Now back to the sixth day, when I caught up with John Hodgman at the Englert Theater in Iowa City, where he shared his crudite and bourbon, and we talked about many things. On the seventh day, one would hope, John Hodgman rested. And just, you know, ate sandwiches and watched Game of Thrones at home with his family. And so it is written. – Rachel Sauter
Rachel Sauter, Wag’s Revue: So there are a lot of incarnations of John Hodgman. Which version are we seeing tonight?
John Hodgman: Well the official title of this show, though most people don’t have room to put it on the marquee, is “John Hodgman Stars as Famous American Humorist John Hodgman in John Hodgman: Tonight!”, which is a joke based on Hal Holbrook. He used to — and may still — do a show where he imitates Mark Twain, and dresses up as Mark Twain and everything else. The thing is, I started off more or less as myself by just saying some deadpan fake facts from time to time.
RS: And that’s really snowballed.
JH: Yeah. My earliest performing experience was hosting a sort-of literary variety show at a former mayonnaise factory-turned-bar in Williamsburg. And that was undeniably me even though I would say occasional crazy things. I started working on the Daily Show and wrote that first book of fake facts, which has really put me into the mode of “fake expert” and “resident expert”.
RS: Enter Ragnarok?
JH: Yeah, then after I wrote two books I changed into the deranged millionaire, which was actually a role I played for a series of They Might Be Giants videos early in the decade, and I thought it would be fun to bring back the deranged millionaire character, especially since I had grown a ridiculous mustache that made me look like Uncle Pennybags on the Monopoly board.