John Hodgman—the Daily Show personality, author of a three-part collection of complete world knowledge culminating in That Is All, and subject of the above photo—answered a few questions the other day over email about his appearance at Town Hall tonight. He will be appearing with the music-makers Jonathan Coulton, John Roderick, and Sean Nelson.
Why are you coming back to Seattle? Haven't you had enough? On my first book tour the media escort told me that the Pacific Northwest has the best and purest source of glacial water in the country, and that it would be a good place to live if society collapses. The way she said IF though clearly meant WHEN. And so she sent me into a panic that has lasted ever since, and finds its culmination in the That Is All, which as you know is all about the apocalypse, plus wine and sports. Of course she was talking specifically about Portland, but I don't know that I could build my bunker there. I have the stache for it, but not the youth. Or the tats. So I guess I return in order to pay homage (or as my autocorrect puts it "homepage") to that day, and also to get some of that sweet survival water to stockpile in my panic suite at the chateau Marmont.
Someone who just bought your book told me it's "the same thing" as your first two. Would you like to address this? Please provide me with a name.
His name is Paul. Then please tell Paul this: While it is true that That Is All contains many if not most of the same WORDS as appear in my previous works, I can guarantee that they are now arranged in a COMPLETELY NEW ORDER to convey new meaning, relatively new jokes, and a completely new air of apocalypse, plus sports. Whereas The Areas of My Expertise covered the obsessions of a professional writer and tweedy literary dilettante, and More Information than You Require expressed my unease as a new, famous, minor television personality, That Is All finds the fabricator in autumn, a deranged millionaire, eccentric recluse, and 40-year-old human. As such, I find myself contemplating what all mortal men contemplate when they reach my age: wine, football, and the end of the world. Some have said that it is my most complete book of complete world knowledge, less a grab bag and more a whole, satisfying read with a beginning middle and end. I don't know how they can say that, as the book begins on page 597. But I am glad they do. And look, these books are only my LIFE'S WORK. So please tell Paul to stop being such a jerk. I am tired of explaining myself to that guy.
What will happen tonight? I am thrilled to be reuniting with John, Jon, and Sean, not only because of our rhyming names, but because our last Town Hall together in 2008 was so memorable. We sang. I talked. I avoided hugging someone. More singing. More talking. Non-hugging all around. As before, there will be a ukulele, but appropriate to my status as a DERANGED MILLIONAIRE, this one will have six strings. UNFORTUNATELY HOWEVER, I have just been told that I am not allowed to throw mayonnaise packets into the crowd. What happened to ROCK AND ROLL I ask?