Wednesday, May 8, 2013

John Hodgman Loves My Mom

One day a few weeks ago, I was minding my own business, reading tweets and clicking on important BuzzFeed lists like "38 Dogs Who Suck At Hide-and-Seek" when I saw a tweet from comedian John Hodgman about an upcoming show in Alexandria, VA.

I'd never seen John Hodgman perform but I loved him on The Daily Show, as the poor PC guy in the Mac commercials and those times he did voice-over for the Emmy Awards and shared fake background factoids about celebrities as they walked to the stage.
I'm a Mac. I'm a PC. 

"Eric Stonestreet hails from Kansas, and reports that while growing up, he wanted to be a disc jockey, a Marine, a prison administrator and a clown. Apparently that is all one job in Kansas."

And, there was a time when he roasted President Obama for being a nerd.

Turned out Hodgman's show was the same night my mom was in town. While my mom is a loyal watcher of The Daily Show, I wasn't sure if the stand up routine was something she'd be into. I decided to go straight to the source. No, not my mom. John Hodgman. 

Yes, I was the only one who "favorited" this. 
Well, that settled it. Plus, now he was expecting us to be there. After some quick email correspondence with my mom and sister, we impulse-bought tickets.

The show was at the Birchmere Music Hall which none of us had been to before but we'd all heard good things.

Mom and I went early to get seats and order dinner while Melissa waited for Pete to get home to stay with Baby Charlie. I'm not a parent myself but it seems you can't leave an eight-month-old by himself, no matter how much of a genius he is. (Seriously guys, he knows how to pick up Cheerios now. It's amazing stuff.)

Right before we left, my mom, Melissa and I were all talking about the superiority of North Carolina barbecue so, of course when I saw barbecue on the menu, I had to get it. Barbecue, this what heaven is like?

Hopefully not, because, as much as I enjoy the Birchmere, that barbecue was not up to my ridiculously high pulled pork standards. Too smokey, too fatty but also a bit dry...I give it 2 out of 4 stars. In heaven, I think pulled pork will have more of a vinegar base. The Birchmere also makes you pay for water which, I mean, c'mon. I will say that the service was great and the salads our tablemates (you share tables) ordered looked delicious. So, Birchmere, I won't pass judgment on your entire menu yet, just your barbecue. 
I took a picture of my meal with my phone. I'm such a cliche.
Unfortunately, Pete was running late so Melissa had to bring Charlie and wait in the parking lot to make the "baby hand-off." I say "unfortunately" because it was unfortunate that I couldn't be outside in the parking too - that's how much I was not entertained by the opening act, Paul & Storm. 

If you're a big Paul & Storm fan, then I'm sorry. But, just as I have strong opinions about my barbecue, I know what I like in my comedic acts. As my usual disclaimer, I'll say that I do appreciate that they seem to have plenty of fans and that its not easy to get on stage night after night. I certainly couldn't do it. However, I found them seriously not funny. 

They are comedic musicians and the songs were "eh" but the banter was irritating as it was clear that they thought they were hilarious as did the table of family and friends in the front. Our tablemates (with the awesome salads) agreed and we all exchanged grimaces and rolled eyes with each song sung and joke told. It was just different comedy than I enjoy.  As my sister put it, it's annoying when you pay money to come see a show and the comedians main joke is about how unprepared they are and how they don't remember the words to their own songs. I could stay home and tell myself jokes like that. I'm looking for wit and intelligent banter...I'm looking for Hodgman. 

At this point, I was nervous. What if John Hodgman wasn't funny? What if I made us all come here for this show just because he said "LOVE MOMS" and then it's a total bust? Who doesn't love moms? I'm sure my neighbor who mumbles in the elevator loves moms but that doesn't mean I need to buy a ticket and go see him on stage. 

As I was pondering this thought and drinking my not-free water, John Hodgman walked out wearing sweatpants, two shirts, a fleece and a parka with the hood zipped up around his head. Hmm..ok, I was intrigued.

He proceeded to disrobe (in a totally PG kind-of-way) and tell us about each article of clothing, whiched he'd received for free - like The Daily Show fleece and the jeans from the weird swag room at an awards show. (He called it weird, not me. I want to be all up in that swag room.)

Next, he launched into a story about the Carnival "Poop Cruise." No matter how sophisticated you think your comedic palate is, if you hear the phrase "poop cruise" said like it's a totally normal saying, you laugh. 
In keeping with my theme of taking totally worthless,
 indecipherable photos of comedians, here's John Hodgman. 

From the poop cruise we moved on to stories about his kids watching Downton Abbey and then to his impersonation of Ayn Rand writing a column for Parade Magazine. 

A poop cruise to Ayn Rand - now that's some risky comedy. Yet, John Hodgman managed to pull it off. He received rave reviews from our entire table - the judgiest table in the room. 

My mom, sister and I even debated sticking around to have him sign something. Me toying with the idea of waiting in a line when I could be on my way home to go to bed, well that, my friends, is high praise in and of itself. 

In the end, we opted not to stay. We sat in the line of cars in the parking lot, retelling our favorite jokes, reading vanity license plates aloud and trying to convince my mom to play the "Garth & Kat" game with us. She wouldn't. Probably just as well, it's more of a two-person game anyways. 

Thanks John Hodgman, for a wonderful evening.  Moms love you too. 

P.S. Garth & Kat Game: Basically, you just do what Garth & Kat do below, minus the festive vests. Unless you own festive vests, in which case, you should wear them. Always.

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