John Hodgman

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John Hodgman
John Kellogg Hodgman

(1971-06-03) June 3, 1971 (age 47)
Alma materYale University
OccupationActor, author, humorist, television personality
Years active2005–present

John Kellogg Hodgman (born June 3, 1971) is an American author, actor, and humorist. In addition to his published written works, such as The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That Is All, he is known for his personification of a PC in contrast to Justin Long's personification of a Mac in Apple's "Get a Mac" advertising campaign, and for his work as a contributor on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

His writings have been published in One Story (to which he contributed the debut story "Villanova"), The Paris Review, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Wired and The New York Times Magazine, for which he is editor of the humor section. He contributes to This American Life, and CBC Radio One’s Wiretap. His first book and accompanying audio narration, The Areas of My Expertise, a satirical tongue-in-cheek almanac that contains almost no factual information, was published in 2005. His second book, More Information Than You Require, went on sale October 21, 2008. His third book, That Is All, went on sale November 1, 2011. Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches, a collection of "real life wanderings" about Hodgman's life experiences (especially in Western Massachusetts and coastal Maine) was published on October 24, 2017.[1] Vacationland was a finalist for the 2018 Thurber Prize for American Humor.[2]

Hodgman was the headline speaker at the 2009 Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, D.C.

Early life[edit]

Hodgman was born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of Eileen (Callahan), a nurse and educator, and John Francis Hodgman, the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation and a professor at Tufts University.[3][4][5] He attended the Heath School and Brookline High School, where he edited the underground magazine Samizdat, named for the grassroots dissident publishing movement produced under the Soviet Bloc.[6][7] During his last year of high school, he hosted the weekly Radio Consuelo show on freeform station WMFO in Medford.[8]

In 1994 Hodgman graduated from Yale University with a degree in literature.[9][10] Before gaining fame as a writer, Hodgman worked as a literary agent at Writers House in New York City, where he represented Darin Strauss, Deborah Digges, and actor Bruce Campbell, among others. Hodgman has used his experience as an agent in his column “Ask a Former Professional Literary Agent” at McSweeney's Internet Tendency.


Hodgman appeared on The Daily Show on November 16, 2005, to promote his book, The Areas of My Expertise. Host Jon Stewart described the book as “very funny” and said that the section on hobo names in particular was written with “a certain kind of genius.” Hodgman has returned to the Daily Show numerous times for "resident expert" interview segments,[11] and has been listed on the show's web site as a contributor.[12]

In 2005, Hodgman played a character named "The Deranged Millionaire" in They Might Be Giants's Venue Songs DVD/CD, narrating in between songs with dialog he co-wrote with the band. The Deranged Millionaire character also appeared on the Daily Show on April 2, 2014.[13] He also narrated a number of Venue Songs-themed setlists during the band's live shows in 2005, and has introduced the band while in the role of The Deranged Millionaire up to May 16, 2007. Hodgman appeared again with They Might Be Giants on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, on December 11, 2009. Hodgman performed the spoken-word portions of the song Why Does the Sun Shine?

Hodgman at a reading in 2006

In February 2006, Hodgman appeared on Attack of the Show, a show that aired daily on G4, to share some insight with the host and promote his book The Areas of My Expertise. In this appearance, Hodgman recounted the sad tale of the lobster (which he said were actually a small, furry, extinct species, killed and replaced by the creatures we think of as lobsters today) and brought along Jonathan Coulton, a frequent Hodgman collaborator and musical director of the Little Gray Book lectures. Coulton performed a song called "Furry Old Lobster."[14] Also, on October 18, 2008, Hodgman appeared again on Attack of the Show to talk about his newest book, More Information Than You Require.

Hodgman appeared in the North American Get a Mac advertising campaign for Apple Inc., which ran from May 2006 through 2010. In the ads he plays the personification of a PC alongside his Mac counterpart, played by actor Justin Long. In reality, however, Hodgman himself became a Mac user in 1984.[15]

In 2007, Hodgman appeared in the "Bowie" episode of the HBO television series Flight of the Conchords. He played the manager of a musical greeting card company who was considering using one of the band's songs for a greeting card.

On October 1, 2008, Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin announced the official debut of the web series SPAMasterpiece Theater. Hodgman himself described it as "true tale[s] of romance, adventure, infamy, and low-cost prescription drugs, all culled from the reams of actual, unsolicited emails, received here by us and people like you -- what we call SPAM."[16][17][18]

Hodgman appeared in the episode "No Exit" of Battlestar Galactica, appearing as the civilian neurosurgeon, Dr. Gerard. He had earlier visited the set in 2005 to write about the show for The New York Times Magazine.[19]

On June 19, 2009, Hodgman was the headline speaker at the 2009 Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, D.C. Hodgman referred to this event as a "Nerd Prom." Many of his jokes were on the topic of President Barack Obama as the first nerd president, and quizzed the president on his knowledge of Frank Herbert's novel Dune. [20]

Hodgman appeared in the last two episodes of the first season of Bored to Death, "The Case of the Stolen Sperm" and "Take a Dive," as a literary reviewer who wrote a bad review that offended the main character.[21] He returned in the second and third seasons.

Hodgman voice-acted on The Venture Bros. in the episode "Self-Medication" as Dale Hale, an ex-boy detective in therapy following the death of his father. He has since had multiple appearances in Season 5 as O.S.I. operative Snoopy, along with other roles.

Also, during the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2009, Hodgman provided color commentary with made up trivia about the winners.[22] He reprised this role for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards in August 2010.

Because of his continuing support for QI, the BBC's intellectual comedy quiz, to be shown on BBC America,[23] Hodgman was invited to appear on the show. He was the first “fifth panelist" on the program broadcast December 3, 2009 (the usual line-up being Stephen Fry as host, Alan Davies as regular panelist and three guests)—and won, continuing the tradition of a guest winning their "rookie" appearance on the show.[24]

In 2012, Hodgman guest-starred in an episode of Delocated called "Reunion Show," acting as the host of a fictional show-within-a-show. Also in 2012, he appeared as a psychiatrist in an episode of Community called "Curriculum Unavailable."

Hodgman made a guest appearance on the sitcom series Husbands in its second season.[25]

In 2013, Hodgman starred as "Special Agent Henry Topple" in Wired's first scripted web series Codefellas.[26][27][28]

Hodgman appeared as public radio personality "August Clementine" in the episode "Anniversaries" of Parks and Recreation, which aired in February 2014.

Hodgman has a supporting role in the FX comedy Married, which premiered in July 2014.

In December 2014, Hodgman appeared in three episodes of the Amazon Studios series Mozart in the Jungle.

In 2014–2015, Hodgman appeared for three episodes as a fictionalized version of psychiatrist and medical doctor Henry Cotton on the Cinemax series The Knick.[29]

In 2016, Hodgman played the role of Travis, a local television station manager, in four episodes of the second season of Amazon's Red Oaks series.[30]

Netflix special[edit]

Netflix, the American streaming media website, aired the comedy special John Hodgman: Ragnarok on June 20, 2013, as a "Netflix Original".[31][32][33] The special featured material from Hodgman's most recent book, That Is All, and his December 21, 2012 show at The Bell House in New York.[31][34]

In November 2017, Hodgman was named one of Portland Magazine's "10 Most Intriguing Mainers." [35]

Other media appearances[edit]

Hodgman during a live taping of Judge John Hodgman in 2013

TV appearances[edit]

Film appearances[edit]

Video game appearances[edit]

  • 2015: Minecraft: Story Mode as Soren the Architect
  • A character in the browser-based multiplayer role-playing game Kingdom of Loathing bears the name 'Hodgman, The Hoboverlord' in his honor[37].

Podcasts and radio appearances[edit]

Hodgman has been a guest on radio programs including WBEZ's This American Life,[38][39] and The Sound of Young America,[40] WFMU's The Best Show on WFMU,[41] NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, North Carolina Public Radio's The State of Things,[42] and BBC's Museum of Curiosity.

Hodgman has been featured on podcasts including occasional appearances as "Judge John Hodgman" on Jordan, Jesse, Go! which led to a stand-alone podcast[43] produced by Maximum Fun. Hodgman was a guest alongside Jonathan Coulton on episodes of You Look Nice Today. Hodgman was a guest on This Week In Tech with Leo Laporte,[44] Stuff You Should Know, and has been featured on the podcast Boing Boing TV.[45] Hodgman appeared in person and on the NPR radio broadcast of City Arts and Lectures, in a recorded interview by Dave Eggers, in front of a live studio audience on November 10, 2008, at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, California. He was a guest on Neil deGrasse Tyson's radio show StarTalk Radio on February 27, 2011.[46] He appeared again on City Arts and Lectures, in front of a live audience at the Nourse Theater, interviewing Adam Savage on May 29, 2013.

Hodgman appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor podcast on September 23, 2016.


  • Husbands Guest star, season two
  • Triangulation Episode 72 on October 3, 2012[47]
  • the show with zefrank
  • TED[48]
  • Diggnation Episode 231[49]
  • Today in the Past (podcast)[50]
  • Two articles on the website Open Letters in the year 2000.[51][52] In them, he details a family trip to Ocean City, New Jersey shortly after his mother's death, and uses his experiences there as metaphors for life and death.
  • Transcript of welcoming remarks at a literary reading shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11[53]
  • Guest player on Harmonquest season one as the sandwich sorcerer
  • Get a Mac web ads, as PC.
  • Judge John Hodgman (podcast)


In print[edit]

Hodgman at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival.

As contributor:

As author:

  • The Areas of My Expertise (ISBN 0-525-94908-9, 2005)
  • More Information Than You Require (ISBN 0-525-95034-6, October 2008)
  • That Is All (ISBN 978-0525952442, November 2011)
  • Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches (ISBN 978-0525497691, October 2017)


  1. ^ Vacationland by John Hodgman |
  2. ^ "CURRENT THURBER PRIZE FINALISTS". Thurber House. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  3. ^ "Genealogy Report: Descendants of Thomas Hodgman". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Eileen C. Hodgman, 58 Founder of Mentor Program". The Boston Globe. 14 June 2000. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  5. ^ "John Hodgman". Gordon School, Tufts University. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  6. ^ Chase, Katie Johnston (September 24, 2006). "True to his nerd: John Shackleford-Hodgman finds a niche as 'Daily Show' resident expert, mendacious author, and dorky PC". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 3, 2007. He was focused, and a touch eccentric, from the start. "He was a legend at his own elementary school," the Heath School... and in eighth grade he was voted most likely to become the editor of The New Yorker....
  7. ^ Schwartz, Jason. "The Schwartz Factor: John Hodgman". Boston Magazine. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  8. ^ "John Hodgman, Radio Consuelo". Archived from the original on January 14, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  9. ^ Dempsey, Rachel (5 February 2007). "Yale alumni move up in the world of comedy". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  10. ^ Rogers, Adam (22 September 2008). "Q&A: John Hodgman on Perfecting the Illusion of Expertise". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Daily Show videos tagged John Hodgman". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  12. ^ "Daily Show Bio of John Hodgman". Comedy Central. Archived from the original on 2015-04-25. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  13. ^ "April 2, 2014 - Samuel L. Jackson". The Daily Show with John Stewart. Comedy Central. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Furry Old Lobster". Jonathan Coulton. Archived from the original on January 13, 2006.
  15. ^ Running time: 1:45:29. "TWiT Podcast". Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  16. ^ Boing Boing tv (October 2, 2008). "John Hodgman in BBtv's SPAMasterpiece Theater (comedy)". YouTube. Google. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  17. ^ Jardin, Xeni (October 1, 2008). "John Hodgman in BBtv's SPAMasterpiece Theater". Boing Boing Video. Boing Boing. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  18. ^ Martellaro, John (October 9, 2010). "John Hodgman Hosts SPAMasterpiece Theater". The Mac Observer. The Mac Observer, Inc. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  19. ^ "Q&A: John Hodgman on Perfecting the Illusion of Expertise". Wired. September 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  20. ^ Blum, Matt (22 June 2009). "John Hodgman Brings the Geek to President Obama". Wired. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Bored to Death The Case of the Stolen Sperm". IMDb.
  22. ^ Graham, Mark (21 September 2009). "John Hodgman's Top Five Emmy-Winner Riffs". Vulture. New York Media LLC. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  23. ^ "Hodgman activates rage gland against BBC America for not picking up QI". AOL TV. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  24. ^ "The British Comedy Guide: John Hodgman and QI". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  25. ^ "WATCH: Episode 2 of 'Husbands'". Retrieved September 12, 2012
  26. ^ Wired (June 21, 2013). "Codefellas EP. 1: When Topple met Winters – WIRED – YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  27. ^ Todd Spangler (June 21, 2013). "Wired's 'Codefellas' Plays NSA Privacy Flap for Laughs – Variety". Variety. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  28. ^ Camilleri, Ricky (June 20, 2013). "John Hodgman LIVE – HuffPost Live". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  29. ^ Khazan, Olga (22 October 2014). "Pulling Teeth to Treat Mental Illness". The Atlantic. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  30. ^ Romano, Evan (November 18, 2016). "'He's Got The Chance': John Hodgman on President-elect Donald Trump". Brooklyn Magazine. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  31. ^ a b Terri Schwartz (June 11, 2013). "John Hodgman on his Netflix comedy special 'Ragnarok' and what comes next". Zap2it. Archived from the original on June 18, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  32. ^ John Hodgman (June 10, 2013). "JOHN HODGMAN: RAGNAROK ON NETFLIX". Tumblr. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  33. ^ John Hodgman (June 14, 2013). "John Hodgman Picks His 5 Favorite TV Thingies of the Year … From the Future". Vulture. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  34. ^ Samantha Abernethy (June 12, 2013). "Interview: John Hodgman Talks About John Hodgman: Chicagoist". Chicagoist. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  35. ^ "John Hodgman "10 Most Intriguing Mainers"". Portland Magazine.
  36. ^ "DuckTales Renewed for Season 3 Ahead of Season 2 Premiere". September 21, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  37. ^ "Hodgman, The Hoboverlord - TheKolWiki". Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  38. ^ "226: Reruns". This American Life. 6 December 2002. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  39. ^ "243: Later That Same Day". This American Life. 25 July 2003. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  40. ^ "The Sound of Young America: Podcast: Best Friends with John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  41. ^ "The Best Show on WFMU Archives". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  42. ^ Resident Expert John Hodgman talks with The State of Things on North Carolina Public Radio
  43. ^ "Judge John Hodgman: The Podcast". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  44. ^ Running time: 1:45:29. "More TWiT Than You Require". Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  45. ^ Jardin, Xeni (2008-09-08). "BoingBoing TV with John Hodgman". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  46. ^ "A Conversation with John Hodgman". StarTalk Radio Show. Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  47. ^ Laporte, Leo (3 October 2012). "Triangulation 72". TWiT. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  48. ^ Hodgman, Ted (2008). "Aliens, love — where are they?". TED. TED Conferences, LLC. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  49. ^ Episode 231: Hi, I'm John Hodgman and I'm a Mac Archived April 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., Revision 3
  50. ^ [1] Today in the Past
  51. ^ Hodgman, John (August 20, 2000). "On Memory and Chaos". Open Letters. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013.
  52. ^ Hodgman, John (October 16, 2000). "On the Sligshot". Open Letters. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012.
  53. ^ Hodgman, John (11 September 2016). "Welcoming Remarks Made at a Literary Reading, 9/25/01". McSweeney's Internet Tendency. McSweeney’s Publishing LLC. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  54. ^ Schiller, Mike (4 May 2010). "Zero Day". Pop Matters. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  55. ^ "Jean Grae / Quelle Chris: Everything's Fine Album Review | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  56. ^ "From the Editors". The New York Times Magazine. 18 September 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  57. ^ Hodgman, John (2008-09-28). "Massachusetts: Bulwark against the Kingdom of the Anti Christ". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  58. ^ "Little Gray Book Lectures, including archival material". Retrieved 2011-04-04.

External links[edit]