He also created an online video "trailer," the perfect venue to exhibit his spirited, at times over-the-top personality. "Gary is quite the performer," according to Franco. "He has tons of energy, and his teaching style is animated."
In the video, which has been re-posted on a variety of websites, Shteyngart acts like a Russian peasant with a low-brow sense of humor. He affects an exaggerated accent, frolics with a dachshund and makes self-deprecating goofball comments like "I can't read!" while holding a book upside down. Authors Edmund White, Jeffrey Eugenides and others give lighthearted comments about the book. Franco appears too, pretending to teach Shteyngart how to read the cover of a Hemingway novel.