional person. Yeah, because the mystery of my life is that I’ve actually managed to sidle up to my non-fictional cultural heroes. You know, Jon Stewart, Don Rickles, George R.R. Martin. We’re all going on a fishing trip together next week. [Laughs.] If only it were true.


AVC: George R.R. Martin already has the hat.

JH: I remember one time when the Apple ads were just getting going and I saw Chuck D at the Apple store and I said, “I just wanted to let you know I saw you guys perform at Toad’s Place in New Haven in 1989 or ’90, and while I’m obviously not the target audience of Public Enemy, the music had a profound effect on me and made me look at the world differently.” And that is what I intended to say, what I wanted to say. But all I got to say was, “Uh, Mr. D?” And he said, “Hey! PC!” I thought, “The world is upside down.” And then he hugged me. I got hugged by Chuck D. I mean, it was one of the greatest days of my life.


I think that the fictional character that I would most like to be friends with—if you had asked me when I was 13 or 14, I would have told you Tintin or Captain Haddock because that was the life that I wanted. It was a completely neutered life without any sexual anxiety in a very tidy mansion. Where I would be free to pursue my research into destructive sound waves or whatever Professor Calculus was up to out in his shed. But look back at Tintin, boy reporter, living with a drunken sailor in a mansion in the countryside. That’s a weird life to have.

I guess I would like hang out with Tyrion Lannister?

AVC: That’s an excellent one.

JH: Yeah. Took me a long time to get there. The story of my life is taking a long time to get back around to my first impulse. This would be a lot shorter if I just trusted myself.


4. What game show would you be good at?

JH: Well, I would not want to go on Jeopardy! That would be an embarrassment. For a guy who has made a career of being a fake expert in largely invented facts, people seem to believe that I know a lot of actual facts about a lot of things. I really don’t. I watch Jeopardy! with my human children and think about the vast, vast columns of knowledge that are unknown to me.


You know, I would love to spin that Price Is Right wheel. I think I would do a good job at spinning the wheel.

In the weird psychedelic whirlwind that is my professional life, I had the pleasure of being the quote-unquote “United Statesian celebrity” of the Canadian version of Match Game, which has always been one of my favorite game shows from the ’70s that I enjoyed watching then and especially now, because everyone on it was drunk. It was an incredible moment of broadcast freedom in the afternoon.


Anyway, the comedy channel in Canada had rebooted Match Game and it may be going on still, though if it is, I wonder why I haven’t been asked back. In that case, I was a celebrity panelist, not a contestant. But I have to say, I was pretty good and I think I could do better—hanging around in Toronto with two real great comedic minds, Seán Cullen and Debra DiGiovanni. The host, Darrin Rose, is a very talented dude who looks unnervingly like Jason Sudeikis. We had a good time.

And guess what? We got drunk, too. That was the secret. We actually filmed six in a row. One practice game and then one for each day of the week. And I had to change clothes in between each day. After game four, they started passing up little paper cups full of booze. I would do that again in a second, and I would be really good at it. And the truth is, I’d be a much better game show panelist or host than a contestant.


AVC: That makes perfect sense.

JH: I was just watching Family Feud this morning at the gym. I go to the YMCA as part of my continued relevance and immortality project called The Isle Of Hodgman, and I saw—what’s his name, I think it’s Steve Harvey that hosts that show—and my goodness does that man make an art of sleepwalking through the same boring job everyday. I really say that in an admiring way. Like, how mind numbing must it be to do five episodes of Family Feud over and over again? But he’s almost Zen-like in his repetition and just makes it seem, not effortless, but just… it’s the art of exhaustion. His exhaustion with the format becomes hilarious.


Alex Trebek is talking about stepping down and in my mind, the only one who really deserves to take up the podium is Ken Jennings. Wonderfully smart guy. If he’s otherwise indisposed of knowing things, that would be a job I would love in a second. I’d do it good, too. I’d do it real good, Marah.

AVC: I have no doubt.

JH: I think if Ken doesn’t want to do it—whether or not if chooses to do it or step aside in my favor, which is what I hope he will do—he should be asked. But I think Alex Trebek is beyond a smart Canadian—he’s a smart human being.


And besides, maybe he’s just really good at pretending he knows the fact, but I’m really good at that. I could do it. Put me in, Coach.

I just want to clarify that that’s a sport metaphor I just used and I hope that I did correctly.


5. How would your enemies describe you?

JH: My enemies have not revealed themselves to me. Though I know that they are out there. I would imagine, of course, that this is a question that is really designed to reveal me, rather than the nature of my enemies.


AVC: Maybe.

JH: I would guess that they would say that I am very, very lucky. Which is true. I very inadvertently stumbled into a career that I didn’t imagine that I would ever have, performing and doing comedy in front of cameras and audiences and now on stage around the country. I like to think on some level the dues that I’ve paid were paid in full, though in a different format and through the years of ritual humiliation of book publishing and literary readings and stuff. I have something to say now that I have the attention that I’ve been lucky enough to have. But if I hated myself—and I don’t think that anyone hates me more than me—I would say, probably, “That’s a lucky guy. He lucked into something more than he deserved.”


There have been a couple of people—I can’t even remember who it was, but I was writing a column for The New York Times Book Review about comics every now and then. Some guy was so angry that I admitted in the column that I had not been a long-time reader of Hate comics by Peter Bagge. That somehow disqualified me. He’d say, “Fire Hodgman and get someone who knows what they’re talking about!” That really sticks in my craw. That was really one of the only times that my enemies—and I imagine they must be multiple, numerous enemies—have made themselves known in public or have declared themselves to me. I’m sure they’re out there.

AVC: You don’t get jerks calling you out on Twitter?

JH: No, not really. I’m very lucky. I think that the ones who express dislike of me tend to say that I look like a weird man-baby with a mustache or whatever. Usually that’s a compliment. That’s what they like about me. I imagine they’re out there and I can only imagine that they don’t speak out more often because they know I’m incredibly powerful and could destroy them!


The reality is that there is no greater enemy to me than me. I’m constantly sabotaging myself. I’m constantly trapping myself in pits. It’s really weird. I’m constantly lashing myself to band saws, then walking out of the room while the band saw slowly draws near me. Why don’t I just shoot myself in the head, if I hate myself so much? I guess on some level, myself and I, we’re not that very different and maybe I need myself more to live.

6. If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?

JH: Mayonnaise.

AVC: That’s what Jon Lovitz said.

JH: That’s what Jon Lovitz said? Well, I don’t know how he feels about me, but he’s got an enemy now. Just mayonnaise?


AVC: He didn’t really elaborate as to the whole sandwich.

JH: Does he have his own private label of mayonnaise like I do?

AVC: Do you really?

JH: Hodgman brand survival mayonnaise, available exclusively in my remaining stockpile of Ragnarok survival kits. Available via my website, johnhodgman.com. A completely non-joke kit of survival mayonnaise and John Hodgman signature cologne. This is a plug. I don’t know if people ever use these interviews to plug their projects, but I’m selling survival kits and I’m going to be in Chicago on October 21 for two nights. Two completely different shows at the Up Comedy Club.


As for your sandwich, if not mayonnaise, it would be a breakfast sandwich. And I wouldn’t put mayonnaise on it. It’s the one sandwich I don’t put mayonnaise on. I like a sausage, egg and cheese. Or something I’ve never done: a Taylor Ham roll, egg, and cheese. South Jersey, Philadelphia style. My mom’s people. It’s a breakfast sandwich.

7. What was your first big grown-up purchase?

AVC: A lot of people say cars for this, but since you’re in New York maybe yours is different.


JH: Yeah, that’s what it is.

AVC: Oh, really?

JH: Yeah, that’s right. Car. I mean, sorry to be boring. When I got the job as a contributor for The Daily Show I thought, “Oh, I might actually do something I never expected to do in my life”—which is make a reasonable salary. And my mom passed away in the year 2000 and left my wife and I a small home in rural Western Massachusetts, and we would go there and we’d have to rent cars. And now I thought, “Maybe I won’t rent a car, maybe I’ll lease a car.” And so we did. A Volkswagen, because my wife once had a Volkswagen Jetta that had no locks on it, and the battery was constantly being stolen, and people were having sex in there on the streets. It would shudder furiously every time I got above 50 miles per hour. It terrified me. And my trauma was so great I came to love my abuser and so I bought another one.


AVC: And you just left it in Massachusetts at the house?

JH: Yes, I’ve got so much money, Marah, that I bought a Volkswagen, drove it to Western Massachusetts, and then I left it there and hitchhiked home. And I’ve never seen the car or the house again.


No, we would drive it back and forth. And, truthfully, the real grown-up purchase—and neither of these are really purchases, because I leased the car—was renting a parking space in a garage in New York City. That parking space cost more than my rent on my studio apartment that I had once.

8. What’s your go-to karaoke song?

JH: The problem is that my song is not on any karaoke machines. It’s a real incredible oversight. The song that I would kill—and it has nothing to do with my skills as a singer, but because it is the perfect karaoke song—is “No Children” by The Mountain Goats. It’s like a sing-a-long. “I hope you die / I hope we both die.” But it doesn’t exist. I’ve gone out with David Rees many a time to many a karaoke night and it’s never in there. There are no Mountain Goat songs. They’re too short. Maybe because they’re not Neil Diamond.


My second go-to—and it’s equally as exciting and awesome a song—is “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger. It gets everyone very excited because they’re like, “Yeah, this was a good song. Why don’t we hear from this band all the time?” And I don’t have the answer for you other than that Sean Nelson is out there still making music and he’s a great dude. He also is not merely a great dude, but he has an incredible voice, and I am not capable of singing “Flagpole Sitta.”

I really wish some people would put “No Children” on karaoke machines all over the place.


AVC: You could be one of those weird people that brings their karaoke machines or hooks up their phone to the sound system.

JH: Well, let me ask you this question, Marah. You know those people. Do you like them?


AVC: No. Of course not.

JH: Right. I don’t want to be disliked. I want to be liked. I’m an only child. I require approval all the time. It’s my greatest weakness.


9. What’s the worst living situation you’ve ever had?

JH: Well, I could describe weird living situations. I lived in a basement in a house in New Haven on Midwood Ave. It was pretending to be a living space, but it was a basement. It smelled like basement; it was dark like a basement. When you turned off the light, you could hear things slither like a basement. That was during the time when Jonathan Coulton and I went to college and we would sit outside the house on an afternoon and watch prostitutes pick up dates. So, crummy neighborhood, basement room, but I still had the greatest time.


Every apartment until I accidentally found financially stability via the good graces of television and Apple computers was a horrendous compromise with humanity or with what a human living space should be. New York City is not designed architecturally or financially to provide young people without a lot of money comfort. It’s designed to keep them running and leaving. Get them out.

So I lived in some roommate situations until I found a studio apartment on 105th Street and Broadway during a time that rent had forgotten that particular area of Manhattan. It was very small, but it was mine. And the only time I really ever felt there was a problem was when I would fall asleep at night and listen to the refrigerator going on and off and on and off, and I realized no human should have to sleep in the same room as a refrigerator. That was my goal. My professional goal was to have a bedroom that does not have refrigerator in it.


One time I came back to the apartment and my cat, who I had rescued from the streets of New York, and recently passed away—he was 18 years old and by “passed away” I mean I brought him to a place where they killed him on purpose—but when he was still young and alert to the world, he was clearly freaked out and was standing outside of the bathroom door, which was the only door in the apartment, meowing like crazy. And I was like, “What has spooked you, creature that normally seems non-connected to the world in any way?” And I opened the door and it was as though it were a dream where the bathtub was filled with nine of the largest, fattest, blackest cockroaches I have ever seen. It was so unnerving. I’ve seen cockroaches before, but they were all just sitting in the basin of the tub. And they were glossy black beetles. As large as my fist. I might as well have opened the door and seen that the tub was full of luna moths. And what was especially weird about it was that the cat—Petey, eternity rest his soul—was freaking out. The door was closed. He didn’t even know what was over there. He just knew that something was profoundly wrong.

AVC: Those cockroaches were just waiting to be found.

JH: They were just sitting there, waiting for me. I had to smash them all and they were full of cockroach guts. And it was disgusting, horrible work. And they never came back.


10. Who could you take in a fight?

JH: Zero people.

AVC: There’s not a single person you think you could beat up?

JH: I almost as an experiment tried to get in a physical altercation when I was 20 years old in Northampton, Massachusetts. My friend Charles Diggs and I had wandered into a college party at a college that was not our own. And some dude was causing trouble, and I put my hand on his neck and pushed. That was my version of hitting. And everyone separated us immediately and all I felt was terror and hot shame and my body was totally terrified. As an only child, I haven’t even had ritual experimentation in conflict. No sports. No brothers or sisters to wrestle with. All confrontation, whether it was fighting or kissing, was terrifying to me. So I realize that fighting was probably not for me.


I settle my disputes the only child-gentlemanly way: Trial by Scrabble. And I let the god of Scrabble decide. His cause is more worthy.

11. Do you have anybody’s autograph?

JH: Sure. Of course I do. Name a person.

AVC: Thomas Jefferson.

JH: Don’t have it. But that might be the one. It’s interesting, I have books that have been signed by authors. That is meaningful to me. That is obviously a relic of the authentic hand. I have Bruce Campbell’s autograph, because I represented Bruce Campbell the actor when I was in my 20s because I loved him and love him still. And the fact that he let me do a book with him and then signed it to me is almost as charming and wonderful to me as the fact that in the acknowledgements he misspelled my name.


I have found since I have become the object of a certain amount of fascination for a small subset of weirdos, my own version of minor celebrity, that autographs are no longer asked for very much, but that rather the proof of authentic interaction with someone from television or books or whatever is proven now through photographs. And photographs are tedious and capture nothing except for how bad we all look. What I hope to offer the people who are nice enough to come to my show is just a moment of conversation. Actual contact with each other face-to-face. I say this often, but after my comedy shows I hang out, because I’d like to see the people who come. And I’m always happy to hang out, and I’m always happy to sign a thing or to take a picture. But I’ll also be equally frank and say I don’t like to take pictures. They take a lot of time and rob us of time we might be spending together. But if you must do it, you shall. And guess what? They all do it. It’s fine.

AVC: It’s especially weird when people snap pictures of you without asking. Does that happen to you? For example, Aziz Ansari was in Chicago, and we took him out to lunch, and you could just see people taking non-covert photos of him constantly, rather than just saying, “Hey, man. Nice to meet you.”


JH: Let me explain a real crucial difference here. Aziz Ansari is famous. He’s really famous. He’s a really famous dude. He sold out two shows at Madison Square Garden. He’s a super talented dude who connects with the young people. And he wears a suit nicely and doesn’t look like a weird man-baby with a mustache. Or not. Right now I don’t have one.

But Aziz is also just famous at a level where—I’ve only approached that level of fame in my career during the first year or two of the Apple ads where suddenly I had been seen. Just seen, by millions of people. Humans’ connection to me was as some piece of magic that should be in their living room or on their computer but is suddenly standing right in front of them. And I’m not saying this to denigrate their reaction, but it’s just like a weird optical illusion to see someone that you’ve seen and only know visually from television right in front of you. And I completely understand why it tends to erase people’s better instincts. Which would be to say, “I appreciate you as a human.”


I don’t think Aziz would say any different. We’re both incredibly lucky to be in fields where people are interested in us at all. And the attention is very much deserved. And neither one of us would be getting up on stage and talking into microphones unless we wanted people to be there and liking us. But, yeah, if you actually like the person, you should appreciate their feelings and deal with them as you would a human and either say hello or appreciate that that guy’s having a sandwich right now.

12. Bonus question from Nasim Pedrad: If you got stuck in an elevator with Mark-Paul Gosselaar for a few hours, do you think Saved By The Bell would come up?

JH: No, for a variety of reasons. One, even though I’m trapped in an elevator with Mark-Paul Gosselaar, I would like to respect his privacy. Two, I didn’t watch a lot of that show, so I would feel a bit of a phony bringing it up. It would feel artificial. If I had a genuine question about that show or that experience that I was truly curious about, then I would ask it, sure. But I don’t really have a burning question about Saved By The Bell that would come up. And three, I’m the kind of pretentious nitwit that, if I have to speak to a famous person, wants to show that I know their deep cuts. I’d probably say something like, “How’d it feel to be the fourth guy on NYPD Blue?” Not out of meanness. I kind of feel like that’s where I would want my career to go at some point. I’d like to usher out one of the longest running shows. Is there still a Law And Order CSI? Is CSI still on?


AVC: CSI is still on.

JH: Regular Law & Order retired. I’d love to usher out a long-time television franchise.


AVC: You could be the new SVU detective or something on Law & Order. Or CSI is still on as well.

JH: Excuse me, I was confusing Law & Order: SVU with CSI. Yeah, so like when Ted Danson—my friend from Bored To Death, sweetest guy in the world—when that guy gives up CSI—which, by the way, he’s never going to do. Ted Danson loves working—but if he were ever to give up CSI, they would never offer it to me. But if whoever is portraying the current techno-nerd on CSI were to leave, or the uptight lab technician—anything that involves glasses—when that person finally leaves? I’d like to come in for the last season of that. Just shut it down. Turn out the lights.


AVC: Now you get to ask the next person a question, but you don’t know who it is. What would you like to know?

JH: I will ask the question that was asked of me many years ago by one of my writing teachers, great short-story writer Lee K. Abbot, after we were no longer student and teacher, and we had become something close to friends, but I still considered him a mentor. He really taught me a lot about telling stories. I called him up and he would just say, “Hi” and, “What did you do today?” And I was like, “Oh. What a great conversational question, because now I can tell a story and I know the answer.” I know what I did today. And now here’s a chance to talk about it. And you learn a lot about people when you ask them what they did today. It’s sort of like, “What’d you have for breakfast today?” But people always get wrapped up in trying to prove that they eat the right things. So I like to leave it open and say, “What did you do today?”


Actually, let’s make it, “What have you done so far today?” I just punched up my mentor’s question. “What have you done so far today.” Now it sounds judgmental. Justify that.

AVC: Well, what have you done so far today?

JH: I went to the YMCA. That’s part of my immortality project. Noted that someone in the men’s locker room left a note offering a reward for the gold Masonic ring he had left behind in the locker room, which made me realize that not only have I probably encountered a Mason in my life, now that I’ve been down there, but then I realized I’ve probably seen a Mason in the nude in the locker room at one point or another. I went up and I ran on the treadmill like a rodent. I took my eyes off the tour of Auckland and Wellington that I like to run to, because it’s built into the program there on the nice machines at the YMCA in Park Slope. My eyes wandered over to another machine that was silently showing Family Feud, where I observed that Steve Harvey could literally be doing this in his sleep. It was one of the most amazing performances of silent comedy I’ve ever seen. Only silent because I didn’t have earbuds. Then I walked home, got two Dr Peppers and some vegan sushi from the place that I like to go to for my lunch and came back here to my office in Park Slope and started thinking about what I was going to say on the Judge John Hodgman podcast which I’m about to record after I talk to you. I decided that I’m going to commit to this weird idea that when I go do my two shows in Chicago, I’m going to do two different shows. One show I’ve performed a lot, one show I’ve only performed a couple times.