From ‘The Daily Show’ to Carolina Theatre

Aug. 28, 2014 @ 05:17 PM

John Hodgman became a household face, if not yet a name, when Apple commercials ran for years with him playing the nerdy PC. For the record, he’s actually a Mac man.

Hodgman’s work today continues on television, but on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” show as recurring characters “Resident Expert” and “Deranged Millionaire.” He’s also the man behind “Judge John Hodgman” podcasts and is the author of fake trivia book “The Areas of My Expertise.”
The Herald-Sun spoke with Hodgman earlier this month by phone from his summer vacation in Maine, where he was working on a writing project. His wife is a high school teacher. He’s from Massachusetts originally. Hodgman’s standup comedy tour comes to the Carolina Theatre on Sept. 5.
He said the writing project is not a book, poem or Yelp, though he would like to write a novel in the form of Yelp reviews. He’s joking there, obviously, but Hodgman keeps his humor at the surface when discussing his line of work. This is how he describes his upcoming performance:
“I stand up and I move around. I change costumes, I should really say I shed costumes,” Hodgman said. “Standup is more personal – the naked John Hodgman on stage, but don’t worry, I don’t actually become naked.” He said he dares all of Durham to come and be blinded by his fair skin.
Doing standup along with television, radio and writing isn’t a strategy, he said, but rather a form.
“It’s a side effect of my many interests and conviction if I really focus on one thing, I might become really successful at it,” he said. Hodgman enjoys writing until it becomes unbearable and television until it becomes unenjoyable, he said.
His career moved from literary agent to accidental minor television celebrity, Hodgman said. “I’m interested in stories of all kinds of forms.”
Hodgman used to be recognized in the street, in hallways and at airports primarily because of the Apple commercials, he said, and now as a regular on “The Daily Show” or from his voice on the “Judge John Hodgman” podcasts, where he solves caller quandaries with humor. The podcasts are one part of his career where “I could really be myself, and that’s gratifying,” he said.
As a contributor to “The Daily Show,” which he calls an “important comedic force,” Hodgman is a freelancer. He’s called in like a special mustachioed agent, he said, for the occasional segment. He’s been freelancing on the show for six years, but “every time I go in feels as exciting, bizarre, thrilling and terrifying as the first time.”
The show is like family to him, Hodgman said, and he hopes they don’t think of him as that uncle at Thanksgiving.
“[The show] is a machine, opposite of my career,” he said. “There’s incredible devotion to … calling out hypocrisy in the news and making jokes.”
If you go see Hodgman at the Carolina Theatre, you’ll have a chance to meet him in person after the performance. He’ll be in the lobby to hang out with fans.
By the way, Apple, Hodgman still has his old “I’m a PC” glasses ready to go.


WHO: John Hodgman

WHEN: 8 p.m. Sept. 5
WHERE: The Carolina Theatre
309 W. Morgan St., Durham
TICKETS: $27 and up


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