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John Hodgman brings 'That Is All' to Largo — no lie

The comic author will throw a book release party with Paul F. Tompkins, Aimee Mann, John Roderick and Rich Sommer.

November 04, 2011|By Deborah Vankin, Los Angeles Times
  • Humorist John Hodgman is promoting his book "That Is All."
Humorist John Hodgman is promoting his book "That Is All." (Brantley Gutierrez, Brantley…)

Interviewing someone who falsifies facts for a living could be tricky. Deception skirts every answer. But we know this to be true about author-satirist John Hodgman: He is very, very funny. Both in writing and on stage.

The "Daily Show" commentator has just completed his trilogy of biting, observant and hilariously fabricated "trivia" books, collectively known as "Complete World Knowledge." To promote the aptly titled third and final book, "That Is All," he'll appear at Largo on Friday — likely barefoot — along with Paul F. Tompkins, Aimee Mann, Seattle musician John Roderick and Rich Sommer ("Mad Men") for what promises to be an indie-music and fake-trivia bonanza.

The literary-agent-turned-writer-editor (he used to edit the humor section of the New York Times Magazine) catapulted out of relative obscurity after a single appearance on "The Daily Show" in 2005 to promote his first book, "The Areas of My Expertise." That quickly led to his portraying the lifeless PC computer in the Apple vs. PC TV ads and a gadfly career dispensing made-up trivia that, sensibility-wise, could be the love child of (his friends) Dave Eggers and Amy Sedaris. He calls it "the voice of deranged authority."

"As a freelance writer, I'd be asked to become an expert for various magazines on any subject, whether food or wine or history or the life span of veterinarians," he says. "I was completely unschooled in any of these things. It was a morally troubling position to be in when you're doing it for real. But when you're doing it for fake, it's hilarious."

Now the author and self-described "very famous minor television personality" might not be so small-time anymore. His promo video for the new book on Funny Or Die features background music by They Might Be Giants as well as cameos from a disparate mix of celebrities including Jon Hamm, Brooke Shields, Justin Long, Dick Cavett, rapper Nas and Paul Rudd.

The Largo show will be just as eclectic — and in a space he chose specifically for a variety-type show.

"It's such an amazing and historic venue for the kinds of comedy I like. Paul does his regular show at Largo … so it's really fun but very intimidating; it's almost a home invasion to play on that stage with Paul — I'm just breaking in for my own nefarious purposes."

John Hodgman "That Is All" book release with special guests

Where: Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd.

When: 8:30 p.m. Friday

Price: $35, includes copy of book


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