Psychology Today interviews John Hodgman

Matthew Hutson interviewed John Hodgman about humor for Psychology Today.
200906221013 Your delivery is famously dry. Do you ever crack yourself up?

I find it to be comedically unethical to laugh at your own jokes on stage. But I probably feel so strongly because it happens pretty frequently lately, and I am ashamed. My deadpan needs re-deadening (see my new book, on the various historical styles of deadpan).

But the reverse is true when writing. I generally only like a joke of my own if I make myself laugh when I write it. If my brain can fool myself into a surprised chuckle, even when I am the one who wrote the joke, my guess is that it can also fool you.

That said, it may be that those are just the weird, unconscious, half-literal "inside jokes" that only my brain and I get. For example: "Stun Gravy" gets me every time. But do you know what it means? NO ONE DOES.

Psychology Today interviews John Hodgman


  1. Is John Hodgman associated with BoingBoing, or do they just have some sort of man-crush on him?

  2. david85282, I didn’t realize there was some sort of limit on the number of posts BoingBoing is authorized to make on a single individual. Do you have those standards published, or are they supposed to submit each post to you for review before publishing them? Thanks.

  3. I’m very annoyed now. “Stun gravy” seems familiar and now I’ll waste a ridiculous amount of time trying to remember where I heard it before.

  4. There was a stand-up comedienne named Margret Smith in the 1990s whose style was 100% deadpan–loved her stuff. Sarah Vowell does a pretty good deadpan delivery, and David Sedaris.

    If you can keep a perfectly straight face while all about you are cracking up, you’ve done it right (keep your satisfied smile on the inside and press on).

  5. Can a group of people, of mixed sex, have a man-crush as such? Are websites specifically male, in the way ships are always ‘She’?*

    Anyway, Hodgman can come back anytime. Dude’s ok.

    *Probably, on the matter of discerning the sex of inanimate objects/concepts, it’s best to consult the French. They have departments for that kind of thing

  6. yin/yang

    …i’ve been scrolling past hodgman ever since he invaded boingboing; mostly, his humor, book pitch and writing style are TIRING.

    …but, he’s great on the dailyshow; and he is a talented musician -you got to give him that; not to mention, his publicist/agent is brilliant -hodgman’s friggin’ everywhere these days!

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