John Hodgman On Flying, Seattle Socialists And 'The Twitter'

Nov 22, 2013

John Hodgman, left, and John Roderick perform Friday night at the Neptune Theatre in the University District.
John Hodgman, left, and John Roderick perform Friday night at the Neptune Theatre in the University District.
Credit KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Comedian John Hodgman and songwriter John Roderick came by KUOW’s studios to promote their show at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Neptune Theatre in the University District. What followed, however, was a wonderfully meandering conversation that focused on ribbing our dear host Steve Scher.  

Highlights are below, but honestly, you should listen, because you will laugh out loud.  

John Hodgman raises an unsettled matter -- whether one is flying when wearing a wingsuit -- from his podcast, Judge John Hodgman:

Steve Scher: So John Roderick, when people launch themselves off mountains, do you believe that they’re flying?

Roderick: I do. I think the wingsuit is generating lift and therefore they are flying.

Hodgman: No, it is slowing descent. Is someone in a parachute flying?

On a dispute between a son and his father:

Hodgman: The father is addicted to watching “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” – for those of you who couldn’t quite hear Steve’s look of utter incomprehension – the father has the DVD set of the single extant season of this fascinatingly misguided non-comedy comedy show that he watches every time he goes to the country.

The son wants to buy him a new copy because it’s gotten beaten up and all scratched. But his father will not hear of it. He’ll walk out of the room if the son mentions it. …

I feel a similar sense of compulsion and shame that the father does in this situation. But his connection to this particular DVD set is unknown to me and mysterious. It’s either his fondness for the Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, the aura of the authentic – he has a connection to that actual thing  … or the DVDs in his “Studio 60 on Sunset Strip” set are for something else that he does not want to admit.

Roderick: Has the son actually ever seen “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” appear on the screen?

Hodgman: Yeah, I think he’s got something else in the “Studio 60” sleeve.

On podcastees and twitterers:

Scher: I have a question, if I may. The podcasting. How many podcasters do you have right now? How many podcastees do you have right now?

Roderick and Hodgman: I don’t understand what you --

Roderick: What part of speech are you using?

Hodgman: A podcast! How much do they go for, a dozen these days? Do you have to pack those in cotton padding?

Roderick: I have 40 podcastees.

Scher: That’s how many people are listening?

Hodgman: I don’t want to sit here and tell a terrestrial radio guy how many people listen to my fake Internet radio.

Roderick: Yeah, me either.

Hodgman: I mean, we’re not going to take it out and measure them on the table, you know what I mean? This is public radio.

Roderick: We have niche podcasts that are beloved.

Scher: So that’s about 40?

Hodgman: What’s going on Steve? Why are you so agro today?

Roderick: It’s the death of old media. They’re threatened by our podcasts. …

Scher: How about the tweets, the twitterers, how many followers do you have on the Twitter?

Hodgman: What is going on?

Scher, laughing: I’m like that old guy who comes across like, ‘What’s this newfangled thing?'

Hodgman: That’s one thing, but you’re openly trying to humiliate me.

Scher: You have almost a million!

Hodgman: Oh, you’re allowing me to humbly brag. I have about 930,000 followers.

On socialists:

Scher: You know, we elected a socialist here.

Hodgman: Is that so?

Scher: To the city council. And I know in your persona on The Daily Show, you sometimes wonder about the 99 percent.

Hodgman: Yeah, well, they smell bad.

Scher: Will you be doing something along those lines?

Hodgman: I don’t know. Would you write me bulletproof, three minutes of socialist city council material that I can drop in?

Roderick: John has generously offered if and when I run for mayor of Seattle – he has offered to move to Seattle for the duration of my campaign.

Scher: I will back him on that.

Hodgman: Will you back me?

Scher: Well, you know, I’m a journalist. I will have to grill you constantly about your beliefs. What’s your stance on bicycle lanes?

Produced for the Web by Isolde Raftery.