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Droll Rapport

Carl Arnheiter's "Inside Joke" interview show turns out to be an ideal forum for the cerebral comedy of John Hodgman.

John Hodgman, the seemingly ubiquitous Apple Computer ad pitchman and Daily Show pundit -- also author of a comedic compilation of fake trivia, “The Areas of My Expertise” -- was perfectly paired with host Carl Arnheiter for the occasional interview show “Inside Joke” at the UCB Theatre recently.

Arnheiter’s droll Charlie Rose-like interview style made him a great foil for Hodgman’s similar tone and sense of humor. Inside Joke was the ideal forum to see John Hodgman discourse at length about all his current pursuits.

About his book, Hodgman says, “It’s someone who’s deranged yet clear-headed about his derangement at the same time,” referring to the unlikely pieces of trivia like “Nine Presidents Who Had Hooks For Hands,” and the now widely popular “700 Hobo Names.”

The rapport between Hodgman and Arnheiter crystallized as Arnheiter recalled his juvenile poetry, a book of which he titled, “Visions of a Morbid State.” Hodgman said the subtitle must have been, “Isn’t My Poetry Great,” looking amused. Hodgman later referred to his first Daily Show appearance, as a guest promoting his book, as New Year’s Day; so Arnheiter said that made his first appearance as a pundit a few weeks later like “Martin Luther King Day.”

To give another idea of how Hodgman discourses, he recalls the idea for “700 Hobo Names” first came to him in early 2001, when he had “a pre-9/11 mentality.” Actually creating all the names required psychological isolation for entire days to churn them out, Hodgman remembered.

Perhaps it’s that isolation that fueled Hodgman’s appearance, in which just about every answer to one of Arnheiter’s questions led him to ramble at length with a few tangents. “It’s ironic how long I’m talking, because all the pieces in the book are so short,” he observes.

 

 
   

     

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