Over here at The Enthusiast we’re big fans of John Hodgman. Hodgman, of course, is the bespectacled former professional literary agent turned writer turned actor who found overnight fame as the irksome PC in those Apple ads and as the so-called “resident expert” on The Daily Show, not to mention as a stealer of scenes in Baby Mama and, one can only assume, the upcoming Ricky Gervais opus, The Invention of Lying.
He is also one of my personal friends, and has been for quite some time. This is not intended as a boast. It’s just a way of saying that he knew me back during that time when I wore wire-rimmed glasses and owned a pair of green-colored jeans.
So when he became a national sensation a few years back, it was only natural that I would spend many late nights at bars with some of his other old friends discussing the various ways that it’s bizarre to know someone who has suddenly become overwhelmingly famous.
And we’d sit around and play The Roles John Hodgman Would Have Dominated game.
The object of the game is to come up with the many parts that seem to have been written specifically with Hodgman in mind, even those that predate the onslaught of Hodgmania, as he himself refers to his dizzying rise to fame in his second book, More Information Than You Require. Also, it’s important to remember that this game isn’t about finding Hodgman look-alikes; it’s about finding Hodgman act-alikes. And so none of this Dr. Bunsen Honeydew nonsense.
Anyway, here are seven roles I’ve come up with so far.
7. The Professor from Gilligan’s Island
I’ve always said that when life hands Hodgman coconuts, he makes solid-state analog shortwave radios.
6. (Voice of) KITT from Knight Rider
And then the next thing you know, he’ll be starring as the stuffy principal in the reimagining of Boy Meets World.
5. Q from the 007 movies
It’s no secret that Hodgman, like James Bond’s go-to gadget guy, knows his decapitating tea trays. Be careful if he asks you over for Earl Grey is all I’m saying.
4. Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation
Q times two! Given who he knows and what he hears, Hodgman has become, like the puckish Q himself, omniscient. Plus, he looks good in tribunal garb. A no-brainer.
3. Dr. Theopolis from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Yes, a second voice-only role for Hodgman, but what a role. In the inevitable remake starring Will Ferrell, Hodgman’s comic interpretation of every kid’s least favorite computer know-it-all will look (and sound) mighty fine around Twiki’s neck.
2. George Plimpton in the Intellivision ads
Okay, so the Intellivision isn’t making a comeback. And Hodgman has already parodied the primitive video-game console’s seminal early-’80s ad campaign as a way to promote More Information Than You Require. But Microsoft would be wise to co-opt the TV commercials to sell the Xbox — and tap Hodgman to fill the literary lion’s shoes.
1. Higgins from Magnum P.I.
I defy you to watch this ridiculous clip of Magnum’s vexing little pal Jonathan Quayle Higgins III communicating with a parrot and not imagine Hodgman wearing that safari outfit.