John Hodgman on mustaches, Macs, and the pending apocalypse
John Hodgman is not a PC, but he played one on television for many years. He's also been a resident expert on The Daily Show for quite a while and is a frequent contributor to This American Life. In anticipation of the end of the world, he recently completed That Is All, a book that is part of a 964-page trilogy of complete world knowledge. He'll be in town at the Varsity Theater this Thursday to talk about it, along with Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax fame (where they invented "team mustache dad"). They'll be touring together through the Midwest over the next few weeks.
Before coming to town, John Hodgman took the time to chat with us about mustaches, PC versus Mac, and the pending apocalypse.
So, are you still a PC? Or are you a former PC?
I only ever played a personal computer on television. The truth is that I've been a Mac user since 1984, despite a brief period in the wilderness when I worked at a literary agency in the '90s. It was publishing, so I suppose we were lucky to have computers at all. But at that time we didn't even have windows. It was DOS on an amber screen. And I believed they were powered by coal.
How did you come to meet Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, and what will they be doing on this mini-tour?
I first befriended them through television, of course, while watching Mystery Science Theater 3000. Kevin was the second and longest-running Tom Servo and Corbett the second Crow. Later, I met them in person in the mountains of Lake Arrowhead, California, when we were all attending MaxFunCon (an annual gathering organized by Jesse Thorn, host of PRI's Bullseye and my producer on Judge John Hodgman). We met again on Jonathan Coulton's first annual JoCoCruise. Look, I am not powerful enough to have my own Con or Cruise. All I can do is force these poor men to drive through the Midwest with me, and carry me through the streets of Minneapolis in a Sedan chair.
Are you Team Mustache Dad?
I began growing a mustache just about a year ago in anticipation of turning 40. It was a final repudiation of youth, and an attempt to proactively seize my new and inevitable fate as a sexless, weird, eccentric dad who is an embarrassment to all around him. In that regard, I will always be Team Mustache Dad.
The day that you appear at the Varsity will be the day that The Situation reveals that his favorite film is The Third Man and turns out to be not so bad. How is the rest of Jersey Shore connected to the apocalypse?
I see that you have read my book That Is All, and in particular my day-by-day doomsday predictions for 2012. As you know, many on the internet postulate that, according to the Mayan long-count calendar, the world will end on December 21 of this year. I was recently told by another newspaper journalist that this was also the due date for Snooki's baby. I was very excited! But some simple math quickly proved that this was impossible -- at least by the laws of human gestation.
Your page-a-day calendar stops at December 21, 2012. However, some scholarly types have recently said that the date is wrong. What is your response?
I suppose it is possible that the world will not end on December 21, and that December 22 will dawn just another dumb, boring day. In that case, I can only presume that we have calculated the Mayan calendar incorrectly, and that we have not technically reached 2012 at all. When you look around, it does sort of look like 2009 still, doesn't it?
You offer advice on how to transform yourself from a millionaire into a deranged millionaire, but how does one go from a hundredaire to a deranged millionaire?
I would recommend becoming a famous minor television personality. It worked for me.
How are you planning on cheating death?
In many ways, That Is All was born of my desire to accept mortality as I embarked on what science tells me is the second and last half of my life. (If you think the end of the world is a metaphor for the small -- and no less heart-aching -- Ragnarok we all face at the end of our lives, you are thinking correctly. But it will not save you.)
And so while there are many options open to a person of my wealth to extend life -- surgery, cryogenics, brain-switching -- I'm really not doing much. Just downloading my brain to a thumb drive. But that's just reasonable.
What is the status on the war between jocks and nerds?
Strangely, unlike my prediction, the NY Jets did NOT win the Super Bowl after Nick Mangold redesigned their uniforms in a new, steampunk style. So, the geek-jock convergence has not happened the way I had hoped. I will consult my oracles (an array of goat entrails, nachos, and 12-sided dice), and get back to you.
If the apocalypse comes in the form of an elder god rising from the bottom of the sea, does humanity have enough firepower to destroy the thing a la Independence Day, or at the very least put on the greatest laser light show anyone has ever seen?
No. When the 700 Ancient and Unspeakable Gods return to retake this dimension, they will not fear us. They will not even notice us, and that is more terrifying than any tentacle. And they have A LOT of tentacles.
You predict that humanity will send a distress signal to the hobos to save them when the apocalypse comes and they will not respond. Where did they go?
The hobos left this planet in 1941 for the stars, as related on page 101 of my first book, The Areas of My Expertise. It pains me that after writing 964 pages of fake trivia, amazing true invented history, and complete world knowledge, that you still do not know even this.
Want to win tickets to the show? Check out our online contest here.
IF YOU GO:
The Varsity Theater
1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis
With Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett
$25/$28 at the door
7 p.m. Thursday, March 29
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